2021 Anniversary Hancher-Finkbine Dinner (Virtual) 

Tuesday, April 20 | 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm (CST)
Questions, please contact Bret Gothe at bret-gothe@uiowa.edu.

Since its beginning, the Hancher-Finkbine Dinner has recognized the importance and value of learning, leadership, and loyalty at The University of Iowa. With the introduction of the first Hancher-Finkbine medallion, awarded to Dennis L. Pauling in 1966, a new tradition was born in recognizing individuals that best exemplify those qualities. Over time, multiple awards have been added to best recognize the diverse community of students, staff, faculty and alums at the University of Iowa.

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2021 Recipients

Hancher-Finkbine medallion

Undergraduate Student Recipient: Jocelyn Roof

Jocelyn Roof is a fourth-year student from Waterloo, Iowa, majoring in Political Science and Sociology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. She is the recipient of the Helen Fairall Scholarship and Newman Civic Fellowship in the Department of Political Science. As a policy research fellow, Jocelyn’s work has focused on improving the lives of those locally and around the country. Through the State Civics Education Task Force, Jocelyn has made recommendations to the Iowa Department of Education for implementation in our state. In addition, she assisted the Iowa City Community School District in compiling a report on racial and socioeconomic disparities. Jocelyn has served as a first-year senator and Chair of the Governmental Relations Committee in the Undergraduate Student Government (USG). Under her leadership, they created a strategic plan that included a special emphasis on institutionalizing civic engagement efforts and opportunities at Iowa. Her efforts resulted in the Community Space—a long-desired campus space for service and civic engagement activities. Today the space acts as an organizing hub for popular student-centered programs such as the Food Pantry at Iowa and Hawk the Vote.

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Hancher-Finkbine medallion

Undergraduate Student Recipient: Noah Wick

Noah Wick is a fourth-year student from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, majoring in Public Health with a minor in Gender, Health, and Healthcare Equity in the College of Public Health. He is a University Honors student and is completing a research thesis under the mentorship of Dr. Rima Afifi on the topic of facilitators and barriers to pre-exposure prophylaxis use among college-aged men who have sex with men. In addition, Noah conducted a literature review related to health in Latino men and intimate partner violence in Latino populations through the College of Public Health Equity Advancement Laboratory. Noah served as Speaker Pro Tempore and as an At-Large Senator for the Undergraduate Student Government, where he worked with various student organizations and university/collegiate committees. He was co-author of the study “Taking up a new problem: A qualitative study of the context and determinants of pod-mod e-cigarette use among college students,” recently published in Qualitative Health Research. Noah is committed to promoting health equity and reducing health disparities, particularly within the LGBTQ+ and other marginalized populations, as he continues his academic career in medical school.

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Hancher-Finkbine medallion

Graduate or Professional Student Recipient: Pavane Gorrepati

Pavane Gorrepati, from Davenport, Iowa, is a third-year medical student in the Carver College of Medicine. She is the recipient of the University of Iowa Foundation Edward Heath Award for Outstanding Laboratory Research, the Iowa Medical Student Research Program Summer Research Fellowship, and the Hansjoerg E. Kolder Award for Excellence. She is the founder and creator of “The Doctor Is In,” a collaboration between The Daily Iowan and the Carver College of Medicine. Pavane has over 15 research publications and has presented at 20 international, national, and local conferences. She has been awarded more than $20,000 in research grants and awards since 2012. She is founder of The Unblemished Initiative, an organization that seeks to help reduce stigmatization about various dermatologic conditions through the education of school-age children. As part of the Foundation, and through a partnership with Dr. Ferguson in the Department of Dermatology at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Pavane has written a children’s book, I Am More than My Hair, which follows one girl’s journey of losing her hair due to alopecia.

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Hancher-Finkbine medallion

Graduate or Professional Student Recipient: Adam Lorenzana

Adam Lorenzana, from Glen Cove, New York, is a third-year law student at the University of Iowa College of Law. Adam is the first member of his family to graduate from high school, to attend college, to attend graduate school, and to attend law school. Adam was elected Iowa Student Bar Association President by Iowa Law peers in Spring 2019, serving from 2019 to 2020. As president, he was instrumental in fostering communication among students, and between students and the administration as the College responded to the pandemic. Adam was selected as the graduate/professional student recipient of the 2020 University of Iowa First-Gen Student Achievement Award.

Adam’s Student Note written for Iowa Law’s Journal of Gender, Race & Justice was one of four notes selected for the 2019–2020 publication cycle. It is titled “A Dormant Challenge to Excelsior: Why the Celebrated New York State Free College Program Is Likely Unconstitutional.” During the first summer of law school, Adam served in a competitive internship with the United States Department of Justice in Washington, DC, in the Civil Division, Commercial Litigation Branch's National Courts Section.

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Hancher-Finkbine medallion

Faculty Recipient: Dan Collins

Dan Collins is a professor of accounting in the Tippie College of Business. He has played a major role in building the Accounting department at Iowa, including serving as the Department Executive Officer for 13 years. Dan has a superb publication and citation record, with over 40 articles in refereed journals and more than 20,000 Google Scholar citations. His number of citations is by far the best of any faculty member in the history of the Accounting department at Iowa. He has received three major awards from the American Accounting Association as well as the Regents Award for Faculty Excellence and the Tippie College Mentoring Award. Perhaps his greatest achievement to date is the 41 doctoral students whose theses he supervised and who now hold academic positions all over the country. Dan has literally trained a generation of faculty in academic accounting. In addition, Dan has had great success as a fundraiser for the Accounting department, the Tippie College, and the University of Iowa. Private support raised through Dan’s efforts has benefited many units of the University.

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Hancher-Finkbine medallion

Staff Recipient: Valerie Garr

Valerie Garr has served the University of Iowa by promoting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for 32 years, the last 12 years as the diversity coordinator in the College of Nursing. Valerie was the first director of Diversity for the UI Undergraduate Admissions Office and created the diversity section of the UI Admissions website, including the Spanish section. She is a founding member of the UI Iowa Edge Program, a weeklong fall campus immersion program the week before classes start for newly enrolled underrepresented undergraduate students. She was appointed by the Provost as part of a three-member team to create and develop the UI Advantage Iowa Award, a combination merit- and need-based financial aid award for undergraduate underrepresented and first-generation students of all majors. Valerie was co-writer of the proposal to make the UI a campus charter member of the National Coalition Building Institute (NCBI), an international prejudice reduction training program. In addition, she was the co-creator, coordinator, and instructional team trainer and supervisor of the College of Nursing Supplemental Instruction and Nursing Educational Support Team (NEST) Tutoring Program.

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Hancher-Finkbine medallion

Alumni Recipient: Cynthia Nance

Cynthia Nance received a JD from the University of Iowa in 1989 and an MA in business administration in 1991. She is dean emeritus and the Nathan G. Gordon Professor of Law at the University of Arkansas School of Law. Her teaching and scholarship focus on labor and employment law, workplace legislation, and poverty law. She was the Arkansas law school’s first director of pro bono and community engagement.

Cynthia’s commitment to learning is not only admirable in her lifelong dedication to legal education in general, but she has also generously shared her knowledge and experience with Iowa students for many years. Throughout her career, students have lauded her inspiration and mentorship, especially in her support of women, and women of color in particular.

As well, Cynthia’s significant scholarship demonstrates her desire to share her knowledge widely. She has published in numerous law journals, been an invited speaker nationally and internationally, including as the keynote speaker for the inaugural MLK Jr. Day Celebration for the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands. Most recently, in September 2020, she was named chair-elect of the American Bar Foundation (ABF). She is the former Eighth Circuit Member of the American Bar Association (ABA) Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, and she represented the ABA Labor and Employment Law Section in the House of Delegates. She is a fellow or elected member of a number of other important groups and boards.

Cynthia’s leadership was clear early on in her selection as Iowa Law’s first faculty fellow. Her subsequent leadership is obvious from the many positions she has held in the legal profession. For that leadership, she has earned numerous national awards and accolades. She has been recognized by the American Association for Affirmative Action, the ABA, and the Arkansas Bar Association, among many others. In 2018, she earned the ABA’s Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award.

Through all of this and more, Cynthia’s loyalty to the University of Iowa has been exceptional. In addition to her continued teaching of Iowa students, she has never hesitated to teach in Iowa’s Hubbard Pre Law or Bridge program, to speak with an alumni group, or to connect Iowa students and alums with her professional network. The university is especially grateful for her establishment of a student scholarship, and not in her own name but in honor of Dennis Shields, the dean of admissions who recruited her to Iowa Law. Cynthia has connected with the recipients of that scholarship and made sure they know she supports them in their educational journey and in their careers, just as Shields did for her, reflects her generosity as a loyal teacher and leader.

As her nominator, Kevin Washburn, dean of the UI College of Law said, “Her scholarship and expertise . . . have made a real impact in the world. . . . Cynthia Nance answers calls to serve, and she is called often.” Introducing her as Iowa Law’s Service Award recipient, a classmate of hers noted that “one of the tenets of Cyndi’s life is to serve joyfully, and she has done so throughout her life. And in doing so, she has made this a better world.”

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Distinguished Student Leader Award

Undergraduate Student Recipient: Ruth Kahssai

Ruth Kahssai is a fourth-year undergraduate student from Carol Stream, Illinois, majoring in Social Work and Social Justice in the School of Social Work and Gender, Women's and Sexuality Studies, respectively, with a minor in Psychology. Ruth founded the Inclusion Task Force for the Campus Activities Board at the University of Iowa. The task force resulted in more inclusive and culturally significant events and programs, and improved the cultural competency within one of the largest student-run organizations on campus. Ruth initiated the Call to Action against policing on campus, receiving over 100 signatures from student organizations, students, and alumni. This, in turn, fostered a campus-wide conversation about reforming safety on campus. As Director of Justice & Equity for Undergraduate Student Government, Ruth established bi-weekly healing spaces for Black students, staff, and faculty amidst the national backdrop of racial tensions. She was a Resident Assistant for the Political Matters Living Learning Community, inspiring her residents to pursue civic engagement and leadership opportunities on campus and beyond in relation to social justice. In addition, Ruth served as the chair for the fall 2019 First-Generation Summit at the University of Iowa.

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Distinguished Student Leader Award

Graduate or Professional Student Recipient: Mackensie Graham

Mackensie Graham, from Coralville, Iowa, is a third-year law student at the University of Iowa College of Law. In her current role as president of the Graduate and Professional Student Government, Mackensie has used “inspiring judgment” to help steer the university through a series of crises, calls to action, a once-in-a-generation events. She has served as the note and comment editor for the Iowa Law Review, working with student writers as both a mentor and an editor. As a Certified Law Student Practitioner, Mackensie has designed strategic plans for the Community Empowerment Law Project to connect detained immigrants with legal screenings and representation. During her two years as an elected rep for the Iowa Law School Foundation, Mackensie has helped support “student financial aid, excellence in law teaching, cutting edge legal scholarship, and professional service to the Iowa bar and beyond.” In addition, Mackensie has volunteered her time and talents with institutional and community initiatives and organizations, including Iowa Legal Aid; the Voting Rights Restoration Clinic; the Equal Justice Foundation; CommUnity; and Girls on the Run.

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Distinguished Student Leader Award

Graduate or Professional Student Recipient: Sophia Williams-Perez

Sophia Williams-Perez is a fourth-year medical student at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine and an Ensign in the United States Navy. She is from Cedar Falls, Iowa. She holds a BA in Biochemistry and a Minor in Spanish from Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa. While at the Carver College of Medicine, she has served in multiple roles in Student Government including Student Body President, Governmental Relations Chairperson, Co-President of the Oncology Student Interest Group, and Co-President of the Flocks Learning Community. Sophia has been heavily involved in research throughout her medical school career and has presented this research at the international, national, and local levels in addition to authoring multiple publications. Sophia is a Carver Humanism Honor Society Inductee and the recipient of the William C. Weese, MD Award, both of which recognize her compassion, respectfulness, and meritorious contribution to the medical college and community. Sophia will graduate from the Carver College of Medicine in May of 2021 and will begin residency training in General Surgery this summer.

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Philip G. Hubbard Human Rights Award

Undergraduate Student Recipient: Anthony Alexander Haughton II

Anthony Alexander Haughton II, from North Liberty, Iowa, is a fourth-year student majoring in Ethics and Public Policy with a concentration in Sociology and a double minor in Economics and African American Studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Anthony is member of the Hubbard Scholars Executive Team and serves as the Director of Communications for the organization. Due to COVID-19, he made it a priority to schedule bi-weekly meetings via Zoom, lead critical discussion sessions, and provide virtual opportunities for Black men to take a break from the stresses of college life. Anthony is also a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. He is the Assistant Executive Director of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. for the Midwestern region, and he serves on campus as the current president of the Alpha Theta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha, Fraternity, Inc. Anthony is the recipient of the Order of Omega Emerging Leader Award and the Hancher-Finkbine Distinguished Student Leader Award. In this new and confusing time, Anthony has continued to step up and show leadership and a commitment to human rights as he fights to dismantle various systems of oppression and inequality.

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Philip G. Hubbard Human Rights Award

Graduate or Professional Student Recipient: Kimberly J. Cullen

Kimberly J. Cullen, from Ankeny, Iowa, is a third-year law student at the University of Iowa College of Law. Kimberly is the first Black female Senior Editor of the Iowa Law Review in 20 years. She uses that position to direct law student scholarship regarding social justice issues and to spearhead recruiting efforts for more diverse and nontraditional students to participate in the program. Kimberly worked with Associate Dean Emily Hughes to coordinate the Darrow-Baldus Capital Defense College, a capital-defender training program, and to provide research support to defenders nationwide on issues related to criminal legal reform and death-penalty practices and procedures. In her work with the Federal Criminal Defense Clinic, Kimberly represents clients serving life sentences in their attempts to seek compassionate release and clemency, along with advocating for criminal legal reform and an end to mass incarceration. She assists in civil rights litigation, including cases involving police brutality, and she works with Street Law Justice101 to educate students and communities of color about their constitutional rights. After graduating in May, Kimberly will be clerking for the Honorable Robert Pratt on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa.

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Robert F. Ray Faculty Representative Award

Recipient: Keith Duncan

Keith Duncan, a senior from Weddington, North Carolina, was a member of the University of Iowa football team. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in sport and recreation management, and a certificate in entrepreneurial management in the spring of 2020. After graduation, he continued his education at Iowa and will be graduating in the spring 2021 with a Master of Arts degree in sport and recreation management. He earned numerous academic and athletic accolades during his career, including consensus All-American in 2019. He is a three-time dean’s list honoree, academic All-Big Ten honoree, and Presidential Committee on Athletics award winner. He demonstrated consistent leadership, being named to the 2020 Iowa Football Leadership Group, and was one of 30 football players nationally named as a candidate for the 2020 Senior CLASS Award, which recognizes the attributes of NCAA Division I senior student-athletes in four areas: community, classroom, character, and competition. Keith leaves the University of Iowa having set the Iowa and Big Ten Conference single-season record with 29 field goals in 2019, which ranks sixth all-time in the NCAA.

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Robert F. Ray Faculty Representative Award

Recipient: Wren Renquist

Wren Renquist, from Okinawa City, Japan, is a senior on the Women’s Track and Field/Cross Country team. She is graduating this spring with a degree in Biology. Wren has been active on campus in three different research labs, where she has been an Undergraduate Assistant for the Biology Department. She has also been a Supplemental Instruction Facilitator and Peer Lead for Undergraduate Studies through the Academic Resource Center. Within the Athletics Department, she has served as a member of ISAAC, Fuel Up to Play 60, and Athletics Day of Caring. In addition, Wren is the Secretary of the Speak Your Truth, Track and Field Committee, which facilitates educational sessions for the team on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. During her four years at Iowa, Wren has earned spots on the Academic All-Big Ten team and Dean’s List, all while being an honors student. Following graduation this spring, Wren will be returning and competing in her final cross country season and pursuing continuing research and graduate school in biology.

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M.L. Huit Faculty Award

Recipient: Patrick J. Breheny

Patrick J. Breheny is an associate professor in the Department of Biostatistics in the College of Public Health. During this exceptional year, Patrick has served our UI community as a teacher in a capacity that can only be described as inspirational. He sets aside weekly time designated for office hours and makes himself readily available to students. For these reasons, he is a highly sought-after advisor for both master’s and PhD students. Patrick is also an integral member of the faculty committee charged with refining and directing the curriculum for the department’s PhD program. In the fall of 2020, he re-envisioned the course “Likelihood Theory and Extensions,” a core course in the biostatistics PhD program. Patrick prepared all of the lectures from scratch. He delivered the lectures in an online format while maintaining student engagement. He graded all of the papers—this is a course with weekly homework—leaving detailed feedback on each one. The quality and rigor of the content was not diminished in the least despite the challenges of the pandemic. For this and many other reasons, Patrick is an exemplar and inspiration for other teachers at UI.

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James N. Murray Faculty Award

Recipient: Lina-Maria Murillo

Lina-Maria Murillo is an assistant professor in the Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies Department and History Department in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. As one of the few Latina scholars in the college, Lina has become a mainstay for Latina/o/x students across the college. Lina centers a decolonial feminist standpoint while helping students of color navigate issues outside the classroom. She is a fierce advocate for students, including queer and trans students, who feel especially vulnerable. Her teaching and engagement serves as a model to create spaces that are affirmative and radical without reducing these terms to mere tokens. Perhaps no act demonstrates Professor Murillo’s rare gifts as a teacher as much as the way she taught her students—and her colleagues—to face
loss this past year. When a student in the department tragically passed away, Lina worked with students to help them process their grief, create a vigil, and help honor their colleague’s memory. Lina is also nearing the completion of the first draft of her book, which has been solicited by the editor of a leading academic press.

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View previous award recipients