Foreword – Spring 2014

We’re all Iowans.

Our time on campus unites us all as Iowans, if only for a few years.

When I interview alumni, especially those from out of state, I always ask them what drew them to Iowa State and what made their time in Ames special. Some mention the picturesque, quiet and safe campus or the legacy of agriculturalists like George Washington Carver. Overwhelmingly, they say it’s the people.

The professors and advisers on campus, but also the people in the community are what they say makes Iowa so “nice”—a word that has come to be known as the Midwest phenomenon “Iowa nice.” And for that, they can forgive our weather.

As a land grant university, serving our state is in our collective DNA. It’s what we were made to do. So, finding ways to improve the lives of Iowans is always at the forefront. In this issue you’ll read about partnerships working to ensure clean water for Iowans, how we’re battling pests that threaten our urban and rural landscapes and how extension and outreach programs are providing timely, relevant programming.

There are stories of native Iowans and Iowans by choice. Erich Hodges’ entire family decided to settle here after getting acquainted with “Iowa nice.” He joins approximately 70 percent of the college’s graduating class who start their careers and begin to build a life in Iowa. Building up our state allows us not only to serve Iowans, but also to lay a strong foundation that equips Iowans to serve the world.

It happened to me. It’s happened to many of you over the years. My major changed its name.

No longer will undergrads have to work to cram “public service and administration in agriculture” into tiny boxes on applications or spend half of their allotted introduction time explaining what PSA stands for.

I have to admit, I’m a bit nostalgic for PSA but the new name—agriculture and society— is a much better representation of the diverse degree that consists of cores in sociology, political science, economics and agriculture. It will be better for recruiting students and for catching the eye of potential employers. Plus, it just fits better in the little white boxes.

Kind regards,

Melea Reicks Licht