Foreword – Fall 2021


It has been my pleasure and great honor to tell the stories of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences for the past 14 years. As I write this, I approach the end of this chapter of my time in the college. As you read this, I will be a few months into my new role at the Iowa State University Alumni Association as a senior director of communications and magazine editor.

In closing this chapter, I’d like to share a few stories about STORIES magazine itself – stories that illustrate the power and impact of this special publication.

  • The feature on Craig Morris (’92 meat science) in 2012 helped reunite him with a favorite professor in time to share his appreciation before his treasured mentor F.C. Parrish passed away. Craig sent me a photo of him at F.C.’s bedside – both of them smiling. It’s a connection I’ll never forget.
  • Bob Walton (’61 PhD animal science) tore an article about then Dean (now President) Wendy Wintersteen from the Growing Leaders issue in 2016 and carried it in his pocket as he visited campus to receive the Henry A. Wallace award. During the awards dinner he pulled out the article to show how he was inspired by her leadership to increase his financial investment in the college.
  • Recent grad Rebecca (Lyons) Runyon (’18 agricultural studies, ’19 MS agricultural education) shared that an issue of STORIES given to her by her uncle inspired her to become an Iowa Stater. Her entrepreneurial and innovative spirit flourished here. She now shares STORIES with other prospective students – the ripple effect continues.

Thank you for allowing the STORIES team to help you connect, engage and share with the college in meaningful ways like these. A special thank you to those of you who reached out to me following an issue and those who trusted us to share your story within these pages. The relationship we have nurtured between alumni and the college is valued and strong.

Thank you to my colleagues in CALS for being outstanding collaborators, talented communicators and treasured friends. I’d like to offer special thanks to communications specialist Whitney Baxter for stewarding this issue through press; to Haley Cook, former assistant director of alumni relations, who recently began a new adventure of her own as strategic outreach coordinator for President Wendy Wintersteen; and to Brian Meyer, associate director of strategic relations and communications, who hired me to bring STORIES to life.

I’ll always be a #CALSproud alum. I look forward to continuing to tell the college’s stories and keeping connected with you through my work in the ISU Alumni Association. I hope to see you at future college events like the CALS BBQ and ISU Alumni Association events like Cyclone Central Tailgates and the Cardinal and Gold Gala.

Sending warm wishes from central campus,

Melea Reicks Licht