President Leath's annual address

Sept. 13, 2013
Great Union, Memorial Union

Thank you, Spencer. I've had the privilege to work with Dakota Hoben and Jared Knight, and now Spencer as leaders of the student body since I've been here, and they've all been wonderful. We're doubly blessed this year that Spencer is serving as the T.A. for Janet's and my leadership class. So I get a lot of chances to interact with Spencer and it's been great.

So, good morning. It's an exciting week, an exciting weekend. I'm very, very pleased to be up here in front of you. We're doing things a little differently this year, having this at our normal Friday meeting, but with an expanded audience and expanded remarks. But I won't go too expansive because you know I like to answer questions, and you folks have proven to me that you like to ask them. So, what we'll do is, I'll talk for a while and then give you a chance to ask me about, really anything you want, whether it's philosophical or specifics.

If I went into all the specifics in my speech of things we've done or are trying to do and want to do next year, this would be a very, very long speech, and we would be back to the old format of keeping you in here too long. So, what I'm going to do is give you an idea of some things I'm especially proud of that we've accomplished the last year, talk about some of the things we want to accomplish in the year going forward with a blend of broad initiatives and specifics, and then give you a chance to ask me questions.

So again I say welcome to everyone who's come today. Welcome to the 33,000-plus students who are on our campus now, and welcome to the start of a new academic year.

So, I'm trying to become an Iowan every day of my life and I feel like it's home now. I'm very familiar with that "Field of Dreams" movie. I think we need to change the line from, "Build it and they will come," to say "Build the best university in Iowa and the students will come," because that's exactly what has happened here.

Why students are coming: Faculty and staff

And I really think they're coming for one reason: It's our faculty and staff; they're great! They're coming for those chances to interact with our great faculty and staff, participate in our educational programs and our other facilities on campus. It's a beautiful campus -- there's no doubt about it, but it's the people here who make a difference and make people want to come here. And we should all take great pride in the faculty and staff who are on this campus. And I'm very proud of you, and I hope I'm thanking many of you every day. But here and now, I want to say thank you to the entire faculty and staff for what they do for this university and to make it a great university.

And I do want to single out some people and some special efforts that have been going on lately. With all of these new students, my hat has to go off to the student affairs division, specifically Darin Wohlgemuth, who I know is here. You can stand for a minute. Darin and his whole team in enrollment services/admissions have done a great job, as well as the new student orientation staff.

I also want to make the point that we have one of the best new student orientation programs in the country. It's the best I've ever seen, and that's Destination Iowa State. Those of you who were there with me and Janet saw over 5,100 new, eager freshmen show up at Hilton Coliseum. I'll tell you, it was a pretty exciting thing to watch them experience Hilton Magic for their first time at Destination Iowa State. It was equally exciting to see Jeff Johnson get them on their feet as he led them in his version of the fight song. It was a really, really fun event, and it shows the enthusiasm these students have to come here and the enthusiasm they have when they get here. It was great. Those of you who haven't been to Destination Iowa State, even if you've been here a long time, you ought to go to one because it's a really, really great event. I commend Tom and his entire team for making that happen.

Residence: Much more than a place to live

I also want to specifically thank Pete Englin and the department of residence, and Nancy Keller in university dining. They've done a great job to accommodate this many students. I don't think any of us really expected this many students to show up and need housing and food on our campus. I know it's been a challenge to them, from last spring when it became evident that we were going to have more students. But I think "more" to most of us meant "some more," not this many more.

The reason this is so important is that our residence programs are not only about a place to live for our students. They're really, really much more than that. They improve our GPAs, they improve our retention rates, they improve our graduation rates. This is a big part of what makes Iowa State what it is, and a big part of why students want to come here. Right now, I'm proud to say, we've got over 40 percent of our undergraduates in university housing – which is an amazing number when you consider how large we are.

We've got some creative partnerships we had to form over the summer with local businessmen and transfer some places into university housing. But it's worked very, very well and I'm very, very pleased. We now have over 11,000 students living in our housing. I did some comparisons for the regents this week, and I think they were surprised just how many students we have on campus and how large a town we had become, and how large a community Iowa State is. I think I figured out, if Iowa State was a city, we'd be the 15th largest city in Iowa, which is really quite an accomplishment.

It takes a lot of work, though, before and during move-in, to make this happen. The department of residence people made this very seamless. Janet and I were visiting a number of residence halls. We got a lot of compliments from students and probably more important to me is we got a lot of compliments from their parents about how smooth the process was, how welcoming we were, how easy it was for our students to get settled and feel comfortable here on campus, and remove all the distractions and nervousness about moving to the campus because it went so well. So, to everyone who was involved in this, I say thank you.

So, now we have to roll up our sleeves because this is when we have to deliver on the experience these students were promised and that they expect. From what I've seen over the last year and a half, I'm not really worried about that. I'm 100 percent confident that faculty and staff will deliver on this promise and give them the experience they all came here for.

I also want to mention a couple of other things. While some of you were away, the summer was going smoothly. I spent a lot of time on a lot of things. We'll touch on those later. Many of them were in town and gown activities.

Students excel over summer

But while I was doing that, many of our students were still working away and showing us why this is a great university. Team PrISUm, which is our solar race car team, finished third in the nation in the Solar Grand Prix in Texas, their highest finish ever. I was real proud of them. We got to look at their car during Destination Iowa State. At the same time, at the graduate level, six of our Iowa State doctoral students took first for U.S. teams and fifth in the world in the new International Data Mining competition – which just shows the dedication of our students. It's not only about their in-class experiences, it's about their total experiences here. These are just a couple of examples of our really talented, dedicated students. But this is going on all the time in over 800 clubs and organizations we have for students on campus. Tremendous ability to further their education and develop their leadership skills.

I also want to thank the new faculty and staff. Our ranks are growing, which is a change from what we've seen over a few years back, and I'm pleased to talk about that in a little bit.

New people

I also want to acknowledge some new people, people who are with us for the first time this fall. They are in key leadership positions here on campus. I'm going to ask them to stand; I'm going to ask you not to applaud until we're done.

First, David Spalding, right here in the front, the new Raisbeck Endowed Dean of the College of Business. David, I heard you're real popular with the students with the free donuts thing you started. See, I learned from you. Thank you.

Second, Sarah Rajala, who is our new, well relatively new, dean of Engineering. She isn't brand new, but this is her first fall start of the academic year. So, thank you, Sarah.

Michael Crum, who is definitely not new here. He has had a very distinguished career as a faculty member, an administrator, most recently interim dean of the College of Business. I'm thrilled to introduce him as my new senior policy adviser on economic development. We'll talk a little more about that in a few minutes.

I saw Roger Neuhaus come in. He actually came to us in January as president of the foundation. It's his first fall with us. And Roger really hit the ground running, building great relationships with many of our supporters, in Iowa and around the nation.

Tom Lograsso, I'm not sure Tom could be here today, but he's taken over as the interim director of the Ames Laboratory when Alex King, I must say proudly, moved into his new role as director of the Critical Materials Institute that he made happen.

And I believe Martino Harmon is here, yes, there's Martino. Martino is definitely the newest because he actually hasn't started yet. But on Oct. 1, Martino will become the new associate vice president for student affairs. So, welcome to all of these folks.

Now before I delve into some objectives for this year, I want to talk a little bit about some of the excellent accomplishments last year, partly because you need to hear about these and be proud of what we've done…but also because you can see a base and a track record and get an idea of where we want to go.

New facilities, strong support

As most of you, I’m sure, have witnessed, we continue to improve our campus infrastructure. Warren's team is doing a great job. We've remodeled Curtiss Hall, the new Harl Commons is beautiful, Troxel Hall is open and dedicated, and from what I can see getting great use. And if it rains this week, you'll see the results of many campus beautification efforts. The campus is looking really, really good despite the drought stress. We've got some beautiful fountains running that weren't running when I was here before, and you'll continue to see those improvements.

Another big accomplishment is the relationships we continue to foster with our alumni, our friends and our supporters. Last year alone, they provided $113 million in support to this university, the largest amount ever contributed in a non-campaign year, which is a tremendous testament to what you folks do. And over $50 million of that was contributed for the "Moving Students Forward" initiative. Spencer touched on this, on how important it is to him and me to reduce student debt. To raise over $50 million in the first year was tremendous. We promised the regents, the Legislature and the governor we'd try to raise $150 million in new student support in a five-year period, and so we're well, well on our way. It makes me feel much more comfortable in what we can do in terms of reducing student debt.

I just mentioned Alex King. Earlier this week, we opened our new Critical Materials Institute, which is a U.S. Department of Energy innovation hub that will hope to assure a stable and plentiful supply of rare earth materials to this nation. This is a huge economic development initiative from a national perspective. It's also a national security initiative, because we use these critical materials in a wide array of venues, including communications, manufacturing, energy and national defense technologies. Alex was critical in leading a team that got this $120 million dollar, extremely prestigious and important grant, and I’m sure glad we're able to keep Alex in a role as critical as that. So, Alex, again, thank you for what you've done.

And then, a big congratulations, really to everyone on this campus, for their efforts to deliver on the Iowa State promise of providing high-quality education, research and service to Iowa. It's being noticed. It's being noticed by the regents, it's being noticed by the governor, it's being noticed by the Legislature, and it's being noticed by students and their parents who are sending their kids here. The value you folks are delivering to our students, and in serving our stakeholders around the state, has been tremendous. It's making more of an impact than I think many of you know. I spend a lot of my time, as you might have read in The Des Moines Register, out and about and I’m hearing it.

So you're doing the right thing and it's paying good rewards. By what you're doing, it's enabled us to set up this partnership with the regents and the Legislature to freeze undergraduate resident tuition last year, and we've got a great plan in place to freeze it again this year. We're making new investments in biosciences research. We're building a whole new economic development core model and economic core facility at the research park. We've been able to make some modest pay adjustments the last couple years. And again, all this is due to the efforts of the folks on this campus. So, based on that, where do we want to go, and what are we going to try to do this year?

Well, this sets the stage for a great year coming forward. I’m optimistic about our funding situation. I'm optimistic about our support. We know the interest is there. We saw 33,000-and-some interested folks show up. But at my installation, I outlined a series of efforts designed to really strengthen our university and move it forward. We need to continue to make progress on those ideas and those initiatives to get to our goals and get where we want to be.

Faculty hires a priority

So first, I want to talk about academic excellence. We must continue to develop and deliver academic excellence to our students, and I mean that both inside and outside the classroom. So, teaching – or as I think of it more broadly, educating – is the most important thing we do at a university. And I know we're doing it very well. But I’m also aware over the last decade or two, the faculty have continually been asked to do more with less. That's really not the model we want. And while I greatly appreciate the hard work of the faculty – I appreciate them stepping up – last year I became convinced that our faculty were stretched too thin. It didn't take me long on campus to realize this.

I studied faculty workload data, but more importantly, I talked to faculty and I talked to deans and chairs and this became evident. As a result of this, at my installation, I announced that we were going to try to hire at least 200 high-quality faculty in a relatively short time. And I'm pleased to report that effort is working. We're working diligently toward the goal. I commend the provost and the deans for working hard on this. Jonathan tells me we added 80 new faculty members before this fall, and 60 more this fall -- 140 -- so we're well on our way to reaching this goal. I'm not sure this is a static goal; we may have to change this goal as we go forward. But I’m very, very pleased with what we've done so far. And this is going to enable us to continue to deliver the high-quality instruction we want to deliver, keep our student-faculty ratios right, and expand some of our research and economic development efforts in critical areas. So that effort will continue.

In order to attract and retain the best faculty, I recognize that we must build upon our status as a great research university. And that stature has to continue to move forward. There's no doubt we're a great land-grant university, but we can be greater. There's still tremendous potential here on this campus. And to do this, we're going to need to raise the profile of Iowa State, and that's one reason why I created and charged the President’s Committee on Enhancing Institutional Excellence last year. And, in fact, they've already provided me with a list of recommendations that will ensure that we maintain our presence as a national leader in higher education and grow that presence.

The committee developed a very thoughtful plan. I'm not going to go into all of the specifics because it will be available to you on the Web, on the president's page very soon -- probably as early as next week. But I do want to say something about that. The plan focuses on first, growing our research and development footprint; second, increasing national awareness and recognition of our great faculty here at Iowa State; growing our graduate programs and making very specific, targeted, but impressive investments in the humanities disciplines here at Iowa State.

So, based on the recommendations, we've constructed a plan. Those of you who know me very well -- especially my senior leadership team -- know I'm not really big on strategic plans that say things like, "hire more and better faculty." I want to roll back that page and see specifically what we're doing. That's why we have targeted numbers. That's why the provost recently issued a matching grant program to hire more faculty. We're trying to get into the specifics. So, we will work with faculty and staff throughout the colleges to see that the key elements, the specific details of these plans are implemented over the year.

Increasing the value of graduates' degrees

The execution of these recommendations will promote academic excellence at the university, and in turn increase the value of our graduates’ degrees -- something I think we need to do. Everybody in this room, every faculty and staff member here, ought to be focusing on our graduates' degrees being worth more every year going forward.

So that’s why this implementation is so important. We have a responsibility to do this and to serve the citizens of Iowa. And I think if we follow this plan, we put resources behind this plan and implement it, we’ll be at a place we can be very, very proud of.

And while the work in the classroom is the key component – it’s probably the first component we should talk about – it’s not the entire picture. In order to be a successful institution, we’ve really got to focus on this total educational experience – this Iowa State brand that Tom Hill often refers to, helping students get the most out of their Iowa State experience. This has not fallen by the wayside. There are efforts in a number of ways to make this happen.

The first and biggest one is another committee, which sounds funny coming from a university. But the reality is, we’ve kept these committees lean, we’ve kept them focused, we’ve kept them engaged. And the credit goes to one individual, whom I’m going to mention a little later for doing that. So we didn’t get where we were on this student experience and getting 33,000 students here by being static, by doing everything the same as we’ve always done.

We’ve made changes. We’ve continued to improve. We are one of the first universities to have learning communities. We are an early adopter of service learning; today we are one of the best. Our students are successful because they get a treasure-trove of on-the-job type experiences here. However, we have challenges going forward, with this many students and keeping this experience the way we want it.

Improving the student experience

So we’ve formed the committee, the Student Experience Enhancement Council, lovingly referred to as SEEC. And its focus was to develop strategies and recommendations to improve the student experience here on campus. SEEC has already delivered on that charge, and has provided me with a variety of recommendations pertaining to a broad array of student-centered activities, such as study abroad opportunities, leadership development, intramural activities, campus housing, dining, safety, CyRide and many more. So now I’ve communicated to each of my direct reports, that I intend to see the key elements of both of these plans, the Enhancing Institutional Excellence and the Student Experience Enhancement Council, implemented in the coming year.

So this is not just a broad level strategic vision with no specifics. There are a number of specifics here, and my senior vice presidents and my chief of staff all know it’s time to roll up their sleeves, restructure our budgets, make our priorities, and implement. I’m really excited to see the implementation. I think the recommendations will bolster these steps to improve the university, move us forward, and you’ll see investment in resources in time and money, in advising, supplemental instruction, internship support, learning community support, classroom facilities, educational technology improvements and many others.

So I want to make it very clear: You can’t identify priorities at a university, or any big organization, without linking them to funding. So our priorities and funding must be aligned if the priorities are meaningful. So, we take these committee recommendations seriously. I’ve met with all senior vice presidents individually; they are all working on implementation in their units and what they can do with personnel, what they can do with funding, with budget structure, to make things happen and go forward.

And all the credit for this really goes to Tahira Hira, who has not been introduced yet. Tahira, you should stand for this. Tahira serves as my senior policy adviser. The progress and the implementation of SEEC and the President’s Committee on Enhancing Institutional Excellence, and the recommendations that came from this, are really driven mainly by her efforts and the efforts of her committee. Tahira, thank you very much.

If we’re going to get, as Spencer said, from great to greater, it’s going to be based a lot on the ideas that emanated from the faculty through Tahira’s two committees and Tahira’s drive to help us get these things implemented. So I’m really excited about it. I’m glad you’re here, Tahira.

Optimistic about the future of research

So, let me talk about research and service for a moment. I’m actually very optimistic about the future of research. People were scared this year, rightfully so, about sequestration, the federal budget and the federal research budgets. And it’s no secret that Iowa State, like many universities, took some hit there. And while our faculty and staff were hindered some by that, I’m really excited with how they responded. That’s the good part here.

The response to grow our graduate student body, grow our research efforts and better serve Iowa was not lost because of one blip in the federal year. In fact, the faculty rose up, they recalibrated and they retooled. They maybe listened a little to the president on public/private partnerships, and private sector support of research at Iowa State was up over 13 percent in one year. I was really excited to see that. It’s that kind of get-it-done, roll-up-your-sleeves type, no-excuses attitude that’s going to keep pushing us forward. It makes me proud to be president of this faculty when I see how creative and hardworking they are when they can respond like this.

Now, it’s still early in FY14, but our numbers on the federal side look like they’re coming up. I’m a glass half-full guy, so when you hear these things about the federal budget, you hear about the difficult times. There are going to be great universities emerge from this stronger, and I am confident we’re going to be one of them. I’m seeing things like the way we responded with private sector research funding, and I’m very comfortable with what we can do and where we will go. As a matter of fact, when I saw the numbers this year, graduate numbers fell at the University of Iowa, and that’s not a surprise; they fell many places because of the federal budget. But in fact our graduate enrollment grew by over 100 students this year, so again, congratulations for delivering.

I’m also encouraged by the progress of the President’s Interdisciplinary Research Initiative that I started this year. This is really designed to help us grow research and the graduate student body in the long term. Those of you who may remember, we launched this to strengthen our position when it comes to our large, multidisciplinary grants – the kind of grants that Alex King applied for and led successfully. So, seven teams were funded on this campus, they have university support, and I think when you look at those proposals that were awarded funds…I look at the quality of the faculty on those teams, the ideas they have, I’m confident these are going to lead to additional funding and big things for Iowa State going forward.

Faculty-staff efforts are noticed

There’s another great reason for optimism here. I want to also talk about another aspect of our outreach activities, too. It wasn’t originally in the speech, but after going to the regents meeting this week, I wanted to bring this up. These efforts are really being noticed. I’m hearing around the state, from our highest elected officials that the culture at Iowa State – and I’m not just talking about the culture, but the students, the student experience that Tom and I often talk about – and the culture of the faculty and staff is one where they want to help. They want to serve. They want to do a great job. That is making a huge difference to us as we go forward. And a lot of that is coming, not only from our student sector, but it’s coming out of our research sector, where people want to help Iowans and Iowa companies succeed.

I’ve spent a lot of time, as I mentioned, off campus, and last week I met with four different senators. I’m meeting with another senator next week. I met with the lieutenant governor this week. Every single one of them appreciates that over our great science, our great research, and even our most basic science and research, there’s some kind of vision, some kind of philosophy on campus that we care if our research eventually makes a difference to society. That’s something that’s important to me and I think it must be important to our faculty, because it’s coming through across the state. Let’s keep doing that, and thank you for doing that.

But our research can’t end here on campus. If we don’t have great extension and outreach efforts, we’re not going to deliver on our land-grant mission, we’re not going to be successful, and we’re not going to have that support and interest in the university that we’ve worked on so hard over the years. When I travel the state and go on community visits, I try to visit the extension offices. I try to go to businesses that have been helped by CIRAS or IPRT. And I try to see how we engage folks around the state.

Extension, engagement huge parts of university

I’m very impressed with Iowa State's ability to engage our farmers, revitalize rural communities and help youth through 4-H, and the tremendous efforts to help our manufacturing and business sector. So I want to make it clear, extension and engagement are huge parts of this university. They were in no way diminished when I took this job. I heard many concerns around the state about some budget adjustments and some things that were necessary at the time for extension engagement. We’re not in those times anymore. You’ve got a president who started his career in extension engagement, who appreciates it, appreciates what Cathann Kress’ team is doing, and we’re going to keep pushing those efforts forward. And those of you who don’t work in extension engagement very much, don’t ever lose sight of the fact that much of your support in the Legislature comes from your colleagues engaging the citizens of the state. That will continue to be a huge focus.

Research park improvements can be game changer

Just as economic development is going to be a huge focus. You know I have a passion for that. It’s one of the reasons I was brought here. Helping Iowa State to have a tangible, serious, important role in promoting economic development in the state, I think is the right thing to do. It’s going to grow this state in the future and ensure our success. Today, we’re creating a modern workforce, producing innovation and applying and sharing knowledge through our small business development centers, CIRAS, IPRT and other units. Bottom line, our efforts in these areas in economic development are essential to the long-term economic success of the state, and I really think they’re essential to the long-term funding that we’ll have at Iowa State.

I’m going to be looking to Mike Crum to lead this effort. He’s going to elevate this mission and move it forward. I hope you’re ready for that, Mike. Actually, I know Mike is ready, that’s why he was chosen for this. So you’re going to see Mike have broad discretion and quite a bit of authority as he works with the senior team to reshape, refocus and reorganize our economic development efforts here on campus and at our research park.

Related to that, there’s not only going to be organizational restructuring to make us better able to serve the business community, there’s going to be some physical restructuring. We’re fortunate that we’ve received $12 million from the state to build a central core facility on the research park for our economic development efforts. Many of our units will move out there in a one-stop shop with no parking issues for our private partners. I think you’ll see this effort in the park pay off. You’re not only going to see it pay off in economic development in how we engage our partners throughout Iowa and beyond, but you’re also going to see a park that can grow from the 1,200 employees it has now, to a 5,000-employee, robust economic center for central Iowa. I think this is a real game changer for central Iowa, a game changer for the university, and we could be a leader for the nation as we go forward. I’m thrilled to have you doing this, Mike.

Finally, I want to talk about something that is exciting to me. As Spencer said, I added more diversity since I’ve been here as president. I didn’t do that. Many of these things I get to stand up here and take credit for and be proud about were done by others, and this is one of those examples where many people have worked for many years to make this a more diverse campus. We have the most diverse student body ever, and we’re making progress in other areas.

When I came here, I indicated I wanted to do better, but I’ve been concerned from experience in the past that sometimes people react almost too quickly and put money on big initiatives that are in the public light, before they really have a good plan with those layers behind it of how we can really make a difference. So as I struggled with that and talked about it, we came up with an idea and I’m pretty excited about where we are.

Diversity roadmap

We have a comprehensive university diversity report coming to us in the next couple of weeks. As some of you may recall, last spring we contracted with Jackson Consulting firm to examine the university’s strengths and weaknesses with respect to diversity, and then create a roadmap of how we can go forward. The fortunate thing about this is, Jackson Consulting is run by Jerlando Jackson, who is an interesting and dynamic person.

Those of you who haven’t met Jerlando yet, should. But most exciting, he is a very proud Iowa State alum. He has been very kind and generous with his time. He managed to get over 500 people on this campus to participate in this assessment of our current diversity, our initiatives, which ones have worked, which ones haven’t, and he’s a world expert at the University of Wisconsin in diversity initiatives in higher education.

So what you’re going to find is a report landing on my desk. It will be publicly available, we have resources set aside to push forward in this area, and I think we can be a university that people look to and say, “How did Iowa State achieve that?” And then they'll come and ask us, and we’ll be glad to share it, because this is something we would be proud to have as a model around the country. I’m really, really excited about what Jerlando is going to lay out for us in the next few weeks.

In conclusion, I’ve mentioned some specifics, some broad initiatives of things we want to do. They probably seem together like a large undertaking, and they probably are. But there is nothing wrong with setting high goals. Our stakeholders, whether elected officials or citizens of rural Iowa, expect excellence from Iowa State, and I’m confident working together, we are capable of delivering excellence and exceeding expectations. My senior team, again, know I want people to underpromise and overdeliver, rather than the other. And Iowa State has a great reputation in over delivering. And I think that’s where we want to be.

I assure you that anything I touched on today has specific action items associated with it. Very soon, those tier 1 and tier 2 recommendations from both the Institutional Excellence Committee and SEEC will be on my website, so you can delve into the specifics. I’d like you to delve into specifics. If you have ideas, improvements, suggestions – give them to us. This is not a static process. This is not "put it on the Web and nothing changes." We need input all the time. Tahira will welcome the input; I will welcome the input.

I think another thing I want to mention, though, as we go forward and try to implement these… I learned a lot about how shared governance works at Iowa State last year. And I had good relationships with P&S Council and Faculty Senate. I’m kind of invigorated by that. So I’d like to tell everybody today that a lot of the success is going to come from what I hope is going to be an even more intense, closer relationship between the President’s Office and Faculty Senate and P&S Council this year. So you will have an opportunity on a regular basis to influence what happens on this campus. Please make use of those opportunities. There shouldn’t be anyone on this campus who doesn’t know someone on P&S Council or Faculty Senate, and so I encourage you to engage them.

Keep going the extra mile

The other thing I want to mention is, every day we get up, we have the opportunity to go an extra mile. When we took this job, I promised Janet, who’s in the audience here, that I would have a night free and a weekend totally free where we could do things together. Now, I didn’t make good on that promise. But the reason is because Janet and I are trying to go that extra mile. So, whether it was last Saturday night, when we drove up to northern Iowa to meet with some Iowa senators, or whether it’s other things we do, we are trying hard to go the extra mile.

But we’re not alone. Almost everyone on this campus does this. I want to encourage you to keep going the extra mile. When you get up, think about whether you can stay late and help a farmer in the field. Can you stay after class and help a student who really needs help? This university is great, and the students come here because our faculty and staff really care, so I want you to continue to do that. And I want to let you know I appreciate it. And I want you to know that Janet and I will continue to do that. So, I’m very hopeful that there will be some young men who will go the extra mile tomorrow. I’m going to conclude by saying, go Cyclones!