Iowa State University takes on a special mood when the holidays are approaching—this is a time when some of our best campus memories are made. we’ve asked a few of our notable Iowa Staters for their favorite holiday memories, and we think you’ll enjoy their picks as much as we did—maybe they’ll even inspire you to make some long-lasting memories of your own.

“Just before the holiday break, I remember walking across central campus—a peaceful snow falling, when the Campanile began playing its hourly chimes. I stopped and listened and remember thinking how blessed I was to be able to spend time at this amazing place.”

Thea “Ted” Oberlander, ’77 accounting
Chair, Board of Directors, Iowa State Alumni Association

“Singing carols and drinking hot chocolate with friends at holiday parties and open houses—and reveling in the new friendships that were invariably made in the ending semester—these are things that today, whenever I think about them, still make me smile.”

Paxton Williams, ’00 comm. studies, poli. sci.
lawyer and George Washington Carver biographical actor

“I fondly remember a Cyclone football fan tracking me down and asking me to walk all the way up to the top row of Jack Trice Stadium where her family awaited in full Christmas attire—Santa hats, holiday sweaters, and elf shoes! What an honor it was to help bring such holiday cheer to a wonderful Cyclone family!”

“Most dominant mascot on Earth”
CBS Sports

“For me, holidays meant going home . . . even though it was just a few blocks. It meant being with family and sharing in holiday traditions.”

Fred Hoiberg, ’95 finance
Iowa State Men’s Basketball Head Coach

“Enjoying the holiday season can be challenging as finals loom, but I have always appreciated a warm, delicious study break at The Knoll during open house each season. The hot chocolate is heavenly, and the company of other students is delightful.”

Hillary Kletscher
2014 Government of the Student Body President

“During the holiday season, I fondly recall the beauty of our snow-covered campus when I left my laboratory late at night.”

Lauro F. Cavazos, ’54 Ph.D.
Tufts University professor and former U.S. Secretary of Education

“My first winter ever was on the campus in 1971—it is a cherished memory. Still the most beautiful campus in America.”

Suku Radia, ’74 accounting, industrial administration
CEO and President, Bankers Trust

Steve and Janet warmly wish you a holiday
of joy and family and a prosperous new year.

Iowa State University


“Bells of Iowa State” performed by Tin-Shi Tam, university carillonneur

Photography by Jim Heemstra, Barbara McBreen, Dan McClanahan

Created by PUSH Branding and Design in cooperation with the Office of University Marketing

“We have really enjoyed hosting hundreds of students, faculty, and staff at the annual holiday open house at The Knoll where Janet and students from our leadership class deck the rooms with seasonal greenery and ornaments. We serve hot chocolate and a variety of holiday treats—it truly is a special time.”

Steve and Janet Leath
President and First Lady of Iowa State