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Iowa State University
Motto Science with practice
Established 1858
Type Flagship state university
Endowment US $452.2 million [1]
President Gregory L. Geoffroy
Faculty 1,709
Students 27,943 (Fall 2009)
Undergraduates 20,172 (Spring 2009)
Postgraduates 4,614 (Spring 2009)
Location Ames, Iowa, USA
Campus Urban, 1,984 acres (8 km²)
Nickname Cyclones
Colors Cardinal and Gold          
Mascot Cy
Athletics Big 12
NCAA Division I
Affiliations American Association of Universities, Universities Research Association

Iowa State University of Science and Technology, more commonly known as Iowa State University (ISU), is a public land-grant and space-grant research university located in Ames, Iowa, United States. Iowa State is currently ranked by U.S. News & World Report as among the top 50 public universities and engineering schools in the United States. Iowa State has produced astronauts, scientists, and Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners, along with a host of other notable individuals in their respective fields. Until 1945 it was known as the Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts. The university is a member of the prestigious American Association of Universities, Universities Research Association, and the Big 12 Conference.



In 1856, the Iowa General Assembly enacted legislation to establish the State Agricultural College and Model Farm. Story County was chosen as the location on June 21, 1859, from proposals by Johnson, Kossuth, Marshall, Polk, and Story counties. When Iowa accepted the provisions of the Morrill Act of 1862, Iowa State became the first institution in the nation designated as a land-grant college. The institution was coeducational from the first preparatory class admitted in 1868. The formal admitting of students began the following year, and the first graduating class of 1872 consisted of 24 men and 2 women.[2]

The Iowa Experiment Station was one of the university's prominent features. Practical courses of instruction were taught, including one designed to give a general training for the career of a farmer. Courses in mechanical, civil, electrical, and mining engineering were also taught.

Fountain of Four Seasons by Christian Petersen with the Campanile in the background

The domain occupied about 1175 acres (476 hectares), of which 120 acres (49 hectares) formed the campus. In 1914, tuition was free to residents of Iowa. Students from other states paid an annual fee of $50. There were 217 members on the faculty in 1914 when 3,458 students attended the school. In 1923, 7,766 students were taught by a faculty which numbered 567 members. In the period from 1914 to 1923, the following buildings were erected: four women's dormitories, plant propagation building and greenhouse, science building, hospital, armory, animal husbandry laboratory, agricultural engineering building, poultry laboratory, dairy judging pavilion, and sheep, horse, hog, and dairy barns. A library of 250,000 volumes' capacity, a home economics building, and a dormitory for women were under construction in 1924. The president was Raymond Allen Pearson. The university continues to grow and set a new record for enrollment in the fall of 2009 with nearly 28,000 students.[3]


ISU is ranked among the top 50 public universities in the U.S. and is known for its degree programs in science, engineering, and agriculture. Overall, ISU ranks #85 in the U.S. News & World Report ranking of national universities and #21 in the Washington Monthly rankings. ISU is also home of the world's first electronic digital computing device, the Atanasoff–Berry Computer, and it is the operating agency for the Ames Laboratory, a United States Department of Energy national laboratory, where the world's first mass production of uranium was enabled and started the atomic age. In addition, the university is one of 60 elected members of the prestigious Association of American Universities, an organization composed of the most highly ranked research universities in the U.S. that is only open to membership by invitation.

ISU is classified as a Carnegie RU/VH institution, i.e., a research university with very high research activity[4] and receives nearly $300 million in research grants each year. The National Science Foundation ranks ISU #94 in the nation in research and development expenditures for science and engineering and #78 in total research and development expenditures. Currently, ISU ranks #2 in license and options executed on its intellectual property and #5 in license and options that yield income.

Parks Library contains nearly 2.5 million books and subscribes to more than 32,000 journals, making ISU's library one of the 100 largest university libraries in the country.


ISU is organized into eight colleges that offer 96 Bachelors degree programs, 115 Masters programs, 83 Ph.D programs, and one professional degree program in Veterinary Medicine.

ISU consists of the following colleges:

  • Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Business
  • Design
  • Engineering
  • Human Sciences
  • Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Veterinary Medicine

In addition to these seven colleges, the Graduate College oversees graduate study in all fields.

Campus and Landmarks

Iowa State's campus contains over 160 buildings. Several buildings, as well as the Marston Water Tower, are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[5] Central campus is a 20-acre lawn and was listed as a "medallion site" by the American Society of Landscape Architects in 1999, one of only three college campuses designated as such. The other two are Yale University and the University of Virginia. Thomas Gaines, in The Campus As a Work of Art, proclaimed the Iowa State campus to be one of the twenty-five most beautiful campuses in the country.[6]

Student life


Residence halls

View looking east towards Roberts Hall.

Iowa State operates 19 on-campus residence halls. The residence halls are divided into geographical areas. Richardson Court (RCA) consists of 12 residence halls on the east side of campus. The Union Drive Neighborhood (UDA) consists of four residence halls located on the west side of campus, including Friley Hall, which has been declared one of the largest residence halls in the country.[7] Buchanan Hall is an upper-division hall that is nominally considered part of the UDA, despite its distance from the other buildings. The Towers Residence Halls (TRA) are located south of the main campus. Like Buchanan, they are reserved for second-year students and upperclassmen. Two of the four towers, Knapp and Storms Halls, were imploded in 2005; however, Wallace and Wilson Halls still stand. ISU also operates two apartment complexes for upperclassmen, Frederiksen Court and SUV Apartments.

Union Drive Richardson Court Towers Apartments Other
  • Friley Hall
  • Helser Hall
  • Martin Hall
  • Eaton Hall
  • Birch-Welch-Roberts Halls
  • Barton Hall
  • Lyon Hall
  • Freeman Hall
  • Linden Hall
  • Oak-Elm Halls
  • Maple Hall
  • Willow Hall
  • Larch Hall
  • Wallace Hall
  • Wilson Hall
  • Frederiksen Court
  • Schilleter and University Village
  • Buchanan Hall

Student government

The governing body for ISU students is the Government of Student Body or GSB. The GSB is composed of a president, vice president, finance director, cabinet appointed by the president, a clerk appointed by the vice president, senators representing each college and residence area at the university, a nine-member judicial branch and an election commission.[8]

Student organizations

ISU has nearly 700 student organizations on campus that represent a variety of interests. Organizations are supported by Iowa State's Student Activities Center. Many student organization offices are housed in the Memorial Union.

Greek community

ISU is home to an active Greek community. There are 50 chapters that involve 11 percent of undergraduate students. Collectively, fraternity and sorority members have raised over $82,000 for philanthropies and committed 31,416 hours to community service. In 2006, the ISU Greek community was named the best large Greek community in the Midwest.[9]

The ISU Greek Community has received multiple Jellison and Sutherland Awards from Association for Fraternal Leadership and Values, formerly the Mid-American Greek Council Association. These awards recognize the top Greek Communities in the Midwest.

Collegiate Panhellenic Council Interfraternity Council National Pan-Hellenic Council Multicultural Greek Council

The first fraternity, Delta Tau Delta, was established at Iowa State in 1875, six years after the first graduating class entered Iowa State. The first sorority, I.C. Sorocis, was established only two years later, in 1877. I.C. Sorocis later became a chapter of the first national sorority at Iowa State, Pi Beta Phi. Anti-Greek rioting occurred in 1888. As reported in The Des Moines Register, "The anti-secret society men of the college met in a mob last night about 11 o'clock in front of the society rooms in chemical and physical hall, determined to break up a joint meeting of three secret societies." In 1891, President William Beardshear banned students from joining secret college fraternities, resulting in the eventually closing of all formerly established fraternities. President Storms lifted the ban in 1904.[10]

Following the lifting of the fraternity ban, the first twelve national fraternities (IFC) installed on the Iowa State campus between 1904 and 1913 were, in order, Sigma Nu, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Beta Theta Pi, Phi Gamma Delta, Alpha Tau Omega, Kappa Sigma, Theta Xi, Acacia, Phi Sigma Kappa, Delta Tau Delta, Pi Kappa Alpha, and Phi Delta Theta.[11] Though some have suspended their chapters at various times, ten of the original twelve fraternities are active in 2008. Many of these chapters existed on campus as local fraternities before being reorganized as national fraternities, prior to 1904.

School newspaper

The Iowa State Daily is the university's student newspaper and is the nation's largest student run newspaper. The Daily has its roots from a news sheet titled the Clipper, which was started in the spring of 1890 by a group of students at Iowa Agricultural College led by F.E. Davidson. The Clipper soon led to the creation of the Iowa Agricultural College Student, and the beginnings of what would one day become the Iowa State Daily.

Campus radio

88.5 KURE is the university's student-run radio station. Programming for KURE includes ISU sports coverage, talk shows, the annual quiz contest Kaleidoquiz, and various music genres.


Jack Trice Stadium during a game

The "Cyclones" name dates back to 1895. That year, Iowa suffered an unusually high number of devastating cyclones (as tornadoes were called at the time). In September, the Iowa State football team traveled to Northwestern University and defeated its highly-regarded team by a score of 36-0. The next day, the Chicago Tribune's headline read "Struck by a Cyclone: It Comes from Iowa and Devastates Evanston Town."[12] The article reported that "Northwestern might as well have tried to play football with an Iowa cyclone as with the Iowa team it met yesterday." The nickname stuck and the Iowa State team had made a name for itself.

The school colors are cardinal and gold. The mascot is Cy, a cardinal, introduced in 1954. Since a cyclone was determined to be difficult to depict in costume, the cardinal was chosen in reference to the school colors. A contest was held to select a name for the mascot, with the name Cy being chosen as the winner. In early Summer 2007, Cy was voted by fans on the CBS Sports website as the "Most Dominant College Mascot on Earth".[13] In 2009, Cy won the Capital One Mascot competition.

The Iowa State Cyclones compete in the NCAA's Division I-A as a member of the Big 12 Conference.

The wrestling squad has captured the NCAA tournament title eight times between 1928 and 1987[14], and is the current three-year defending Big 12 Conference champion.

VEISHEA celebration

The VEISHEA 2006 Battle of the Bands.

Iowa State is widely known for VEISHEA, an annual education and entertainment festival held on campus each spring. The name VEISHEA is derived from the initials of ISU's five original colleges, forming an acronym as the university existed when the festival was founded in 1922:

  • Veterinary Medicine
  • Engineering
  • Industrial Science
  • Home Economics
  • Agriculture

VEISHEA is the largest student run festival in the nation, bringing in tens of thousands of visitors to the campus each year. The celebration features an annual parade and many open-house demonstrations of the university facilities and departments. Campus organizations exhibit products, technologies, and hold fund raisers for various charity groups. In addition, VEISHEA brings speakers, lecturers, and entertainers to Iowa State, and throughout its over eight decade history, it has hosted such distinguished guests as Bob Hope, John Wayne, Presidents Harry Truman, Ronald Reagan, and Lyndon Johnson, and performers Diana Ross, Billy Joel, Sonny and Cher, the Goo Goo Dolls, Bobby V, and the Black Eyed Peas.[15]

The 2007 VEISHEA festivities marked the start of Iowa State's year-long sesquicentennial celebration.


Iowa State's composting facility "can handle more than 10,000 tons of organic wastes annually."[16] A new website tracks energy use of campus buildings [17] and the school's new $3 million dollar revolving loan fund loans money for energy efficiency and conservation projects on campus.[18] In the 2010 College Sustainability Report Card issued by the Sustainable Endowments Institute, the university received a B- grade.[19]

Notable people

George Washington Carver was a student and faculty member at Iowa State.

As with any major public university, many Iowa State University alumni have achieved fame or notoriety after graduating. These people include astronauts, scientists, Nobel laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, statesmen, academicians, CEOs, entrepreneurs, athletes, film and television actors, and a host of other notable individuals in their respective fields. USDA buildings and their architectural structures in Washington, D.C. bear more names of Iowa State alumni than those from any other university.[20] More than one-third of the Fortune 500 companies have Iowa State alumni in leadership positions.[20]

Iowa State chronology

Events occurring in the same year did not necessarily happen in the order presented here.

Year Event
1856 Iowa General Assembly enacts legislation for creation of the State Agricultural College and Model Farm
1859 Story County is the chosen county for the State Agricultural College and Model Farm
1860 Construction starts on the first building on campus, Farm House
1862 Morrill Act of 1862 is passed; college to be named Iowa State Agricultural College
1869 First graduating class enters Iowa State[21]
1875 The first national fraternity, Delta Tau Delta, opens at Iowa State
1876 The university cemetery is opened. One of the very few active cemeteries associated with a university campus in the U.S.[22]
1877 The first national sorority, Pi Beta Phi, opens at Iowa State
1879 The School of Veterinary Science is formally organized. It's the first of its kind in the United States.
1890 Student newspaper Iowa Agricultural College Student is founded. Later to be named the Iowa State Daily
1895 Football team nicknamed Cyclones for their performance against Northwestern University
1898 The college is divided into "divisions": Agriculture, Engineering, Science and Philosophy, and Veterinary Medicine
1898 Renamed the Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts[23]
1905 First Agricultural Engineering program in the world established
1913 The college roads are paved
1922 VEISHEA is established
1923 Jack Trice is mortally injured during a football game against Minnesota
1933 First statistics laboratory in the U.S. is established[24]
1939 The Atanasoff–Berry Computer (ABC) is invented. The Atanasoff-Berry Computer was the world's first electronic digital computer.[25][26]
1945 Campus production reaches 2 million pounds of high-purity uranium for Manhattan Project.[27]
1947 Ames Laboratory established by U.S. Atomic Energy Commission
1950 WOI-TV established as the first commercially operated television station owned by a university in the U.S. Station sold in 1994.[28][29]
1954 Cy becomes the Iowa State mascot
1959 Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev visits Iowa State
1959 10-KW, 150-ton nuclear teaching reactor is built. Reactor decommissioned and removed in 2000.[30]
1959 Renamed the Iowa State University of Science and Technology
1959 Iowa State's divisions become colleges: the College of Agriculture, College of Engineering, College of Home Economics, College of Sciences and Humanities, and College of Veterinary Medicine
1962 Enrollment reaches 10,000 students
1966 Enrollment reaches 15,000 students
1968 The College of Education is established
1974 The Maintenance Shop opens in the Memorial Union
1979 The College of Design is established
1984 The College of Business is established
1988 First VEISHEA Riot
1992 Second VEISHEA Riot
1995 Reiman Gardens opens[31]
1997 Working replica of Atanasoff-Berry Computer is unveiled, goes on nationwide tour[32]
1999 Central Campus is listed as a "medallion site" by the American Society of Landscape Architects
2004 Third VEISHEA Riot
2005 The College of Education and the College of Family and Consumer Sciences are combined to create the College of Human Sciences
2006 VEISHEA returns after being canceled for 2005; is deemed a huge success
2007 ISU's year long Sesquicentennial celebration is kicked off at VEISHEA 2007 with a 20,000-piece birthday cake[33]
2008 Sesquicentennial of Iowa State
2009 25th Anniversary of the College of Business

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ Iowa State University Time Line, 1858-1874. Iowa State University Website.
  3. ^ Fall 2009 enrollment numbers
  4. ^ [1] Carnegie Classifications for Iowa State University
  5. ^ It's a Fact: Iowa State University. Iowa State University website.
  6. ^ Gaines, Thomas (1991). The Campus as a Work of Art. New York: Praeger Publishers. pp. 155. 
  7. ^ The seven wonders of Iowa State. The Iowa State Daily.
  8. ^ Government of the Student Body
  9. ^ "Greek Community Membership Statistics" (PDF). Iowa State University Office of Greek Affairs. 2007-11-01. Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  10. ^ Miller, W.J. (1961). "Greek Community Origins from Fraternities & Sororities at Iowa State". Iowa State University Office of Greek Affairs. Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  11. ^ The Scroll of Phi Delta Theta, Vol. XXXVII, (1912-1913) p 542, edited by Davis, T.
  12. ^ Iowa State University Time Line, 1875-1899. Iowa State University website.
  13. ^ Liwang, Roland (2007-06-01). "Most Dominant College Mascot on Earth: Cyclones win!". Retrieved 2008-06-06. 
  14. ^ "Cyclone Wrestlers Ready For NCAA's". 2008-03-18. Retrieved 2008-06-09. 
  15. ^ VEISHEA History from the official 2006 media kit
  16. ^ "ISU promotes sustainability via an all-university compost facility". Iowa State University News. Retrieved 2009-06-10. 
  17. ^ "New web site charts campus building energy use". Iowa State University. Retrieved 2009-06-10. 
  18. ^ "Live Green revolving loan fund". Iowa State University News. Retrieved 2009-06-10. 
  19. ^
  20. ^ a b "Points of Pride - Alumni". Iowa State University. Retrieved 2008-10-13. 
  21. ^ "History of Iowa State: Student Life". Iowa State University. Retrieved 2007-04-17. 
  22. ^ "Iowa State University Cemetery". Iowa State University. Retrieved 2008-10-12. 
  23. ^ "History of the College's Name". ISU College of Agriculture. Retrieved 2008-10-12. 
  24. ^ "Figures from the History of Probability and Statistics". John Aldrich. Retrieved 2008-10-14. 
  25. ^ "Inventors of the Modern Computer". Mary Bellis. Retrieved 2008-10-12. 
  26. ^ "John V. Atanasoff Dies at Age 91 Invented First Electronic Computer". Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-10-12. 
  27. ^ "The 1940s – The Manhattan Project Years and After". Ames Laboratory. Retrieved 2008-10-12. 
  28. ^ "Campus Journal; Vote to Sell TV Station Splits Iowans". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-10-12. 
  29. ^ "Iowans for WOI-TV, Inc.". Iowa State University Library. Retrieved 2008-10-12. 
  30. ^ "Nuclear reactor removal underway at Iowa State U.". University Wire. Retrieved 2008-10-12. 
  31. ^ "History of Reiman Gardens". Reiman Gardens. Retrieved 2009-06-10. 
  32. ^ "Atanasoff-Berry Computer Replica Unveiled in Washington, D.C.". Iowa State Daily. Retrieved 2008-10-16. 
  33. ^ "Lots of cake". ISU News Service. Retrieved 2009-02-12. 

External links

Coordinates: 42°01′26″N 93°38′51″W / 42.023949°N 93.647595°W / 42.023949; -93.647595

This article incorporates text from an edition of the New International Encyclopedia that is in the public domain.


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