President Dr. Terri Goss Kinzy

By the time this issue of State arrives, the campus community will be busy preparing for spring commencement ceremonies. We will witness during graduation what I quickly learned about ISU, which is that Redbirds are stellar students prepared to reach great heights.

There are examples to support this claim on the following pages. You will marvel at the accomplishments of Dr. J. Michael Durnil, a dual alum who is now the executive director of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. His leadership at the state and national level within higher education and GLAAD is inspiring. He credits his experiences through Student Affairs for contributing to his success.

Alumna Elisabeth Good is doing extraordinary work as well in opening doors for an often overlooked community. She represents individuals with disabilities, helping them find opportunities in the fashion and entertainment industries. The work is especially meaningful to Good, as she too has faced that challenge. Her goal is to change how people with disabilities are viewed.

You will also find the announcement of our annual alumni award winners. Each of the nine graduates have made exceptional contributions in their respective fields. Included for the first time are recipients of the Andrew Purnell Jr. Trailblazer Award. Purnell ’57 is being honored with a posthumous honorary degree.

Beyond stories of our stellar alumni, this issue puts the spotlight on Dr. Shawn Hitchcock. A professor of organic chemistry, he has been recognized with a national outstanding teaching award from the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers. The honor is a reminder that our students succeed because of the investment our exceptional faculty make in learning and teaching.

The University’s tireless efforts to provide equity for women are showcased in a feature about Title IX. I have no doubt you will be surprised to learn of how former coaches, students, and Athletics administrators played such a significant role in paving the way for the landmark legislation that was passed 50 years ago.

Appears In

What a point of pride it is for Redbirds to have contributed so much over the years to change the narrative across the nation. This reflective piece celebrates the progress made and emphasizes the work that remains. As a person who did not see many others like myself in my career, be it women or first-generation leaders, I can attest to the incredible impact that has been made on ISU’s campus and our alums to open doors.