Russ & Ann Gerdin Award Recipients

The Russ and Ann Gerdin award was established in 2009 to honor contributions from valuable corporate partners or individuals who are not College of Business graduates. The award honors Russ and Ann Gerdin, who made the lead gift for the Gerdin Business Building. Neither attended Iowa State.



Union Pacific Corporation

Omaha, Nebraska


Union Pacific logoUnion Pacific (UP) is one of America’s leading transportation companies and one of the College of Business’ most important corporate partners. It has repeatedly been recognized as one of the college’s top employers. Union Pacific has been active in career fairs and other fair-related events such as student receptions and on-campus interviews. Iowa State is the only university at which all seven of UP’s business units recruit.


The firm’s reach on campus extends far beyond career recruitment, however. Union Pacific has been highly engaged, sponsoring UP Days at Iowa State in which the company provides students lunch and firsthand access to a mobile demonstration unit that showcases UP technology. It conducts technical presentations and frequently provides speakers in classrooms. UP initiated and sponsored a case competition for marketing students, and its executives frequently meet with ISU administrators and faculty to explore additional ways to enhance the relationship between the two entities.


Union Pacific has also been extremely generous in its philanthropy, particularly to College of Business faculty. It contributed funding for two named professorships, one in information systems and another in accounting in honor of Founding Dean Charles B. Handy.


UP has also named the Undergraduate Programs Suite in the Gerdin Business Building. It has funded student scholarships and contributed to the ISU Investment Group, as well as other ISU student organizations. It also doubles its employees’ contributions to Iowa State.


The College of Business is proud to honor this valuable partnership.



Ralph C. Eucher
BA Political Science ‘74
MS Industrial Relations ‘76

Jean N. Eucher
BS Psychology ’76


Ralph and Jean Eucher

Ralph (’74, ’76) and Jean (’76) Eucher

West Des Moines, Iowa

Ralph and Jean Eucher’s involvement in the College of Business began years ago when Ralph’s company, Principal Financial Group, started sponsoring an annual welcome event and diversity training for the college’s new MBA students. The Euchers’ engagement with the college grew to the point where, in 2007, they made a gift that launched the Eucher Faculty Fellowship in Business, which is used to help raise the profile of ethics in the curriculum.


That gift turned out to be timely. Just a year later, the global economy was in crisis and ethics in business were under scrutiny as never before. The Eucher Fellowship served as a launching point to a college-wide discussion on ethics and leadership. By 2009, the Iowa State MBA was unveiling its new core curriculum with a renewed emphasis on ethics and corporate social responsibility.


After Iowa State, Ralph Eucher went on to earn his J.D. from the University of Iowa. He is now Principal’s senior vice president of human resources. Jean earned an Ed.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Iowa and is a retired pediatric psychologist. Both their children and their daughter-in-law are Iowa State alumni.


The Euchers are life members of the ISU Alumni Association and members of the ISU Foundation Order of the Knoll.



Cora Wortman

Brooklyn Park, MN


Cora Wortman

Cora Wortman

Max S. Wortman was a boisterous, dedicated, and beloved Distinguished Professor of Management in the College of Business. He stayed on the cutting edge of his field, even after compiling a vita almost any academic would envy. The United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship named its lifetime achievement award for him, then named him its inaugural recipient.


Wortman passed away in 2005 at age 72, hours after teaching an evening course. As his son Kirk said it, Wortman “had a terrific life and accomplished all he wanted. We take great solace in the fact that he died doing what he loved most – teaching.”


His widow Cora and their children, Kirk and daughter Sara Demyanovich, honored his entrepreneurial spirit by establishing the Max S. Wortman Jr. Endowed Professorship. Cora’s generosity will help faculty continue to advance Max’s ideals for generations to come.


Cora earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota in 1959 and her master’s from Virginia Tech in 1981. She retired from Pioneer Hi-Bred as a senior research associate.


She is the chair of special interest groups for the Osher Lifelong Institute (OLLI), a community of older adults in the Twin Cities area who love learning.


Wortman is a lifetime member of the ISU Alumni Association.



Mark A. Blake
BS Agricultural Business ’77


Julie G. Blake

BS Physical Education ’78

Mark and Julie Blake

Mark ’77 and Julie ’78 Blake


Eden Prairie, Minn.


Although Mark and Julie Blake are not College of Business graduates, their business careers have led them to become important College of Business supporters. Mark is a partner with Bank Financial Services Group, and Julie is the office’s marketing director.


The Blakes have made a commitment to current and future undergraduates in the College of Business by funding the Mark and Julie Blake scholarship, which is given to deserving students in need. Their commitment includes an estate gift that will ensure their generosity will benefit students for years to come. They intend to create a Blake Scholar in every class of the College of Business.


But the Blakes’ involvement in the scholarship goes well beyond funding it. They are committed to making an impact on the lives of young people on a personal level, at Iowa State and beyond. They have taken on unofficial roles as mentors, coaches, and friends to their scholarship recipients. They offer advice and make connections with students that both the Blakes and the students have grown to treasure.


The Blakes are members of Order of the Knoll, as well as being lifetime members of the ISU Alumni Association, Cyclone Club members, and dedicated fans.



William A. Goodwin

’59 BS Industrial Engineering

Des Moines, Iowa

William Goodwin

William Goodwin ’59


William Goodwin is the inaugural recipient of the Gerdin Award. He is a longtime supporter of the College of Business, serving on the Dean’s Advisory Council and providing philanthropic support that has allowed the college to create two faculty fellowships in the management department that bear the name of Goodwin and his wife, Elizabeth. Both are impressive commitments for someone who graduated from a different college at Iowa State.


Goodwin is president of Cerro Gordo Land Co. in his hometown of Des Moines, Iowa. In addition to his ISU degree, he earned an MBA from Stanford University in 1965. He also spent many years as a U.S. Naval officer, on active duty from 1959 to 1962, then retiring from reserve in 1982 as a captain. In that time he served in the Mercury Space program, recovering astronauts John Glenn, Jr. and Virgil Grissom after space missions.


He has served on the boards of Iowa Methodist Health Foundation, US Bank, the Human Gene Therapy Institute, and the John Austin Cheley Foundation. The College of Business awarded him its John D. DeVries Service Award in 1997.


Goodwin is an emeritus member of the ISU Foundation Board of Governors, is a member of the Order of the Knoll and Cyclone Club, and is a lifetime member of the ISU Alumni Association.