College of Business honors three alumni, one corporate partner at Homecoming Awards

Contact: Dan Ryan, (515) 294-5800,


AMES, Iowa — The College of Business will honor three individuals, all Iowa State University alumni, and one of its valuable corporate relationships at this fall’s Honors and Awards Ceremony, held on Friday, November 8 at 1:30 p.m. in the Scheman Building on the Iowa State University Campus.


Citation of Achievement Award

The Citation of Achievement Award was established in 1985 to honor distinguished alumni who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in life beyond the campus. There are three recipients of this award.


Lynn A. Anderson

Lynn Anderson

Lynn Anderson
BS Industrial Administration ’69
Sioux Falls, S.D.

BS Industrial Administration ’69

Sioux Falls, S.D.


Lynn Anderson is the retired senior vice president of marketing for Cedar American Rail Holdings, Inc., in Sioux Falls, S.D. The company operated the Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad (DM&E) and the Iowa, Chicago & Eastern Railroad. Together, the two railroads combined to form one of the largest and most successful railroads in the country.


Anderson’s railroad career began in 1971 with the Chicago and North Western Railroad in Chicago, Ill. In 1986, he became one of the original founders of DM&E, with tracks spun off from Chicago and North Western in South Dakota and Minnesota. DM&E’s annual revenues grew from $22 million in 1987 to well over $250 million 20 years later, aided by its 2002 purchase of what became the Iowa, Chicago & Eastern Railroad. The railroad grew to provide service in eight states in the upper Midwest, stretching from Wyoming to Chicago and Minneapolis to Kansas City. In 2008, the company was purchased by the Canadian Pacific Railway, a major carrier across the northern United States and Canada.


He has been engaged with Iowa State University for years, chairing the capital campaign for Beta Sigma Psi fraternity’s new chapter house. Anderson is a native of Story City, Iowa, and his wife Diane (’71 interior design), son Tyler (’05 marketing), and daughter-in-law Lisa (’04 communications studies and philosophy) are also Iowa State graduates.


Anderson is a member of the ISU Foundation’s Order of the Knoll and in 2013 joined its Board of Governors. He is a member of the Cyclone Club and an annual member of the ISU Alumni Association.


Brenda J. Cushing

BBA Accounting ‘86

Brenda J. Cushing

Brenda J. Cushing
BBA Accounting ’86
West Des Moines, Iowa

West Des Moines, Iowa


Brenda Cushing is the executive vice president and chief financial officer for Athene USA, formerly Aviva USA. She assumed this role in 2008, which was an enormously challenging time to be in a leadership role of a large financial firm. Despite the challenges of a global economic crisis, she helped steer Aviva through to record financial results in the years since.


Her responsibilities are to ensure that the company’s financial functions are conducted within the legal and statutory framework of the company, as well as aligned with the company’s strategic and operational plans. She is responsible for communication of Athene USA’s financial results to its internal and external stakeholders.


Cushing began her Aviva career in 1993 as general accounting manager at AmerUs Life Insurance Company, and she joined AmerUs Bank in 1994 as finance vice president before becoming CFO until the bank’s sale in 1998. She then became CFO of AmerUs Home Equity and senior vice president and controller for Aviva USA. Prior to her career with Aviva, she was with public accounting firm McGladrey and Pullen – now McGladrey LLP.


Cushing is a member of the Iowa Economic Development Authority board, serves on the finance committee of Mercy Medical Center, and is a community board member for Bankers Trust (Des Moines). She is a member of the American Institute of CPAs, the Iowa Society of CPAs, and Financial Executives International.


Cushing is a member of the College of Business Dean’s Advisory Council and the ISU Foundation Order of the Knoll, and she is an annual member of the ISU Alumni Association.


Randal J. Richardson

BS Industrial Administration and Economics ‘79

Randal J. Richardson

Randal J. Richardson
BS Industrial Administration and Economics ’79
Naperville, IL

Naperville, Ill.


Randy Richardson is president of Vi, a national owner, developer, and operator of quality senior living communities. Vi (pronounced VEE) is the Latin root for the word “life.” Vi was founded in 1987 by Penny Pritzker, who stepped down in 2012 and now serves as the 38th United States Secretary of Commerce.


Richardson leads the company’s strategic growth initiatives, which are designed to enhance the economic value of the company and further position the company as an industry leader. Under his leadership, the company has completed more than $1 billion of new development. Richardson’s operations experience has enabled the company to establish itself as a first-class operator of senior living communities.


Richardson has an extensive background in property development, management, and marketing. Before joining Vi, he served as the senior vice president of asset management for General Growth Properties, Inc. In this position, he was responsible for a portfolio of properties located nationwide, with a market value in excess of $4 billion. Richardson was responsible for all operational issues, as well as several development, acquisition, and expansion projects.


Richardson is the vice chairman of the National Investment Center and a fellow of The Culinary Institute of America. He also serves on the College of Business Dean’s Advisory Council and is an ISU Alumni Association life member.

Russ and Ann Gerdin Award

The Russ and Ann Gerdin Award was established to honor contributions from valuable corporate partners or successful individuals who are not College of Business graduates. The award is named in honor of Russ and Ann Gerdin, who in 1998 made a $10 million lead gift to build 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.

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