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Tippie College Presents Alumnus and Young Alumnus of the Year Awards

The Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa has launched a new alumni awards program to recognize accomplished alumni who are engaged in the life of the college.

On Thursday, April 24, the college will present the Alumnus of the Year Award to Dana Ramundt, BBA 1974, and the Young Alumnus of the Year Award to Tom Niblock, BBA 2007, in an event to be held at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in the Feller Club Room. The Tippie College’s Recognition Reception will not only honor these two alumni but will include outstanding teaching and staff awards and pay tribute to retiring faculty members.

Criteria for the Alumnus of the Year Award states that recipients must be an alumnus of Iowa’s business programs; must have achieved a distinguished level of professional/career success; and must be actively engaged in the life of the college (examples of such include serving on an advisory board, speaking to students, mentoring or hiring students, providing financial resources, or providing experiential learning opportunities for Tippie students). The Young Alumnus of the Year meets much of the same criteria with an additional stipulation that they be under the age of 40 and have achieved a level of early career success.

“We developed this award to recognize not only career accomplishment but an alumnus’ active engagement with the college and our programs,” explains Tippie Dean Sarah Fisher Gardial. “Our programs and our students succeed because we have outstanding alumni mentoring our students, serving on advisory boards and councils, and providing internships and job opportunities. Their involvement is critical in our success and deserves this recognition.”

Ramundt is the president and CEO of The Dana Company, an independent insurance agency he founded in Des Moines, Iowa, that currently serves clients in 22 states. The majority of his career has been in insurance agencies in Mason City and Des Moines, prior to starting The Dana Company in 1989.

Ramundt has served the insurance industry as president of two county independent insurance agents' associations and as president of the Independent Insurance Agents of Iowa, and most recently served on the board of the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America. He also served four years as a board member of Project InVEST, a national program for the introduction of the insurance industry to high school and college students throughout the country.

Ramundt initiated the reestablishment of the insurance program at the University of Iowa, which has now evolved into the Emmett Vaughan Institute of Risk Management and Insurance. He serves on the Vaughan Institute’s Advisory Board and orchestrates an annual golf outing that not only provides scholarship funds to Iowa insurance students but introduces employers to some of the program’s accomplished students. To date, Ramundt, along with his foundation, have contributed over $200,000 to the Vaughan Institute through this event and he continues to mentor and counsel current students and graduates of the Program.

“Dana is an unabashed and tireless ambassador for the institute,” explains Larry Hershberger, director of the Vaughan Institute who nominated Ramundt for the award. “Thanks to his help establishing the program, more than 200 Iowa students have graduated with a Certificate in Risk Management and Insurance.”

Tom Niblock is a Foreign Service officer at the U.S. Department of State. He currently serves in the Office of Taiwan Coordination in Washington, D.C. Tom previously served as the staff assistant to the ambassador at both the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, China, and the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan. Before joining the Foreign Service, he earned a master’s in public affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.

A native Iowan, Tom grew up in three small towns across the state and graduated from the University of Iowa in 2007 with degrees in economics and religious studies. In 2007, Tom received the Hancher-Finkbine Award. He has lived, worked, and traveled throughout East Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe. Tom is the recipient of numerous awards from the Department of State, including the Pickering Fellowship and several Meritorious Honor Awards. He is also the author of Tip of the Dragon's Tongue:  The Adventures of a Young American Diplomat in China.

“Despite being posted oversees, Tom made time to travel to Iowa City during his infrequent stateside visits,” explains nominator Beth Ingram, UI associate provost for undergraduate education and Tippie economics professor. “He has served on the Young Alumni Board, given guest lectures in classes, and serves on the UI Honors Program Alumni Board. His loyalty to the university is unmatched.”

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