Old Capitol
November 7, 2016
Office of Strategic Communication

The University of Iowa will honor five members of the armed forces for exceptional service to both their country and the Hawkeye community on Thursday, Nov. 10.

The ceremony, which starts at 5 p.m., will be emceed by Iowa City Mayor and UI Professor Emeritus Jim Throgmorton. Criteria for the award include: a strong university connection, to have served honorably, military accomplishment, and service to their community.

This year’s recipients of the Hawkeye Distinguished Veterans Memorial Award will be:

  • Staff Sgt. Henry B. Tippie, U.S. Army Air Force
  • Lt. Cmdr. Dr. James Van Allen, U.S. Navy
  • Staff Sgt. Robert Miller, U.S. Army
  • Cpl. Kurt Vonnegut Jr., U.S. Army
  • Sgt. 1st Class Curtis K. Lane, U.S. Army

The event is sponsored by the UI Army ROTC and Air Force ROTC programs, the Division of Student Life/Iowa Memorial UnionUI Military and Veteran Student Services and the Hawkeye Distinguished Veterans Memorial Awards Committee.

Each award recipient will also be recognized with a plaque displayed in the IMU, which was built to pay tribute to Iowans who served their country. The Memorial Honor Roll on the first floor of the IMU recognizes students and alumni who have given their lives in service to the nation as members of the armed forces. 

More about the honorees:

Staff Sgt. Henry B. Tippie: Henry B. Tippie grew up on a farm in Belle Plaine, Iowa, starting his education in a one-room schoolhouse. After graduation from Belle Plaine High School in 1944, Henry enlisted in the Army Air Force at the age of 17. He reported to Camp Dodge, Iowa, on June 5, 1944, one day before the famed D-Day invasion. Henry went on to serve in the Medical Administrative field with the 20th Air Force in Guam and in the South Pacific. 

After his service, Tippie attended the University of Iowa thanks to the G.I. Bill and received his BSC in accounting in 1949 after 24 consecutive months of study. 

He began his professional career as a junior accountant in the Des Moines area, passing the CPA exam in 1951 before bringing innovative ideas to the world of business through his work with Rollins and Associates. Today, five Rollins companies trade on the NYSE, and Tippie is still involved with Rollins enterprises. 

In February 1999, he made a significant contribution to the College of Business to support its students and faculty. The college was renamed the Henry B. Tippie College of Business in his honor.

Lt. Cmdr. Dr. James Van Allen: James Van Allen personified the “Hawkeye Distinguished Veteran” through his wartime Naval Service, followed by a long and accomplished career in physics and astronomy at the University of Iowa. 

From 1940 through 1942, he helped develop radio proximity fuses—detonators to increase the effectiveness of anti-aircraft fire—for the defense of ships. His work was conducted at the Carnegie Institution of Washington and at the Applied Physics Laboratory of Johns Hopkins University. In November 1942, he was commissioned as a Naval officer, and he served 16 months on various ships in the South Pacific Fleet as an assistant staff gunnery officer. 

In 1951, Van Allen became professor and head of the University of Iowa Department of Physics and Astronomy, a position he held until he retired from teaching in 1985. The highlight of Van Allen’s long and distinguished career was his use of UI-built instruments carried aboard the first successful U.S. satellite, Explorer 1, in 1958 to discover bands of intense radiation—later known as the Van Allen radiation belts—surrounding the Earth. 

Perhaps his proudest achievement as an educator was leaving his mark on 34 doctoral students, 47 master’s students and, especially, the numerous undergraduates who enjoyed his classes.

Staff Sgt. Robert Miller: Robert Miller died heroically in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, when he attacked an enemy position to allow his fellow soldiers to move to better cover. He initiated this attack while grossly outnumbered, with no regard for his own safety, to provide protective fire for his team. This was only one of the many brave actions he committed to defend his team and fellow soldiers. His courage and self sacrifice clearly merit his inclusion into the honorable group of the Distinguished Hawkeye Veterans. 

Miller was the second of eight children born to Phil and Maureen Miller. He was named after his two grandfathers, Robert Miller and James Morgan, both World War II veterans. Rob was proud of his family’s service to our nation, going back to the Revolutionary War. 

Miller attended the University of Iowa during the 2002–2003 school year. He later enlisted in the army in August 2003. Miller graduated from the Special Forces Qualification Course on Sept. 26, 2004, and the Special Forces Weapons Sergeant Course on March 4, 2005. Hereceived his coveted Special Forces Tab and was promoted to sergeant on Sept. 30, 2005. That same day, he was assigned to Company A, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Special Force Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Cpl. Kurt Vonnegut Jr.: In 1965, Vonnegut came to Iowa City to teach at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he remained until 1967. It was during his time at Iowa that Vonnegut began working on his “Dresden Novel,” the working title for Slaughterhouse-Five.

Vonnegut enlisted in the United States Army in January 1943 and reported to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, for his basic training. In December of 1944, he fought in the Battle of the Bulge and was captured by German forces. The Germans sent him and his fellow POWs to Dresden. During his captivity, Allied forces firebombed the city. Vonnegut, along with his fellow POWs survived the bombing by taking refuge in a meat locker far below the city. When he emerged from his underground shelter, he saw unimaginable destruction. It was an experience that kindled the fire for the creation of one of the greatest works of American literature. 

Vonnegut went on to become one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century.

Sgt. 1st Class Curtis K. Lane: Curtis K. Lane is a co-founder and the portfolio manager of Concordant Partners LLC, a long/short hedge fund based in Omaha, Nebraska. Lane graduated with a BBA from the University of Iowa in 1973 and an MBA from the University of Nebraska in 1974; he has since managed institutional performance portfolios for 36 years. Lane is a member of the Board of Directors at the University of Iowa Foundation, the Finance Advisory Council at the Tippie College of Business, and the Iowa Athletic Fund. He is a longtime member of the Kinnick Society. He and his wife, Carol, have established the Curt and Carol Lane Faculty Fellowship in the Tippie College of Business. He currently serves as the president of the Senior Alumni Scholarship Foundation, which awards scholarships to graduating high school seniors in his hometown of Atlantic, Iowa. Lane recently received the University of Iowa Distinguished Alumni Award.

Lane served in the U.S. Army from October 1968 to February 1971 as a sergeant first class. He was part of the 5,000 U.S. troops that invaded Cambodia in the spring of 1970, where he was severely wounded and returned to the States to recuperate. Lane was awarded a Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts in Vietnam. He returned to the University of Iowa in 1971 to complete his degree on the GI-Bill.