UNI Alumni Association to present Heritage Honours Awards during spring commencement

Posted on Tuesday, May 3rd, 2005

Amy Mohr, assistant director of Alumni Relations Programming, (319) 273-2355
Vicki Grimes, University Marketing & Public Relations, (319) 273-6728

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- The University of Northern Iowa Alumni Association will present its annual Heritage Honours Awards during the 10 a.m. spring commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 7, in the UNI-Dome. The awards program honors the accomplishments of UNI graduates and their service to the university.

Diane Crane Bridgewater, a 1985 alumnus, will receive an Alumni Achievement Award. She is the vice president and business director of North America operations for Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc., in Des Moines, leading Pioneer's largest business unit with nearly $2 billion in annual revenue. She is the first woman to hold this position. She is a current board member of the United Way of Central Iowa and Childserve, and past board member of the Johnston Community School Foundation.

In 2002, the Des Moines Business Record named Bridgewater to the 'Forty Under 40,' a list recognizing the up-and-coming business leaders in Des Moines. She was also selected as the first ATHENA award honoree in Des Moines. This award recognizes leaders who contribute to improving the quality of life for others in the community, and actively assist women in realizing their leadership potential.

Bridgewater majored in accounting and French at UNI, and was the first recipient of UNI's Lux Service Award, which is the highest undergraduate award given for service to the university, in 1985. According to her parents, who nominated her for this award, Bridgewater's greatest strengths include having a lot of energy, being devoted to her family and her lifelong learning of new skills and techniques.

Jason Follett, a 1992 alumnus with a bachelor's degree in political science, will receive a Young Alumni Award. Follett is an adjunct student teaching supervisor for Simpson College in Indianola. He also is the chair of the State of Iowa Commission on Latino Affairs, a member of the State Historical Society of Iowa's Board of Trustees, the vice-chair of the State Historical Foundation Board of Directors, a member of the National Council for the Social Studies, on the executive board of the Iowa Council for the Social Studies and a founding member and facilitator of the Iowa Coalition on Civic Education.

'Jason is as effective as a team leader as he is a team member. He can work very well with diverse groups and will roll up his sleeves to get the job done,' said Susan Griffin, executive director of the National Council for the Social Studies. 'Both in his work on committees for the National Council for the Social Studies and as a representative of the Iowa Council for Social Studies, Jason demonstrated a solid work ethic, a keen understanding of organizational and professional issues, and good humor.'

There are three Heritage Honours award categories, the Alumni Achievement Award, which recognizes the outstanding professional accomplishments of UNI graduates; the Young Alumni Award, which honors UNI graduates 35 years of age or younger who have excelled in their profession in a short amount of time; and, the Alumni Service Award, which recognizes UNI graduates who have shown long and continuous service to their community and UNI. Only two of these awards are presented each year and are determined by the selection committee.

For more information on the Heritage Honours Awards, contact Amy Mohr, assistant director of alumni relations for programming, at (319) 273-2355, or visit