UNI to recognize former graduates in Hall of Excellence ceremony

Posted on Tuesday, October 27th, 2015

Carol Bean, secretary, 319-273-2605,

Lindsay Cunningham, Office of University Relations, 319-273-6728,

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- Seven graduates from the School of Health, Physical Education and Leisure Services (HPELS) at the University of Northern Iowa will be inducted into the school's Elinor A. Crawford and William R. Thrall Hall of Excellence on Saturday morning, Oct. 31, in the UNI Commons Ballroom.

A public ceremony will be held at 4 p.m., Friday, Oct. 30, in Sabin Hall, Room 2 and is free and open to the public. The keynote speaker will be Gale Wiedow, a UNI graduate, Hall of Excellence inductee and former president of the Society of Health and Physical Educators. A reception will follow in the Great Reading Room in Seerley Hall.

The following alumni will be inducted this year: 

-       William R. Donohue (B.A. '66) is the former dean of students at the University of Dubuque and served 31 years as the chief student affairs officer at multiple universities. He is also an advocate for children and adults with special needs.


-       Jill K. Fjelstul (B.A. '86; M.A. '87) served on the faculty in UNI's School of HPELS from 1988-91. She is currently an associate professor in the Rosen College of Hospitality Management at the University of Central Florida. Fjelstul is also a 2001 UNI Athletic Hall of Fame inductee.


      -     Robert E. Lee (B.A. '71) was a teacher and coach at several area schools. He served as president of the Iowa Association of Track Coaches and as councilman on the Advisory Council for the Iowa High School Athletic Association. Lee has had six state track and five state cross country     champions and one state mile team champion.


      -     Joan E. Manning (B.A. '75) is the vice president of the largest American Red Cross Biomedical Services division in the nation. She's received numerous awards and recognition for her work with ARC and has twice led divisions to be named ARC Division of the Year.


      -     Kelly "KP" Putnam (M.A. '97) began her career as a health and wellness coordinator for Mercy   Medical Center - North Iowa in Mason City. During her time there, she created Kalio, a nontraditional approach to worksite health promotion that focused on building relationships and resilience as a way to reduce stress, depression, burnout and fatigue among health care workers.


      -     Paul R. Smith (B.A. '60; M.A. '66; Ed.D. '93) served as a teacher, principal and superintendent in several Iowa school districts during his career. He was also an adjunct professor in educational  administration at UNI and a professor at Appalachian State University, North Carolina. Smith has received numerous awards for his work in education.


      -     Robert C. Stevens (B.A. '64; M.A. '68) served as a teacher, coach and principal in several school districts in Iowa and Illinois. He received numerous awards and recognition for his work in      education. Steven's award will be presented posthumously.

Inductees are chosen using the following criteria: demonstrated mastery of their profession; significant contributions to their profession; demonstrated scholarly activity through publications and presentations related to their profession; positions held in professional organizations; and completion of at least 10 years of service to their profession.

UNI's School of HPELS has one of the oldest HPELS programs in the U.S., tracing its roots back to 1896 with the establishment of the Department of Physical Culture. Coursework in physical education dates back to 1878, two years after the opening of what was then known as Iowa State Normal School.

For more information or to purchase tickets for the ceremony on Saturday, contact Carol Bean at 319-273-2605 or