National I-Club to Honor Outstanding Contributors and Volunteers

The National I-Club has dozens of local I-Club chapters that form a strong presence within communities to gather Hawks together, carry the message of the National I-Club, and serve as a united voice of support for Iowa athletics across the state and beyond. Each year the National I-Club presents a slate of awards to a special few of the many outstanding contributors and volunteers.

The prestigious Hawk of the Year award is presented annually to an individual or couple who has exhibited an exceptional level of loyalty, enthusiasm, and generosity to Iowa Athletics. This year, Dr. Brent (1982 B.S., 1987 M.D.) and Ellen Feller have been named Hawk of the Year award recipients. Brent has been a season ticket holder since his undergraduate days at Iowa. In addition to their support in the stands, the Fellers have made significant ongoing annual gifts to the I-Club, contributed to the Kinnick Stadium Campaign and the Carver-Hawkeye Arena Enhancement Fund. In recognition of their support, the new hospitality space in Carver-Hawkeye Arena was named the Feller Club. The Fellers also made gifts to the Iowa Scholarship Fund, establishing the Dr. Brent and Ellen Feller Men’s Basketball Scholarship, and they have made a commitment to the Football Legacy Campaign, the indoor practice facility and operations center initiative, with the naming of the football players lounge in recognition of their support.

The I-Club of the Year award is given to the local I-Club chapter that excelled in the conduct of its local events and showed an exceptional level of support for the Hawkeyes. This year’s award is presented to the Dubuque County I-Club. The Dubuque County I-Club Board, led by new president Bob Donovan, works year-round to promote the Hawkeyes and engage fans in the Dubuque area. Under the leadership of longtime outgoing president Ron Kirchhoff (1980 B.B.A.), the chapter has endowed one scholarship, the Dubuque County I-Club Athletic Scholarship. In addition, they also have supported the Carver-Hawkeye Arena renovation campaign, the James M. Hoak Family Golf Complex campaign, and more. They have been annual I-Club contributors for 20 years and have recently increased to the Kinnick Society level (which recognizes $10,000 or more in annual giving).

The Volunteer of the Year award is presented annually to the volunteer who has been a tireless supporter and promoter of the Hawkeyes in a variety of roles and activities. Tom Robinson (1974 B.B.A.), of Iowa City, Iowa, has had a lifelong passion for the Hawkeyes. He is an active member of the Johnson County I-Club board, serving as this year’s vice president, and also the National I-Club Board where he served as president in 2010-2011. In addition to annual I-Club support, Tom also has supported the Kinnick Stadium campaign, Carver-Hawkeye Arena renovation campaign, the James M. Hoak Family Golf Complex campaign, and more.

This year’s Special Commendation award is presented to the Southeast Iowa I-Club in recognition of efforts going above and beyond the scope of normal activities and events. The Southeast Iowa I-Club chapter—led by Kermit Knott, with the help of his wife, Lois, and several local volunteers—is spreading the black and gold throughout the Ottumwa area. The Southeast Iowa I-Club has grown its annual spring banquet through the years and has successfully changed locations this year to freshen up the event. The chapter has been contributing annually to the I-Club for close to 30 years, most recently at the Kinnick Society level ($10,000 or more annually). In addition, they also have supported the Carver-Hawkeye Arena renovation campaign, the James M. Hoak Family Golf Complex campaign, the P. Sue Beckwith Boathouse fund, and more.

“I-Club members help build enthusiasm for the black and gold while providing critical private support for Iowa Athletics,” said Matt Henderson, executive director of development for Intercollegiate Athletics. “And this year’s I-Club award recipients are perfect examples of this support. We can’t thank them enough for their gifts and the extra effort they put in each year in support of our Hawkeye student-athletes.”

I-Club members are Hawkeye fans who contribute $50 or more annually to UI intercollegiate athletics programs through the UI Foundation. More than 19,000 friends and alumni of the university are I-Club members, representing every county in Iowa and nearly all 50 states in the U.S.

The I-Club is administered through the University of Iowa Foundation, the preferred channel for private support to the university. Please visit jointheiclub.com for information about becoming a member of the I-Club and supporting Iowa Athletics. 

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