Seniors Get Down to Business in Des Moines

May 9, 2013

DES MOINES – The stars came out to play Monday night at the annual by-invitation-only event staged inside the prestigious Ruan Center in the heart of the state of Iowa’s capital city.

Who were the stars? The graduating seniors of the University of Iowa’s 24 intercollegiate athletics programs. More than 50 male and female soon-to-be former Hawkeyes gathered for three hours with more than 100 business and community leaders at the annual Polk County I-Club’s annual Senior Student-Athlete Recognition Banquet.

The special guests were joined by Governor Terry Branstad, many of Iowa’s head coaches including Fran McCaffery, Lisa Bluder, Tom Brands and Kirk Ferentz, and UI Director of Athletics Gary Barta, who took a moment during his remarks to acknowledge the 20 or so former UI student-athletes who were in attendance on behalf of their employer looking for the next great hire.

“It’s an activity that speaks directly to our commitment to the full student-athlete experience.”
Gary Barta
UI Director of Athletics

That is the purpose of this decades old event, an activity that was the brainchild of Des Moines businessman David Fisher – who serves as the host for each event – and former UI Athletics Director C.W. “Bump” Elliott and former UI football coach Hayden Fry. The idea was at its creation and still is today to pair Iowa’s business leaders with some of the state’s brightest young talents as they approach the close of one chapter in their life — their career as a student-athlete – and look to open the next.

“We might not be able to offer you a job tonight, but there is likely someone in the room tonight who can help open a door for you here in Iowa or in countless other locations across the country,” said Fisher in his opening remarks before he directed a comment at McCaffery.

“Fran, I know you are a very good basketball coach. When you made the decision to play in the Bahamas versus Alaska, it confirmed that you are pretty darn smart, too,” said Fisher.

As always, the evening begins with a meet-and-greet hour before dinner where each student-athlete is paired with a professional in their career interest. The event concludes with each student-athlete having an opportunity to introduce themselves to the group.

“It’s an activity that speaks directly to our commitment to the full student-athlete experience,” Barta said during his remarks, noting that the event has a long history of successfully opening doors to full-time employment for UI student-athletes.