The Fourth in the Series Uncovering Hawkeye History: The Next Chapter: Blazing New Trails (1998-2047)

The final installment of the series of Uncovering Hawkeye History, which is The Next Chapter: Blazing New Trails (1998-2047) was recorded and is now posted on the University of Iowa Center for Advancement website. You can view it below here:

Video of UI Breaking Barriers: Arts, Athletics, and Medicine (1898-1947)

Here is The University of Iowa video of the presentations from the February 8, 2022 Uncovering Hawkeye History series (2nd in the series), celebrating the 175th anniversary of the University of Iowa beginnings in 1847. The audio is fine on this one.

Thoughts on “The Next Chapter: Blazing New Trails (1998-2047)

The final presentation of the series night before last, Uncovering Hawkeye History in honor of the 175th anniversary of the University of Iowa was a fascinating review of the changes in architecture of the campus, how local and national politics influenced the university and vice versa, as well as the expansion of the role of philanthropy to support its mission over the years. A YouTube video of the recorded presentation will be posted here at a later date.

There was not enough time to do much more than briefly mention the new trails being blazed by three leading programs. However, you can read more about them in Iowa Magazine.

Craig Kletzing is the principal investigator for NASA’s TRACERS mission. He’s a UI physics and astronomy professor who secured the largest research grant in the history of The University of Iowa in 2019 to study the interactions of the magnetic fields of the sun and the Earth.

Christopher Merrill is the director of the International Writing Program and professor of English. Merrill has made cultural diplomacy mission to over 50 countries. He once served on the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO and the National Council on the Humanities.

Dr. Patricia Winokur, the executive dean of the Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, physician and professor of internal medicine—infectious diseases, and leader of Iowa’s Covid-19 vaccine clinical trials. Dr. Winokur is a nationally recognized leader in the field of infectious diseases. She created the UI Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Unit, one of the top vaccine research programs in the country and one of only nine nationwide funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

At the end of the presentations, university archivist David McCartney announced that he will be retiring as soon as next week. He wished everyone well and the presenters I’m sure all wish him well.

He has held the archivist position since 2001. He has led a very interesting and varied life. A story posted in The Academic Archivist on November 12, 2020 by Katie Nash, MLIS, CA reveals he got his undergraduate degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He received his MA in history and MLS (master’s degree in library and information studies) in 1998, both from the University of Maryland at College Park.

He also was a reporter for radio stations in Alaska and the Midwest. I’ll bet that was interesting. He was between warehouse jobs in the summer of 1992 when he drove around the Midwest, researching Carrie Chapman Catt, the woman suffrage leader and founder of the League of Women Voters. It turns out Catt grew up near David’s hometown. That work led to publishing a collection of Catt’s papers in a catalog.

David has done a great many things. He believes that his profession’s worth and legitimacy are being challenged, and that the value of the work he and others do is often unrecognized. He firmly believes that institutions and corporations have to understand their responsibility to maintain a strong archives and records management program. He’s very motivated to advocate for his profession.

I probably would not have looked for any further information about David McCartney had he not announced his retirement at the close of the final presentation of this series. He made his point simply and humbly, saying the challenges of keeping up with the technology demands of his job were part of the reason for his retirement.

He even said he hoped he would see the presenters in the Ped Mall (officially named City Plaza), a pedestrian mall in downtown Iowa City near the UI campus, built in 1979 as the centerpiece of the city’s urban renewal project. It’s a popular gathering place for students and locals. There are concerts, jazz festivals, and art shows.

As a relatively recent retiree myself in June 2020 (19 months or 86 weeks or 606 days ago but who’s counting?), I can relate to David on this issue. Many of those I worked with were sad to see me go. I think many will be sad to see David go.

Update on “Endless Innovation: An R1 Research Institution (1948-1997)”

Last night’s webinar on Uncovering Hawkeye History, “Endless Innovation: An R1 Research Institution (1948-1997) was fascinating for us.

Dr. Bruce Gantz kicked off the first presentation about his work in cochlear implant surgery. Business picked up for him as far as these procedures in the last year and a half partly because of the pandemic. We were stunned to learn that the demand was driven because so many people were wearing masks—which prevented the deaf from lip-reading.

Kevin Washburn was next up and highlighted the great performance of the UI Law school’s stunning list of 4 student-led law review journals. They rank extremely high in the country, up there in the company of Yale and Harvard. I’m off on a tangent here, but Washburn’s status as a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation (which is based in Oklahoma; there are no Chickasaw tribal members in Iowa despite there being a Chickasaw County, by the way) reminded me of a guy who was a year behind my class in medical school. His name is Orrenzo Snyder and he’s a urologist in Oklahoma. Orrenzo and several other fellow students founded the American Indian Student Association (AISA) in 1989, which was later renamed the Native American Student Association (NASA). The University of Iowa Pow Wow was established in 1990. The 26th Annual Pow Wow is scheduled for April 2, 2022. Give it up for Orrenzo!

Anyway, Washburn mentioned one of the many stars in the UI Boyd Law school: Willard (Sandy) Boyd (for whom the college is named) who became one of the youngest University of Iowa presidents to take office and did so during a rowdy time of student unrest—in 1969. He raised a lot of money for the institution and was an advocate of human rights. He was appointed first chair of the University of Iowa’s Human Rights Committee.

You can also discover other facts, such as in 1839 the Iowa Territorial Supreme Court ruled that Ralph, a slave brought into free territory, must be released from slavery, in 1846; Iowa was admitted to the Union as a “Free State;” and in 1868 In Clark v. Board of Directors the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that the Iowa Constitution guarantees the right to public education to all citizens. The plaintiff parent was Alexander Clark, Sr., who later graduated from the Iowa Law School (possibly the first African American to do so at UI). Justice Chester C. Cole wrote the opinion for the case.

University Archivist David McCartney also mentioned 1969 as a noteworthy year because that was the year of the Apollo 11 moon landing. There’s an Iowa connection to the Apollo 11 mission and that is State University of Iowa professor James A. van Allen in the Department of Physics, who warned of the danger to astronauts of the radiation belts encircling the earth (these were later renamed the Van Allen belts).

And I would add that African American women helped put astronauts on the moon in 1969.

Ed Wasserman expounded on his scientific work with pigeons and humans, comparing them on how they use their brains to solve problems. Are we better than pigeons? Maybe. Wasserman also gave many examples of how trial and error led to some surprising advances and innovations: the Ponseti method for treating clubfoot, the butterfly stroke in swimming, and Field of Dreams. His point is that the 3 Cs: consequence, context, and coincidence, play the larger role in many great achievements.

In other words, just keep pecking away at it.

Our Impressions of University of Iowa Free Webinar Yesterday: The Stories That Define Us”

We were overall delighted with yesterday’s presentation, University of Iowa Free Webinar: “Breaking Barriers: Arts, Athletics, and Medicine (1898-1947).” It’s one in a series of 4 virtual seminars with two more scheduled this month, which you can register for at this link.

February 15: Endless Innovation: An R1 Research Institution (1948–1997)

February 22: The Next Chapter: Blazing New Trails (1998–2047)

The moderator was university archivist and storyteller, David McCartney.

Presenters include:

Yesterday’s presentation was recorded and will be uploaded to The University of Iowa Center for Advancement YouTube site at a later date.

McCartney did an excellent job as moderator, although got stumped from a question from a viewer about who was the first African American faculty member in the College of Medicine. He’s still working on tracking that down. It wasn’t me. I’m not that old and I am not risen from the dead, as far as I can tell; but to be absolutely clear, you should ask my wife, Sena. I was able to google who was the first African American graduate of the University of Iowa law school: Alexander Clark, Jr. McCartney thinks he might have been the first University of Iowa alumnus, although he couldn’t confirm that.

On the other hand, I could have been the first African American consulting psychiatrist (maybe the only African American psychiatrist ever) in the Department of Psychiatry at UIHC—but I can’t confirm that. Maybe McCartney could work on that, too.

 There are a few words about me in the department’s own history book, “Psychiatry at Iowa: The Shaping of a Discipline: A History of Service, Science, and Education by James Bass: Chapter 5, The New Path of George Winokur, 1971-1990:

“If in Iowa’s Department of Psychiatry there is an essential example of the consultation-liaison psychiatrist, it would be Dr. James Amos. A true in-the-trenches clinician and teacher, Amos’s potential was first spotted by George Winokur and then cultivated by Winokur’s successor, Bob Robinson. Robinson initially sought a research gene in Amos, but, as Amos would be the first to state, clinical work—not research—would be Amos’s true calling. With Russell Noyes, before Noyes’ retirement in 2002, Amos ran the UIHC psychiatry consultation service and then continued on, heroically serving an 811-bed hospital. In 2010 he would edit a book with Robinson entitled Psychosomatic Medicine: An Introduction to Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry.” (Bass, J. (2019). Psychiatry at Iowa: A History of Service, Science, and Education. Iowa City, Iowa, The University of Iowa Department of Psychiatry).”

And in Chapter 6 (Robert G. Robinson and the Widening of Basic Science, 1990-2011), Bass mentions my name in the context of being one of the first clinical track faculty (as distinguished from research track) in the department. In some ways, breaking ground as a clinical track faculty was probably harder than being the only African American faculty member in the department.

I had questions for Lan Samantha Chang and for Dr. Patricia Winokur (who co-staffed the UIHC Medical-Psychiatry Unit with me more years ago than I want to count.

I asked Dr. Chang what role did James Alan McPherson play in the Iowa Writers Workshop. She was finishing her presentation and had not mentioned him, so I thought I’d better bring him up. She had very warm memories of him being her teacher, the first African American to win a Pulitzer Prize for fiction, and a long-time faculty member at the Workshop.

She didn’t mention whether McPherson had ever been a director of the Workshop, though she went through the list of directors from 1897 to when she assumed leadership in 2006. You can read this on the Workshop’s History web page. I have so far read two sources (with Wikipedia repeating the Ploughshares article item) on the web indicating McPherson had been acting director between 2005-2007 after the death of Frank Conroy. One source for this was on Black Past published in 2016 shortly after his death, and the other was a Ploughshares article published in 2008. I sent an email request for clarification to the organizers of the zoom webinar to pass along to Lan Samantha Chang.

I asked Dr. Winokur about George Winokur’s contribution to the science of psychiatric medicine. Dr. George Winokur was her father and he was the Chair of the UIHC Psychiatry Department while I was there. She mentioned his focus on research in schizophrenia and other accomplishments. I’ll quote the last paragraph from Bass’s history on the George Winokur era:

“Winokur, in terms of research, was a prototype of the new empirical psychiatrist. Though his own research was primarily in the clinical realm, he was guided by the new neurobiological paradigm (perhaps in an overbalanced way) that was solidifying psychiatry with comparative quickness. New techniques in imaging and revelations of the possibilities in genetic study and neuropsychopharmacology lay ahead. George Winokur had helped the University of Iowa’s Department of Psychiatry—and American psychiatry as a whole—turn a corner away from subjectivity and irregularity of Freudian-based therapies. And once that corner had been turned there was no going back.”

George Winokur was the department chair at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics from 1971 to 1990 and had a unique and memorable style. George also had a rough sense of humor. He had a rolling, gravelly laugh. He had strict guidelines for how residents should behave, only slightly tongue-in-cheek. They were written in the form of 10 commandments. Who knows, maybe there are stone tablets somewhere:

Winokur’s 10 Commandments

  1. Thou shalt not sleep with any UI Psychiatry Hospital patient unless it be thy spouse.
  2. Thou shalt not accept recompense for patient care in this center outside thy salary.
  3. Thou shalt be on time for conferences and meetings.
  4. Thou shalt act toward the staff attending with courtesy.
  5. Thou shalt write progress notes even if no progress has been made.
  6. Thou shalt be prompt and on time with thy letters, admissions and discharge notes.
  7. Thou shalt not moonlight without permission under threat of excommunication.
  8. Data is thy God. No graven images will be accepted in its place.
  9. Thou shalt speak thy mind.
  10. Thou shalt comport thyself with modesty, not omniscience.

Quinn Early has a lot of energy and puts it to good use. His documentary of the sacrifices of African American sports pioneers, including “On the Shoulders of Giants” (Frank Kinney Holbrook) is impressive.

There was a good discussion of the importance of the book “Invisible Hawkeyes: African Americans at the University of Iowa during the Long Civil Rights Era”, edited by former UI faculty, Lena and Michael Hill.

Sena and I thought yesterday’s presentation was excellent. We plan to attend the two upcoming webinars as well. We encourage others to join.

University of Iowa Free Webinar Tonight: The Stories That Define Us”

We just found out that the University of Iowa is presenting a free webinar this evening from 4:30—5:30 PM. It’s a zoom meeting and the title is “Breaking Barriers: Arts, Athletics, and Medicine (1898-1947)”. It’s part of a 4-part series that started February 1, 2022, “Uncovering Hawkeye History: The Stories That Define Us.”

Presenters include:

  • Lan Samantha Chang (93MFA), Iowa Writers’ Workshop director and acclaimed author
  • Quinn Early (87BA), Hawkeye football star and film producer
  • Patricia Winokur (88R, 91F), professor of internal medicine–infectious diseases

We discovered this presentation after a long, spirited conversation about race relations generally this morning over breakfast. Authors mentioned included Ralph Ellison, author of “Invisible Man” and James Alan McPherson, long time faculty and director of the Iowa Writers Workshop, author of first African American to win a Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction with his collection “Elbow Room.”

There were several cross threads in our conversation. One of them was my memory of a visiting professor (whose name, however, I can’t remember) who gave a presentation about being Black in America at Huston-Tillotson College (now Huston-Tillotson University; one of the HBCUs in America) in Austin, Texas. He said something I’ll never forget. I mentioned this in a book review published over 20 years ago in the American Journal of Psychiatry:

A guest lecturer (who, as I recall, had also written a book about being black in America) told us that the white man would never allow a black man to be a man in America. He had only three choices: he could be a clown, an athlete, or a noble savage. These corresponded to the prominent and often stereotyped roles that blacks typically held in entertainment, sports, and black churches. It begged the question of what on earth could we hope to accomplish— JAMES J. AMOS, M.D., Iowa City, Iowa (2000). “Being Black in America Today: A Multiperspective Review of the Problem.” American Journal of Psychiatry 157(5): 845-846.

This is related to another memory, that of the quasi-character Rinehart in Ellison’s “Invisible Man.” The name refers to the multiple perspectives from which a black person (or any person, really) can look himself. You can look at the word itself as compound, containing two words, “rind” and “heart.” Understood as metaphors, you can readily see how it could apply to anyone. We can have a surface personality socially, and we can have an inner core, a heart that is hidden and which can truly define who we are. We’re always changing, inside and out, backwards and forwards.

On the subject of hidden stories, I am also reminded of the book “Invisible Hawkeyes: African Americans at the University of Iowa during the Long Civil Rights Era”, edited by former UI faculty, Lena and Michael Hill. The book describes the mixed reactions of African Americans to the interracial climate in Iowa City and at the University of Iowa during that era. Not all felt welcome, although James Alan McPherson did. Indeed, the Hills often highlight the fluidity of the interactions, which makes me think of Rinehart.

David McCartney, the university archivist, is joining the presentation. He led the drive to rename Johnson County in Iowa for Dr. Lulu Merle Johnson, an accomplished University of Iowa alumna, by putting up an on-line petition which gathered 1,000 signatures. We’re looking forward to this evening’s presentation.

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