Sara Epstein Moninger, Office of Strategic Communication, 319-384-0045
Spots that hit the spot
Spots that hit the spot
Spots that hit the spot
One University of Iowa graduate found the steps of Old Capitol to be the perfect spot for a marriage proposal. Another loved the Museum of Natural History so much that she has returned with multiple generations of her family to visit its whale skeleton and giant sloth. Another discovered a new favorite place while accompanying his high school-aged daughter on a recent campus visit.
With Homecoming approaching, Iowa Now solicited from readers their favorite spots on campus. It wasn’t a huge surprise that places commonly considered the heart of campus—Old Capitol, the Pentacrest, the river, and the Iowa Memorial Union—topped the list. And, with the UI campus so intertwined with Iowa City, it wasn’t shocking that many off-campus locales were mentioned—notably, places to eat and/or imbibe (though Oakland Cemetery’s storied black angel got a plug).
Old Capitol. Photo by Tom Jorgensen.
“I would ride my bike from Daum Hall to the Main Library through the Pentacrest for my nightly studies and stop at the steps of the Old Capitol to watch the sun set over the medical complex across the river. As I would sit on the steps, I would dream of someday attending classes on that hallowed side of the river. I was fortunate to realize my dreams. I will never forget the inspiration of those moments.”
—Thomas Jude Getta (B.S. ’77, M.D. ’80), Cedar Rapids, Iowa
“I proposed to my wife on the steps of the Old Capitol. It went perfectly and will always be special to me. It really is the center of the entire campus.”
—Ben Serrill (B.B.A. ’00), Wheeling, Ill.
“Every day I come across the Iowa Avenue bridge and look up at Old Cap—sometimes before sunrise, sometimes at night when I am returning to campus for an event. I have seen Old Cap in all four seasons: with flowers blooming on the lawn, covered with snow, socked in by the fog, under bright blue skies, and soaked with rain. That view is the University of Iowa to me, and it reminds me daily of how fortunate I am to be here.”
—Sarah Gardial, dean of the Tippie College of Business
“I would walk over to the Old Capitol while looking up at the golden dome and watch the flag wave. Then I would just sit on the Old Capitol steps and watch the people going by. I would imagine others who had walked those very same sidewalks and went on to do great things. Then I would look at each person and try to imagine what great thing they would go on to do.”
—Jim Chaney, (B.A. ’87), Bullhead City, Ariz.
“I just love the feel of the Pentacrest with all of its history and tradition. The Old Capitol has been so beautifully restored, and I love looking out the west windows as the sun is going down. It is simply spectacular.”
—Vince Nelson, CEO of the UI Alumni Association
The Iowa River splits campus—and provides serene study spots. Photo by Tom Jorgensen.
“Along the river right outside the English-Philosophy Building—a place to reflect and meet with people that changed your life, in ways subtle and profound.”
—Rob Andersen (B.S. ’72, J.D. ’76), Springfield, Va.
“Sitting on riverside benches in front of the student union on a late-spring, summer, or early-fall evening.”
—James Blades (B.G.S. ’73), Anaheim, Calif.
Long known as the Wheelroom, and later as the Hawkeye, this student hangout in the lower level of the Iowa Memorial Union has been closed since it was flooded in 2008. A renovation should be complete by June 2015. Photo by Tom Jorgensen.
Iowa Memorial Union
“My favorite place was in the River Room of the IMU—eating, cramming for exams, and daydreaming as I looked out on the river.”
—Adrian Wright (B.S. ’80), Chicago
“The IMU. I spent endless days in the Wheelroom. Listening to soapbox orators in the lower south lobby. Patchouli wafting through the air from handsome young men wearing Sgt. Pepper jackets and bell-bottoms. Staying up all night watching what are now called ‘indie’ movies in the Illinois Room. Going to political protest organizing meetings. Eating cardboard food. I don’t think I ever went bowling, though.”
—Ellen Heywood (B.A. ’76, M.A. ’80), Iowa City
“My favorite UI spot is the Main Lounge of the IMU where so many Iowa events have taken place, including Dance Marathon, the announcement of the 1956 Rose Bowl invitation, concerts before Hancher, and many great lectures. Also, the decor is unique.”
—Sandy Boyd, UI president emeritus and Rawlings-Miller Professor of Law
A bronze statue of Nile Kinnick, UI's 1939 Heisman Trophy winner, stands outside the south entrance to the stadium that bears his name. Photo by Tom Jorgensen.
“During my wife’s first trip to Iowa many years ago, she asked what she should see in Iowa City or on campus. I veered off the exit and said I was taking her to the best building on campus and drove straight to Kinnick! I pointed out the parking ramp my family tailgated in all through elementary school, and told her the story of the 1985 Iowa–Michigan game and how my grandmother was mad at the students tailgating near us who had a huge stereo and were dancing so much the ramp was shaking. I thought it was awesome, though. Then I got to tell her about ‘The Kick.’”
—Randy Fordice (B.A. ’96), Golden Valley, Minn.
“I love the entryway to Kinnick Stadium with the stoic statue of Nile Kinnick holding his helmet and his school books. He symbolizes our combined commitment to great athletic and academic achievement.”
—Gary Barta, UI director of athletics
Art Building West. Photo by Tom Jorgensen.
Art Building West
“To wander along the edge of the Hutchinson Quarry pond, looking back at the building on a sunny day, makes the building almost appear to dance. From its wood terrace, you can feel both the tension and harmony of the weathered Corten-Steel building against the limestone bluff and the peaceful pond. And peering beneath the floating library wing, you catch a glimpse of the original 1936 Art Building, and it is clear that architect Steven Holl’s ‘rusted’ finish allowed a thoroughly modern building to live in harmony with its red-brick predecessor. It was designed as a ‘work of art in which to create art,’ and one visit to the site proves that it really works.”
—Rod Lehnertz (M.B.A. ’02), UI director of planning, design, and construction
A student takes advantage of a computer station in the Main Library's new Learning Commons. Photo by Bill Adams.
Learning Commons, Main Library
“It’s been open only a short while, but the new Learning Commons in the Main Library is fast becoming a favorite spot for me. Students and faculty of every persuasion gravitate there, not only to study or conduct research, but to collaborate and socialize. It’s a great way to see a cross-section of our university community in one setting.”
—David McCartney, UI archivist
Cleary Walkway, outside the Pomerantz Center. Photo by Tom Jorgensen.
“Particularly in the fall, I like to stand or sit on Cleary Walkway between classes. I love to see the mostly new students streaming by on their way to and from classes.”
—Tom Rocklin, UI vice president for student life
A giant (stuffed) sloth named Rusty is a popular attraction at the UI Museum of Natural History in Macbride Hall. Photo by Tom Jorgensen.
“The Museum of Natural History in Macbride Hall, including Bird and Mammal Halls and the hallway exhibits. I visited them as an undergraduate after lectures in Macbride Auditorium, then many times with my two children and now with my six grandchildren. We love looking up at the whale skeleton and seeing extinct creatures like the dodo and sloth. Last summer, one hallway exhibit was used to identify shells my son, also a UI grad, brought back from Okinawa for my Colorado grandchildren. These are treasures on campus and free to all.”
—Kathleen Renquist (B.S. ’69), Iowa City
Field House. Photo by Tom Jorgensen.
“The old Iowa Field House. When it was built in 1927, it was one of the finest athletic/recreation facilities in the country. It has survived and functioned for the past 86 years and is still one of the finest athletic/recreation facilities in the country. It is a facility where you can see students of all races, cultures, ages, and nationalities playing and enjoying their time together in sports and recreation activities. It’s also a place where students can interact with faculty in a more informal setting. I love to watch the interactions that take place at the old Iowa Field House.”
—Harry Ostrander, retiring director of UI Recreational Services
View of the Iowa River looking north, as seen from Hillcrest Residence Hall. Photo by Tom Jorgensen.
Room with a view
“I lived in Hillcrest for two years, and my favorite place to watch campus was out the dorm window towards the library and the CRANDIC (Cedar Rapids & Iowa City) Railroad. From Hillcrest, it looked like a little model railroad going back and forth on those tracks across the river. Last year, the National Railway Historical Society hosted a trip from Cedar Rapids to Iowa City via the CRANDIC. The southern terminus of our trip was the exact same location that I had watched those many years ago, except this time I was on the train and gazing out the window up at Hillcrest. It brought tears to my eyes.”
—Gary Emenitove (student in the 1970s), Omaha
Campus Recreation and Wellness Center. Photo by Tom Jorgensen.
Campus Recreation and Wellness Center
“Having just done a campus visit to the UI with my high school senior daughter, I had a chance to revisit some favorite spots on and around campus, lament some that have gone the way of the dinosaurs, and add a new one: a truly world-class rec center. It might have even gotten me to exercise my body as much as my mind. Time will tell if my daughter will follow in the footsteps of her parents and become a Hawkeye, but we both left town very impressed.”
—John Higgins (B.B.A. ’85, M.A. ’87, M.B.A. ’87), Boulder, Colo.