Six members of the University of Iowa community who served their country in the United States Army and United States Air Force were honored with the 2023 Hawkeye Distinguished Veterans Award.
Criteria for the award include a strong university connection, having served honorably, military accomplishment, and service to the community.
The 2023 Hawkeye Distinguished Veterans Award recipients are:
Katie Boesen Hanna, United States Army
Tess Judge-Ellis, United States Army
Larry Lockwood, United States Army
John Peppers, United States Army
Yareli Reeve-Mendoza, United States Air Force
Kevin Techau, United States Air Force, Iowa Air National Guard
The recipients will be recognized during a ceremony Thursday, Nov. 9. In addition, there will be a dedication of the Veteran’s Plaza at 2 p.m. Friday, Nov. 10, on the north side of the IMU. The plaza will feature seven granite monuments and the United States flag as a permanent tribute to UI faculty, staff, students, and alumni who served in the armed forces.
More about the 2023 Hawkeye Distinguished Veterans Award honorees:
Lieutenant Colonel Katie Boesen Hanna has served 32 years in the United States Army and received a variety of awards, including the 2021 Meritorious Service Medal. She is currently president of the Mighty Hawkeye Battalion Alumni Association Board of Directors, an organization for which she has served on for eight years. Hanna graduated from the University of Iowa with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology in 1994 and lives in Columbia, S.C., where she serves on the Youth Group Board of Directors at her church, Our Lady of Hope.
Captain Tess Judge-Ellis served for four years in the United States Army, where she was awarded the Army Commendation Medal. She now works as a clinical associate professor in the UI College of Nursing and volunteers at several Iowa City organizations, including Shelter House, Catholic Worker House, and Iowa City Free Medical Clinic. Judge-Ellis has a passion for caring for those who are in need and vulnerable to gaps in the healthcare system.
Specialist 4th Class Larry Lockwood served with the United State Army in the Vietnam War from 1969 and 1970. Lockwood suffered serious injuries when his unit was involved in a fierce battle, after which he was medically retired by the Army and received two Purple Hearts. He then served as the University of Iowa assistant provost and university registrar for 19 years. During his time at the university, Lockwood championed the university’s support of Veterans and helped create the Hawkeye Distinguished Veterans Awards.
Major General John Peppers, who is receiving the award posthumously, served in the United States Army for 31 years and was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, and Bronze Star Medal. Upon retirement, Peppers volunteered with many outreach programs across Audubon County and frequently gave speeches to Veterans’ groups at patriotic celebrations. Peppers graduated from the University of Iowa with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in 1959 and a Master of Arts in Finance in 1973.
Senior Airman Yareli Iraiz Reeve-Mendoza served for five years in the United States Air Force. For her service, she earned an Army Achievement Medal and two Iraq Campaign Medals. As a current doctoral candidate in the UI College of Education, Reeve-Mendoza studies higher education and student affairs. She is currently serving a national appointment in Washington, D.C., on the Department of Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee on Former Prisoners of War.
Colonel Kevin Techau served for seven years in the United States Air Force and 19 years in the Iowa Air National Guard, after which he was awarded the Legion of Merit for his service. He served as the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Iowa from 2014 to 2017 and received the Iowa Public Health Heroes Award from the UI College of Public Health for his work in opioid overdose death prevention in Iowa. He graduated from the UI with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Financial Economics in 1981 and a Juris Doctorate in 1984.