Thielen offered praise, thanks

Jennifer Young and Tracy Deutmeyer

He has worked with three Iowa State presidents and 20 Government of the Student Body presidents and on Tuesday, the former vice president of student affairs was honored at an all-university retirement reception.

More than 500 people gathered in the Sun Room of the Memorial Union to honor Tom Thielen yesterday. Terry Mason, the director of the Student Counseling Center, was the first speaker to honor Thielen.

“You don’t miss your water unless you let the water run dry,” Mason said. “Tom Thielen has been the water of this university, an essential part of student affairs.”

Mason said Thielen was one of the main reasons he came to ISU. “Hands down, he has been my best boss ever,” he said. “We’ll miss his day-to-day companionship, and mostly his sense of humor.”

Adam Gold, GSB president, said losing Thielen is a “great loss” for students.

“I’ve met a lot of people here, but by far Dr. Thielen is the most caring, honest man I’ve met,” Gold said. “Thank you for everything you’ve done for us. You will be severely missed, Dr. Thielen.”

Margaret Pitiris, a former GSB president, also spoke to honor Thielen. “He was always there to empower us and take us through the good times and the bad,” Pitiris said.

Pitiris said Thielen made it possible for international students to have their first float in the Veishea parade and made many international students’ dream come true, she said.

“This is the end of an era,” Pitiris said. “With all the issues going on now, it’s a bad time for him to leave.”

Pitiris said Thielen was a link between the students and the administration.

When Thielen stepped up to the podium, he thanked everyone for attending the reception.

“I could not think of a better school in the country to serve as vice president of student affairs,” Thielen said.

He said he enjoyed his position at ISU because of the academic and personal qualities of the students and the social and cultural energy of the campus.

“One of the keys to success is to surround yourself with people,” he said.

Thielen said his colleagues made his job easier by their support and good work.

ISU President Martin Jischke said he is both sad and happy about Thielen’s departure.

“I am happy for him in that he is looking forward to the next phase of his life,” Jischke said.

Jischke also said, “He’s (Thielen) made it through 20 GSB p,residents and he’s still smiling.”

Thielen’s son, Matt Thielen, said his dad brought honesty and communication skills to the job and to the family. He said his dad used those same values with his kids so they could find their places in the world.

Thielen’s wife, Evie, said she was grateful that so many people took the time to come to the reception despite the weather conditions. She said she was especially grateful that their six children could make it to the reception.

“He felt overwhelmed,” she said.

Thielen said ISU is a great university. “I hope students can see it,” he said. “The last day was as good as the first day.”