Community officials meet to discuss state of ISU and Ames community


By Brandon Ghazali

Senior Vice President of University Services, Kate Gregory, spoke of the current state of Iowa State, the improvements that have been made, what the University needs to works towards and how this affects the Ames community. 

Brandon Ghazali

The 2017 State of the Community event was held on Friday in the Ames Community School District’s administration building, where nearly 100 people heard a panel of local leaders discuss the goals and accomplishments of the local community.

Among those on the panel was Iowa State’s Senior Vice President of University Services Kate Gregory, who spoke about ISU’s future as well as the university’s connection to the Ames community.

Addressing the audience, Gregory said, “I think 98 percent of you are in some way somehow aligned with Iowa State University and that connection is super important to our organization.”

Gregory went on to speak about the “big year” ahead for ISU and remarked on the publication of its strategic plan for the next five years.

“It was prepared in a way to reflect the passions and the drives and the focus and energy of the leadership and student body, faculty and staff as we go forward in the future,” she said.

The main points stressed by Gregory regarding the strategic plan included enhancing the student experience and education and raising the university’s “research profile.”

She also emphasized enhancing the quality of life of all Iowans through economic development and community service and enhancing the feelings of security and community that exist at Iowa State.

Gregory also spoke about the recent accomplishments of Iowa State.

She said that the completion of Geoffroy Hall, which opened last week, and the renovation of Marston Hall, which reopened in September, are examples of efforts by the university to enhance the student experience.

Gregory also touted ISU’s graduation and placement rates and spoke about the university’s largest ever fundraising goal of $1.1 billion by June 2020.

Gregory said that the “ambitious, but achievable” goal is a way to make up for less funding by the state.

Ames Mayor Ann Campbell, who was also on the panel, echoed Gregory’s statements about Iowa State’s connection to the Ames community.

“Let’s face it, we are a company town and Iowa State is the company,” Campbell said, garnering laughter from those in attendance.

With Donald Trump having been sworn in as president less than an hour before the event, Campbell spoke about the effects national and even state-level politics have on the local community.

“None of us operate in a vacuum,” she said. “What’s happening in Washington, what’s happening in Des Moines definitely does impact us in a variety of ways.”

Campbell said that it is important for those at the local level to not be “poisoned” by the type of rhetoric that was present during the 2016 election.

She urged the citizens to continue to look at “the ever-increasing efforts that we are making in the community and at Iowa State University in the areas of diversity and inclusiveness.”

The rest of the panel also spoke about what the community should know and look forward to.

Sarah Buck, Chair of the Mary Greeley Medical Center Board of Trustees, spoke about the importance of bettering mental health care.

Buck said that one problem with mental health care in the community and the nation is a lack of practitioners in the field.

She also said that officials from Mary Greeley have been working hard with individuals in these fields to find solutions to this and other problems.

Campbell added that the ISU police department now has a mental health worker under their employ.

Rick Sanders, Chair of the Story County Board of Supervisors, commented on the diverse views being represented by different and newly-elected members of the board.

“If you look around and think about all the different viewpoints represented in this room, I think each of you should feel secure that your viewpoint is also represented on the Board of Supervisors,” Sanders said.

This year’s State of the Community was co-sponsored by the Ames Chamber of Commerce and the League of Women Voters of Ames and Story County.