Distinguished Alumni Award


P. Sue Beckwith 80BS, 84MD

2010 Service Award

P. Sue Beckwith, 80BS, 84MD, is a gifted surgeon trained at the University of Iowa who has given back to her alma mater through selfless service and generosity.

Beckwith first graduated from the UI in 1980 with a bachelor's of science degree in psychology. She then began her medical training, completing her doctor of medicine degree at Iowa in 1984, followed by an internship and residency in general surgery at Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines and a fellowship in colon and rectal surgery at the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota.

Today, Beckwith runs a successful practice in Des Moines with the Iowa Clinic Department of Surgery. One of only a few colorectal surgeons in the area, she specializes in a rare surgical technique and is renowned for her compassion and kindness to patients.

Despite the intense demands of her career, the Boone native always finds time to support the UI. Most recently, she gave the inspiring lead pledge of $1 million that helped build the new P. Sue Beckwith, M.D., Boathouse for the Hawkeye rowing teams this past fall.

A former Iowa women's basketball letter winner, Beckwith became a competitive and avid rower later in life. After attending a UI rowing practice, she was moved by the strength and determination of the student-athletes and the dire need for a new boathouse for the nomadic team. The new $7.2 million boathouse, located in Terrell Mill Park opposite Mayflower Residence Hall, features a terrace, training area, locker room, meeting room, storage space, easy access to the Iowa River, and a UI College of Engineering-designed indoor rowing tank. It's also the first UI building designed to meet the standards for the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification.

Beckwith has also established three student scholarships—the Christine H.B. Grant Scholarship Fund, the P. Sue Beckwith M.D. Rowing Scholarship Fund, and the P. Sue Beckwith M.D. Women's Basketball Scholarship Fund—to make college more affordable for deserving students.

Since 1993, she has shared her professional expertise as a clinical associate for the UI Department of Surgery. Beckwith also serves as a founding member of the dean's advisory board and as a development subcommittee chair for the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, as a development committee and board of directors member for the UI Foundation, and as president of the Varsity Club board.

Beckwith also served for ten years on the executive council of the Iowa chapter of the American College of Surgeons, including one year as president, and she represented Iowa on the national organization's board of governors from 2004 to 2007. She held the position of vice president of the American Society of Colon & Rectal Surgeons from 2007 to 2008 and, since 2003, has been a senior associate examiner for the American Board of Colon & Rectal Surgery.

With her professional accomplishments and philanthropic drive, P. Sue Beckwith sets a truly inspirational example for UI students and alumni.

Beckwith is a member of the UI Foundation's Presidents Club.


About Distinguished Alumni Awards

Since 1963, the University of Iowa has annually recognized accomplished alumni and friends with Distinguished Alumni Awards. Awards are presented in seven categories: Achievement, Service, Hickerson Recognition, Faculty, Staff, Recent Graduate, and Friend of the University.


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Group looks to support students and alumni and to maintain a supportive voice for their issues at the University of Iowa.

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