Distinguished Alumni Award


Anita L. Hockett Wildman 54GN

2011 Service Award

Anita L. Hockett Wildman, 54GN, is driven by the belief that everyone deserves access to quality health care, a passion that has marked her achievements both in her career and her retirement.

Hockett enrolled in the University of Iowa's nursing program and received her degree in 1954, then joining the UI Hospitals and Clinics staff as an orthopedic and operating room nurse. In 1964, she and her family moved to Saint Charles, Missouri, where she eventually accepted a position with the Saint Joseph Health Center.

Under Hockett's guidance as a nurse manager (pediatrics and orthopedics), the center's nursing department earned "Magnet" recognition for excellence in 1972. Always a woman ahead of her time, Hockett was among the first administrators to help teach her colleagues how to use computers in the clinical area. She also developed a community initiative called "Buckle Up," an innovative program that encouraged and increased seat belt usage for childrenā¬a relatively uncommon practice in the mid-1970s.

Hockett remained at Saint Joseph until her retirement in 1995, then immediately embarked on her notable volunteer career. In 1996, she helped establish the Saint Charles Volunteers in Medicine free clinic and has served as its clinical director ever since. As one of the primary fund-raisers, Hockett tirelessly pursues donations and volunteer staff to ensure the clinic's smooth operation. Today, Volunteers in Medicine treats more than 450 patients per month, providing an estimated $2 million in medical care on a shoestring budget. With her drive and enthusiasm, Hockett has inspired dozens of healthcare professionals to join the cause and provide care to uninsured people who cannot afford it.

Says Martin Bergmann, medical director of Volunteers in Medicine: "I have never had a more dedicated, intelligent, and hardworking co-worker than Anita. For her, this is not a hobby."

Indeed, anyone who has worked with her characterizes Hockett as a visionary with a natural ability to translate knowledge and creative ideas into action. Her dedication has attracted the attention of the White House, and she regularly lends her expertise to state and national legislators as they consider the role of free clinics in healthcare reform. Such efforts have helped establish a million-dollar Legal Defense Fund for physicians and dentists who see patients free of charge. With her eyes to the future, Hockett also sponsors a scholarship for UI students. The Anita and Franklin Hockett Nursing Scholarship supports a student interested in pursuing employment or volunteer work that serves the uninsured.

Among her many honors and awards, Hockett has been recognized by Missouri's Crider Center for Mental Health as one of the 2010 "Heroes in Health Care" in a three-county area. She has also received the 2009 Lifetime Distinguished Service Humanitarian Award from the Saint Charles Chamber of Commerce and a 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award presented at the Sixth Annual Dove Awards for Women of Achievement in Saint Charles County, Missouri. In 2003, she received the Greater St. Louis Woman of Achievement for Health Care Leadership Award.

For her heartfelt contributions and unwavering moral values, Anita Hockett is the embodiment of the proud tradition of the Iowa nurse and a shining example of public service.

Hockett is a life member of the UI Alumni Association and 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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L.A.-based artist Charles Ray to receive CLAS Alumni Fellow award, give talks this month. Unpainted sculpture by Charles Ray, 1997, fiberglass and paint, 60x78x171 inches. Photograph by Josh White and courtesy of the Matthew Marks Gallery. Charles Ray (75BFA) was walking through the UI physics and astronomy department one day when he came across an inspiring scene. Ray, an art student whose curiosity extended far beyond the studio, hoped to hitch a ride out to the observatory for some evening stargazing. Instead, he found a group of students constructing a satellite bound for a space mission. "It just blew my mind," recalls Ray. Just as mind-blowing were the sculptures Ray was creating across the river, years before he would establish himself as one of the world's most important artists. For one physics-defying piece, he fashioned a 2,000-pound slab of concrete atop a slender tree trunk. For another, he dropped a massive wrecking ball onto a crumpled steel plate, as if Sputnik had just crashed outside the old Art Building. Charles Ray "It was such a formative experience for me," the Los Angeles-based sculptor says of his time in Iowa City. "It did something to my soul and my brain. Even though I was young, the university and my mentors gave me a great deal of independence. My curiosity was endless." A professor emeritus at the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture, Ray returns to campus this month to speak and receive the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences' Alumni Fellow award. Rather than just waxing nostalgic about his time at Iowa, Ray has organized a three-day lecture series April 16-18 with two fellow art scholars. Iowa native Graham Harman, a philosophy professor at the Southern California Institute of Architecture, will open the series by discussing his theory of aesthetics known as object-oriented ontology. On the second day, Ray will speak about the nature of sculptural objects. And Richard Neer, an art historian at the University of Chicago, will bookend the series by lecturing on the question of provenance, or art's origin. Ray will also give a separate public lecture April 17 in Art Building West titled "My Soul is an Object." Recognized as one of the leading artists of his generation, Ray is known for his strange and enigmatic sculptures so loaded with nods to the past that they've been called "catnip for art historians." His 2014 Horse and Rider, for example, is a 10-ton solid stainless steel work in the tradition of a war memorial, but depicts the artist slouch-shouldered atop a weary nag. Ray is also famous for his wry re-imaginings of familiar objects, like the 47-foot-long replica of a red toy fire truck that he parked in front of New York's Whitney Museum of American Art for a 1993 biennial exhibition. Ray and his studio team often spend years working on a given piece, which can fetch as much as seven figures at auction. His sculptures can be found at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and the Art Institute of Chicago, among other major U.S. museums. Ray is currently preparing for a retrospective show in Paris next year?one of several upcoming international exhibitions. Isabel Barbuzza, UI associate professor of sculpture, describes Ray's work as beautiful and witty, while using scale in unexpected ways. Ray's 8-foot-tall Boy with Frog?commissioned for a prominent spot in Venice, Italy, then removed after some controversy (a version now stands outside the Getty Museum in Los Angeles)?is among Barbuzza's favorites. "His sculptures have a presence you can only see when you're in front of the work," she says. "They're very moving, and to me it's interesting what happens with scale?the viewer relates to the piece in a very profound way." Steve McGuire (83MA, 90PhD), director of the School of Art and Art History, says few others have contributed more to contemporary art than Ray. "This is a big deal for us to be able to celebrate his career," McGuire says of presenting Ray with the alumni fellow award. "I think it's pretty meaningful to him, and of course it's really meaningful for our school." A Chicago native, Ray arrived at Iowa as a gifted artist but hardly a model student. Ray's dyslexia made schoolwork a chore, and his parents had sent him to military school with the hopes of straightening out his academics. It was at the UI, however, where he finally found his language in the studio and, in turn, his footing in the classroom. "Through the syntax of sculpture, I could express myself intellectually for the first time," Ray says. "That gave me a kind of confidence." Ray studied under UI art school pillars like Wallace Tomasini, Julius Schmidt, and Hans Breder. But it was his bond with Roland Brenner?a South African professor and former pupil of sculptor Anthony Caro?that proved to be the most influential. Ray still remembers his first sculpture in Brenner's class, a steel configuration with long stems and discs at the end. Its bouquet-like resemblance didn't sit well with Brenner. "That showed me you made something, but didn't want to discover something," Ray recalls Brenner telling him. "Don't ever do that in my class again." The two would become lifelong friends. Iowa City is a different place today than the 1970s, particularly the transformation of the arts campus after the flood of 2008, Ray says. Still, his visits back to campus over the years always remind him of those crisp and clear Iowa nights at the observatory and gazing out the studio window while exploring the frontiers of sculpture. "It feels like you can see right through the galaxy when you look up," Ray says. Handheld bird by Charles Ray, 2006, painted steel, 2x4x3 inches The UI is home to six pieces by Ray, all found in the Pappajohn Biomedical Discovery Building and displayed through the university's Art on Campus program. Among them is Handheld bird, a tiny but ornate piece depicting a creature in an embryonic state. Lunchtime Lecture Series What: College of Liberal Arts and Sciences fellow Charles Ray and two guest art scholars?Graham Harman and Richard Neer?will deliver a series of public lectures this month at the UI. When, where: 12:20 p.m. April 16?18 at Art Building West, room 240, 141 N. Riverside Drive, Iowa City More information: events.uiowa.edu/26915 My Soul is an Object: Artist Talk with Charles Ray What: A public lecture by renowned sculptor and UI alumnus Charles Ray When, where: 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 17, at Art Building West, room 240, 141 N. Riverside Drive, Iowa City More about Ray: charlesraysculpture.com/ Support the UI School of Art and Art History

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