Distinguished Alumni Award

Marion L. Elmquist 72BA

2012 Service Award

Marion L. Elmquist, 72BA, knows all about selfless acts of service, and she has used her civic-minded expertise to guide the University of Iowa in creating new opportunities for students, faculty, alumni, and friends.

The retired business executive and former editor has put her leadership skills and business acumen to work as a charter member of the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) Dean's Advisory Board, a CLAS representative on the UI Alumni Association (UIAA) Board of Directors, and a member of the UIAA Executive Committee. Through these roles, Elmquist has been able give back to the alma mater that helped shape her rewarding professional life.

Upon earning a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communications at Iowa, Elmquist went on to complete a 1975 master's degree in journalism and a 1985 master's of business administration degree from Northwestern University.

These educational experiences prepared her to tackle executive editorial roles with Advertising Age and Modern Healthcare magazines—and also to excel in positions in advertising, marketing, and business. Elmquist also started her own marketing and advertising firm, Newton Associates, before moving on to play an instrumental role in growing IRIS/Interactive Horizons from start-up to success. She joined this Denver-based supplier and manufacturer of interactive audience-response systems in 1989 and became its chief operating officer in 1991, remaining in this role until her retirement in 2004.

Despite the demands of her busy professional life, Elmquist has still found time to serve as a steadfast civic volunteer and UI champion—giving many years of dependable and enthusiastic service to her various university boards and committees. Says Linda Maxson, dean of the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences: "Marion has been an insightful, generous, and dedicated volunteer for the University of Iowa and CLAS. Beyond these roles, she has been an invaluable partner in cultivating private support; she has a keen understanding of the crucial role that private gifts play in our mission."

Not only is Elmquist attuned to Iowa's needs, but she also is an enthusiastic advocate for Ski for Light—another cause close to her heart. This innovative, Minnesota-based nonprofit program helps visually or mobility-impaired adults enhance their independence and quality of life through cross-country skiing. Elmquist has served in numerous roles within Ski for Light and currently is its president, proving to be a driving force behind the organization's positive and rewarding impact on thousands of lives. In recognition for her outstanding work with this organization, the Norwegian ambassador to the United States honored her with a 2010 Ambassador's Award.

In their years of working alongside her, appreciative colleagues report that Elmquist always asks what she can do to help. It is this generosity of spirit that has earned Marion L. Elmquist a reputation as a trusted alumni advisor and as a charitable and visionary University of Iowa volunteer.

Elmquist is a member of the UI Alumni Association's Old Capitol Club and 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.

Related Content

Museums around the world have exhibited the work of the famed painter, sculptor, and printmaker. Now, his art is also featured on the campus where he began to find his voice.

The UI student-founded nonprofit has launched endeavors like the 10,000 Hours Show, Mission Creek Festival, and Quire.

With the start of a new year upon us, it's time to look back at your favorite University of Iowa stories from 2018. Here are Iowa Magazine's top 10 most-read articles of the year: The Nomadic Life (spring 2018) Hawkeye football favorite Paki O'Meara (10BA) finds ultimate freedom in backpacking around the world, taking photos that inspire a sense of wonder. PHOTO COURTESY PAKI O'MEARA Kinnick at 100 (summer 2018) This past summer marked two historically significant dates for Hawkeye fans: the 100th anniversary of the birth of Nile Kinnick (40BA), and the 75th anniversary of his tragic death. In memory of Iowa's favorite son, scholar, and Ironman, we look back on his life and legacy. Ahead of the Game (spring 2018) The Iowa football team becomes the first in the nation to equip the majority of its players with a state-of-the-art new helmet designed to improve player safety. PHOTO: MARK STASTNY Hollywood U (fall 2018) Alumni success in TV and film shines the spotlight on Iowa's? flourishing screenwriting program. ILLUSTRATION: FABIEN GILBERT / ARTISTIQUE INTERNATIONAL Mountain Roots (spring 2018) Nearly 80 years ago, an unlikely UI mountain-climbing club emerged from the cornfields of Iowa to become one of the most active in the world. Now the next generation of outdoorsmen continue in their Hawkeye family's footsteps. PHOTO COURTESY EBERT FAMILY The Secrets of Sleep (fall 2018) UI doctors and researchers work to shine light on the third of our lives we spend in the dark. Illustration: John Emigh Fry's Dream Team (fall 2018) FRYFest honors Hayden Fry's legendary 1983 coaching tree. PHOTO: UI ATHLETICS Going the Distance (spring 2018) UI-trained dentist Deb Carneol (92DDS) completes seven marathons on seven continents in seven days. PHOTO: MARK CONLON/WORLDMARATHONCHALLENGE.COM At 105, Our Oldest Hawkeye? (spring 2018) Catherine Shaw Shors (35BSC), who earned her business degree from Iowa more than eight decades ago, celebrated a milestone birthday in May. 1936 HAWKEYE YEARBOOK A Heroic Homecoming (spring 2018) Avengers: Infinity War director Joe Russo (92BA) receives a superhero's welcome at his alma mater. PHOTOS: Justin Torner

The mission of Senior College is to provide high-quality educational opportunities for seniors.

We use cookies to understand how you use our site and to improve your experience. By continuing to use our site, you accept our use of cookies in accordance with our Privacy Statement unless you have disabled them in your browser.