Distinguished Alumni Award


Bob Franklin 98BA

2022 Hickerson Recognition Award

Bob Franklin is a savvy entrepreneur and devoted Hawkeye who has used his business acumen to create connections and inspire philanthropy in the University of Iowa community.

As a member owner and CEO of Tin Roof—a live-music joint based in Nashville, with 21 locations across 14 states—Franklin has donated space for alumni events and used fan engagement to give back to the university.

His Nashville Tin Roof has been home to the Nashville Iowa Club game watches since 2019, and he has hosted Hawkeye Huddle events for football, women's and men's basketball, and wrestling at many of his other locations.

"Bob is an outstanding businessman and a true Hawkeye," says Steven Miller (76BSPh), past president of the Nashville Iowa Club. "Through his philanthropy and partnership . . . he has made a tremendous impact on many Iowa alumni across the country."

Even when the pandemic was affecting his venues, Franklin continued investing in Iowa by participating in the university's Chat from the Old Cap, a virtual engagement program that helps alumni and friends stay connected to campus.

In addition, he opened Elray's Live & Dive, which provides high-quality live music in downtown Iowa City, in July 2020—and he also is known for inventing the "High Porch Picnic" drink, named in memory of Hayden Fry. The beverage comes in a Hawkeye-yellow cup, and a portion of every drink sale goes to Iowa, as do proceeds from the sale of Nashville Iowa Club T-shirts.

Through his hard work and tireless efforts on behalf of the university, this loyal Hawkeye supporter has helped change lives on campus and beyond.


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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Read stories of Hawkeyes making a difference in Iowa and around the world.

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