Mona Van Duyn graduated from Iowa State Teachers College (ISTC) in 1942 with three majors: English, Speech, and French. More importantly, she began to take herself seriously as a poet at ISTC. She often made the three-mile walk west of Cedar Falls to visit poet James Hearst. After college, and a Master's Degree from the University of Iowa, Van Duyn went on to teach at the University of Louisville, and Washington University in St. Louis. She has won every major U.S. poetry prize, including the National Book Award and the Pulitzer. UNI awarded her an Honorary Doctor of Literature Degree in 1991. In 1992, she was named the Poet Laureate Consultant to the Library of Congress.
Herbert V. Hake attended graduate school at the University of Iowa, where he earned his master's degree in scenic design in 1933. In the summer of 1936, he began his career at the Iowa State Teachers College (ISTC) with the Theater Department. From 1938 to 1942 he served as technical director, scenic designer, and instructor of speech courses. He was a pioneer in radio and television.
William T. Pettit grew up in Waterloo, and graduated from Iowa State Teachers College (ISTC) in 1953. In 1958, he receivd a master's degree in American Studies from the University of Minnesota. UNI granted Tom an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters in 1988. His journalism career began at ISTC and the College Eye student newspaper. He had a long and honored career at NBC, winning three Emmy Awards and the Peabody Award, among other honors.
Nancy J. Powell graduated from UNI in 1970 with a History major and taught Social Studies in Dayton, Iowa for six years. Since her career move to the U.S. Foreign Service, Powell has held several positions since 1977, including Director of International Intelligence for South Asia and Ambassador to Uganda and Nepal. She was named the first woman Ambassador to India in 2012.
Mary Ellen Solt acquired her love of poetry as a student at Iowa State Teachers College (ISTC). She earned a B.A. in English in 1941 and a M.A. from the University of Iowa in 1948. In 1955, she moved to Indiana University, where she taught poetry and comparative literature, and published critical studies. She began writing concrete poetry in the early 1960s. Concrete poetry is experimental poetry that combines the structure and themes of the words, as well as visual symbols. Her work has been featured in museums and television.