Famous Alumni

Many UNI alumni have gone on to make significant contributions in business, education, fine arts, government, and other fields. This display highlights several graduates who have achieved national recognition for their achievements. Included are Robert James Waller, Nancy Price, Terry Allen, Gary Kelley, Charles Grassley, and Robert Koob.

Because of technical and copyright limitations, some material included in the actual display could not be included in this Web version.

  • Robert James Waller, B.A. 1962, M.A. 1964

    Robert Waller is well-known for his best-selling novel The Bridges of Madison County, published in 1992. The novel was later made into a popular movie starring Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep. Waller graduated from UNI first with a B.A. in Business Education--Teaching in 1962 and again in 1964 with an M.A. in Education. He joined the UNI faculty in 1968 as Assistant Professor of Management and Economics and in 1977 became a full professor. In the picture below, Waller is teaching a management class in 1979.

    Robert Waller

    In 1980, Waller was named Dean of the School of Business, a position he held until 1986. In that year he returned to the classroom to teach for three years. He has been on leave from UNI since 1989.


    Waller played on UNI's basketball team when he was an undergraduate. He is pictured here in the second row up, fourth from the left. The school was then known as the Iowa State Teachers College, or ISTC.




  • Nancy Price, M.A. 1964

    Nancy Price is well-known for her book Sleeping with the Enemy. It was published in 1987 and became a hit movie when it was released in February 1991. Much of the novel is set in a city very much like Cedar Falls with a university very much like UNI. Price, an accomplished poet as well as a novelist, is the daughter of the fourth president of UNI, Malcolm P. Price, the man for whom Price Laboratory School was named.

    Price received her M.A. degree in Education from UNI in 1964. She taught in the Department of English Language and Literature for many years. She is currently on leave.

    Nancy Price is shown in this photograph with her father (President Price), mother, and brother during the 1940s.


    Nancy Price


  • Terry Allen, B.A. 1979

    Terry Allen was the head coach of the UNI football team from 1987-1996. Allen spent 22 years associated with this athletic program: as a student athlete from 1975 to 1979,

    Terry Allen football

    a graduate assistant, and then as Assistant Coach. When he was named Head Coach in February 1989, he was the youngest coach at the 1-AA level.



    Terry Allen

    Allen received his B.A. degree in Physical Education--Teaching in 1979.


  • Gary Kelley, B.A. 1968

    Gary Kelley is an award-winning illustrator. He has illustrated several children's books including Rip Van Winkle. In addition, for twelve years he has created a design used to publicize the College Hill Arts Festival. The design appears on posters, T-shirts, and other memorabilia associated with the event. Kelley graduated from UNI in 1968 with a B.A. in Art.

    Kelley is pictured below in front of poster that he designed for Theatre UNI for its 1981-1982 season.


    Gary Kelley


  • Charles Grassley, B.A. 1955, M.A. 1956


    Charles Grassley

    Charles Grassley has been a United States senator from Iowa since the 1980 election. He also served earlier as the representative of the Iowa Third District to the United States House of Representatives and as a member of the Iowa General Assembly.


    Grassley graduated from UNI first in 1955 with a B.A. in Social Sciences/Government--Teaching and again in 1956 with an M.A. in Education. The photo below shows Grassley as a student hard at work.


    Charles Grassley

    Grassley was an excellent student; he received the Purple and Old Gold Award in his senior year. The photo below shows the Social Sciences honorary society Pi Gamma Mu in 1955. Grassley is in the fourth row, third from the left. In the third row, second from the left is William C. Lang and third from the left is Leland Sage. Grassley considered these professors to be his mentors. Dr. Lang is the man for whom Lang Hall is named.


    In 1986 Grassley gave to the Rod Library Special Collections the first installment of the papers documenting his political career. The brochure pictured below, as well as a Special Collections Web finding aid, describes those papers.

    Charles Grassley


  • Robert D. Koob, B.A. 1962


    Robert Koob

    Robert Koob was the eighth president of UNI, serving from 1995-2006. He participated in a formal presidential investiture ceremony in the UNI-Dome on April 26, 1996.


    Koob graduated from UNI in 1962; the picture below appears in the 1962 Old Gold.




    For more information on Koob, you may wish to check the portion of the Special Collections Web devoted to UNI Presidents.


    Exhibit prepared by Susan Witthoft; Web version prepared by Gerald L. Peterson; notes to text added by Library Associate Dave Hoing, October 2017.
    Special Collections and University Archives
    September, October 1996