Jeanne Vogel, University Library, (515) 294-1442
Rick McCants, University Library, (515) 294-0431
Steve Sullivan, News Service, (515) 294-3720


AMES, Iowa -- Former Iowa State University President W. Robert Parks and his late wife, Ellen Sorge Parks, will be honored on Friday, April 14, when a portrait of them is unveiled.

The portrait will be unveiled at a ceremony in Iowa State's Parks Library, the university's main library named in honor of the Parks in 1984. The ceremony will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the upper rotunda on the second floor of the Parks Library. Parks and members of his family will attend. The new portrait will hang on the first floor of the library.

Iowa State University President Martin Jischke and Olivia Madison, dean of Library Services, are scheduled to speak. The public is invited.

Parks was the 11th president of Iowa State University, serving from 1965 to 1986. He is the longest-serving president in the university's history. During his tenure, the university experienced its most expansive period of growth: three new colleges -- business, design and education -- were created; 40 undergraduate degrees and 30 graduate majors were added to the curriculum; and enrollment increased by 90 percent.

Parks married Ellen Sorge in 1940. Ellen Sorge Parks had a strong interest in political science and history, and was the first woman to receive a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Wisconsin. She also was a strong supporter of the Iowa State library, describing it once as "the essence of the university." She died in May 1999.

At the portrait unveiling will be a display of the books that have been purchased by the university library with funds contributed in memory of Ellen Sorge Parks.

Artist Kurt Anderson, a native of Cedar Falls who now lives and works in St. Paul, Minn., painted the portrait. Anderson's work has been displayed in galleries across the country. His writing and artwork also have been widely published. Anderson is the author of "Realistic Oil Painting Techniques," which won the 1996 Minnesota Book Award. He also has received the Stacey Foundation Scholarship for artists and the New York Salmagundi Club Award for Artistic Excellence.

Anderson is the son of Peg and Karl Anderson, of Tucson, Ariz. Peg Anderson served on the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, from 1983 to 1987, during the final years of Parks' tenure as ISU president.


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