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Mark Engelbrecht, Dean, College of Design, (515) 294-7427
Heather Sauer, Design communications, (515) 294-9289
Teddi Barron, News Service, (515) 294-4778


AMES, Iowa -- Author, philanthropist and Perry, Iowa, native Roberta Green Ahmanson is the recipient of the 2003 Christian Petersen Design Award presented by Iowa State University's College of Design.

Ahmanson, Orange County, Calif., will be honored during the college's annual welcome reception, Monday, Aug. 25, at Iowa State's Reiman Gardens. The reception is from 6 to 8 p.m., with the award presentation at 6:45 p.m.

The Christian Petersen Design Award was created in 1980. It is given annually to alumni, staff and friends of the university for contributions to the advancement of design. The award is named for the noted artist who was Iowa State's sculptor-in-residence from 1934 to 1955.

Ahmanson is being honored for her patronage of the arts in Iowa, and her "unusual ability to discover and bring together various talents to collaborate upon projects that outstrip the abilities of any individual contributor," said Mark Engelbrecht, dean of the College of Design.

"Through her work as a journalist, scholar, entrepreneur and patron, Roberta Ahmanson has touched many lives and enterprises, establishing compelling evidence of the benefits of the integration of the arts and sciences as a means of celebrating and examining our shared culture, from the nature of the prairie community to global issues of great import," Engelbrecht said.

Ahmanson was born in 1949, and graduated from Perry High School in 1967. She is a graduate of Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Mich., and holds a master's degree in English from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Ahmanson is chairman of Pattee Enterprises and trustee of the Fullhart-Carnegie Trust, two projects aimed at telling the story of the immigrant experience in the Midwest.

Since 1986, Ahmanson has worked with her husband, Howard Ahmanson. They renovated the Hotel Pattee, Perry, to tell the story of the lives of the immigrants who built the Midwest.

Another project, Hometown Perry, Iowa is a museum that collects and displays artifacts, documents, photographs and other materials pertaining to Perry's history and small town life.

A visual display setting the context for public education in the Midwest, a joint project between Hometown Perry, Iowa and Perry Community Schools, recently opened at Perry Community High School. In 2004, the Hometown Perry, Iowa museum will open the restored 1904 Carnegie Library Building in Perry as a special library of historical exhibits and a collection focusing on books that have been important to Americans, including the first 1,000 books accessed by the library.

Most recently, the Ahmansons brought together three world-renowned artists for a symposium on "Arts in Context," held Aug. 16 in Perry.

In January 2004, the Ahmansons will sponsor "Grant Wood's Main Street" at the Brunnier Art Museum at Iowa State.

The Ahmansons also sponsor international conferences for journalists, and youth awards for the World Food Prize.

A former religion reporter and editor for the Orange County Register and San Bernardino Sun, Ahmanson won several journalism awards. Her most recent book is "Islam at the Crossroads," which she co-wrote with Paul Marshall and Lela Gilbert in 2002.


Note to editors: A downloadable photo of Roberta Green Ahmanson is available at To schedule an interview with Ahmanson, contact Anne Zimmerman, The Zimmerman Company, (515) 243-4123.

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