By Katelyn Weisbrod
First Concert at Kinnick Stadium
More than 45,000 people filed into Kinnick Stadium on Aug. 27, 2016, for Back Porch Revival, the first concert ever to be held in the stadium. Thomas Rhett, Blake Shelton, Big & Rich, Tucker Beathard (the brother of Hawkeye QB C.J. Beathard), and others performed at the concert organized in part by two former University of Iowa students who are now celebrities: retired NFL player Dallas Clark and actor Ashton Kutcher. The concert raised money for The Native Fund, a charity led by Clark and Kutcher to help with natural-disaster relief in Iowa.
Chicago Cubs win the World Series
The Chicago Cubs won the World Series on Nov. 3, 2016, ending a 108-year losing streak for the team. Iowa City saw enormous celebrations; many UI students are from the Chicago area. The Pedestrian Mall lit up that Thursday night as crowds flooded outside the bars chanting “Go, Cubs, Go,” together.
Trump wins the presidency
Donald Trump stunned the country on Nov. 8, 2016, when he beat Hillary Clinton to become the 45th president of the United States. Trump took 93 of Iowa’s 99 counties, Johnson County being one of the few that favored Clinton. The day after Trump won, protesters took to the Pentacrest, resentful of his campaign rhetoric against minority groups and immigrants.
Iowa beats Michigan in football
The Iowa Hawkeye football team beat No. 2 Michigan, 14-13, after a last-second field goal by true freshman kicker Keith Duncan on Nov. 13, 2016. Michigan was the 21-point favorite, so when the Hawks came out victorious, fans celebrated with a rare storming of the field in Kinnick Stadium.
Gov. Terry Branstad becomes the U.S. ambassador to China
President Trump announced on Dec. 8 his appointment of Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad as U.S. ambassador to China in Des Moines during his Thank You Tour. Branstad has had connections with China since 1985, when he began a partnership with the current Chinese President Xi Jinping. Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds will assume Branstad’s position when he steps down.
Dance Marathon breaks a record
Dance Marathon 23 raised more than $2.57 million, announced at the end of the 24-hour Big Event on Feb. 4. Despite not meeting their original goal of $2.75 million, dancers were still proud of their efforts to raise money for pediatric-cancer patients at the UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital and ultimately set a record.
UI quits coal
UI President Bruce Harreld announced on Feb. 20 that the UI would be completely independent of coal as a source of energy by 2025. This bold step toward sustainability will be achieved by both reducing energy consumption on campus and introducing more alternatives in the UI’s energy portfolio. The university will continue to use natural gas as an energy source and will replace coal with renewable sources, including biofuels.
UI cuts scholarships, then reinstates them
Five UI scholarships were eliminated and later reinstated for current students and the incoming class of 2021 in February. When more than 2,000 students were notified on Feb. 23 that their scholarships would be eliminated in the fall, many of them joined to file a class-action lawsuit against the UI. However, the lawsuit became unnecessary on March 1 when the university notified students that their scholarships would be reinstated. These scholarships will be discontinued after the class of 2021.
Stead Family Children’s Hospital opens
The Stead Family Children’s Hospital opened on Feb. 25 after incomplete construction prevented it from opening as scheduled on Dec. 10, 2016. The $360 million hospital is 14 stories tall and overlooks Kinnick Stadium.
Greek life gets alcohol ban
UI greek leaders issued a temporary ban on alcohol at all greek events after UI freshman Kamil Jackowski died at Sigma Chi’s formal at Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri, on April 30. Leaders also placed a ban on all out-of-town formals until further notice. The leaders acknowledged in a statement that there is a “pervasive and dangerous alcohol culture that exists within” the greek community.
Jane Meyer wins discrimination case
A jury awarded former UI Senior Associate Athletics Director Jane Meyer $1.43 million on May 4 in a discrimination lawsuit against the university. Meyer contended that she was discriminated against for her gender and sexual orientation when she was removed from the Athletics Department after speaking out against the firing of her partner, former field-hockey coach Tracey Griesbaum. The day after Meyer won, the UI announced a plan to hire an independent firm to investigate employment practices based on the Iowa Civil Rights Act, beginning with the Athletics Department.
Looking ahead — tuition may increase
The state Board of Regents met on May 8 to discuss a potential tuition increase. The proposed increase would be a rate of 5 percent for resident undergraduates, or $358. Nonresident undergraduate tuition would increase by 6.4 percent, or $1,764. Rates for graduate students would vary. The UI is facing a roughly $15.5 million reduction in appropriations for fiscal 2017 and 2018, leading to the need to raise tuition. The regents will revisit the discussion at their June 6-8 meeting at the University of Northern Iowa.