Drake announces 2018 National Alumni Award winners
Ron Pearson, chairman emeritus of Hy-Vee Inc. and a 1962 Drake University graduate, will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award this year as part of the Drake’s 2018 National Alumni Awards.
Pearson is among six distinguished Drake alumni who will be recognized with awards for professional achievement and loyalty to their alma mater during an awards ceremony to be held April 26 at the Drake campus.
The other award recipients are:
- Young Alumni Loyalty: Tammi Blackstone, coordinator, Iowa Department of Human Rights’ Criminal Justice Information System.
- Young Alumni Achievement: Tiffany Tauscheck, chief strategy officer, Greater Des Moines Partnership.
- Community Service: Catherine Gayle Williams, retired deputy commissioner, Iowa Department of Human Services.
- Alumni Loyalty: Scott Johnson, retired regional bank president, Wells Fargo.
- Alumni Achievement: Douglas Bruce, owner and chairman, Osmundson Manufacturing Co., Perry.
“This year’s National Alumni Award winners have made transformative contributions to Drake and to their community,” said John Smith, Drake’s vice president of university advancement. “Their achievements are remarkable — in business, philanthropy, education, science, economic development, law and so many other important fields. They represent the best of what it is to be a member of the Drake community, and we both congratulate and thank them for their efforts.”
Pearson is chairman emeritus of Hy-Vee Inc. He joined Hy-Vee in 1960 as a part-time employee while attending Drake and accepted a full-time position upon graduation. He rose through the ranks, eventually being elected chief executive officer, chairman of the board, and president in 1983. He was named chairman emeritus in 2006, and in 2010 Hy-Vee made a gift to the Drake University athletic department to rename the basketball court Ron Pearson Court. During his career, Pearson served as chairman of the Food Marketing Institute, and he has chaired and served on numerous corporate and community boards.
Tammi Blackstone, a 2000 graduate, is a public servant with experience in criminal defense, juvenile justice and family law litigation. Since 2015, she has worked as coordinator of the Iowa Department of Human Rights’ Criminal Justice Information System. Previously she was an attorney in private practice for 10 years, arguing several cases before the Iowa Supreme Court and Iowa Court of Appeals. While at Drake, she was member and captain of the basketball team that made three trips to the NCAA tournament and advanced to the final four of the WNIT. She is a member of the Bulldog Club Board and the President’s Circle Board, and received Drake Athletics’ “Double D Award” in 2014.
Tiffany Tauscheck, 2001, is chief strategy officer at the Greater Des Moines Partnership. In that role, she helps lead strategic planning efforts, promotes regional economic development and fosters strategic community and corporate relationships. Since joining the Partnership in 2015, she served as team lead on the organization’s Maximizing Momentum 2022 investor campaign, which successfully secured a record increase in contributions and a record number of new investors. She is a long-term member of Drake’s National Alumni Board, a recent graduate of the Executive Education Center at Drake’s “Leading Others” program, and a member of the Drake Relays Continuous Improvement Planning Task Force. She serves the community through a number of national, regional, and state boards and committees.
Catherine Gayle Williams, 1961, is a 103-year-old trailblazer who improved the lives of children and families in Iowa through her career in state government. She retired as deputy commissioner of the Iowa Department of Human Services in 1981, and was the highest-ranking African-American in Iowa state government at the time. Her nearly 30-year career marked many firsts. She established the first foster parent group for children with developmental disabilities, provided the first statewide training program for foster parents, developed the first subsidized adoption program, and implemented Iowa’s first child abuse registry. She received the Drake University Distinguished Alumnae Award in 1981 and is a member of the Iowa Department of Human Rights’ Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame.
Scott Johnson, 1990, is an owner in Johnson Holding Co. He retired from Wells Fargo Bank in 2013 after spending 34 years with the company. As Wells Fargo’s Iowa-Illinois regional president, he was responsible for 92 retail banks in 45 markets. In 2007, he led a partnership between Wells Fargo Bank and the Drake College of Business and Public Administration to create Drake’s Career and Professional Development Center. He has served Drake University in a number of other ways, including as a member of the Drake University board of trustees and member of the College of Business and Public Administration’s National Advisory Council. Since 2015 he has provided mentorship and advice to students as the CBPA’s Executive in Residence. He currently serves on Youth Emergency Services & Shelter’s board of directors and previously served on the Greater Des Moines Partnership’s executive committee and the boards of the Principal Charity Classic and the United Way of Central Iowa.
Douglas Bruce, 1972 and 1989, is owner and chairman of Osmundson Mfg. Co. in Perry, a fourth-generation company for which he has worked since 1966. Osmundson is a leader in the tillage tool industry, employing about 100 people. Bruce serves Drake University as a member of the board of trustees, and is a member of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers’ Safety Compliance Board. He and his wife of 31 years, Mary Kay Bruce, made a leadership-level gift to STEM@Drake in support of the Science Connector Building, where they dedicated an outdoor astronomy and observation deck, a classroom and a collaboration space.