Five Upper Iowa University graduates will be specially honored at the annual Alumni Awards and Honor Class Brunch as part of the University’s “Tie Dye & Tailfeathers” Homecoming celebration October 3-5. Being recognized in 2019 for their accomplishments either professionally, as an emerging alumni or through service to the University, community or country are the following award recipients:
Service to University Award
Pam Whitmore – Class of 1965
Pam Whitmore is credited with dedicating most of her adult life to supporting and promoting UIU. As a student, she immersed herself in all things Peacock. A UIU cheerleader and Homecoming Queen, she was involved in numerous social and academic activities.
Whitmore taught in Wisconsin for five years, before embarking on a 30-year teaching career with the U.S. Department of Defense. Over these three decades she taught kindergarten and shared her Peacock pride with students and families in Puerto Rico, Korea, Iceland, Okinawa, and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Upon her retirement from the Department of Defense, she returned to UIU to teach elementary education coursework, and supervise field experience students and student teachers. In addition, she continued to support Campus and student activities. Wanting student teachers to have a cash gift to help offset living expenses, she established the Pam Whitmore Award for Excellence in Student Teaching Award. Today, the endowed scholarship provides a cash award to two UIU students each year.
After serving Fayette Campus, she continued to supervise student teachers for the UIU-Waterloo Center for four more years. Even after retiring from UIU in 2009, Whitmore has helped support numerous University boards and committees including service with the Alumni Association, Capital Campaign, Team Peacock, Homecoming, Honor and Awards, and Alumni Awards.
Whitmore graduated with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education at UIU. She and her husband, Fred Koch, reside in Buckingham, Iowa.
Professional Accomplishment Award
Bill De Lauro – Class of 1978
As an ROTC graduate of Upper Iowa University, Bill De Lauro was an Air Defense Artillery Officer with 250 enlisted men and officers under his command. He spent 14 years in the U.S. Army and last served as Major with the Air Defense Artillery for Operations, Planning and Training. De Lauro received numerous commendations and citations as a military officer, including the Army Service Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, Army Commendation, Meritorious Service medals, and Parachute Badge.
De Lauro moved seamlessly into the business world, becoming vice president and general manager at NSS Labs and Pivot Link. He was also a program director for IBM Global Operations and vice president of global operations at Coremetrics. De Lauro currently serves as vice president and global service leader for NetSuite Software Company, where he oversees offices in Austin, Texas; the Czech Republic, Australia, and soon in the Philippines.
De Lauro’s community involvement and volunteer work revolves around helping others grow in their technology careers. He is a Women in Technology executive volunteer and Maren (Military Active Veteran) volunteer.
Bill resides in Austin, Texas, with his wife Ann Marie. He has three children and four grandchildren.
Service to Community Award
Jason Zilk – Class of 1994
Jason Zilk started the Alpha Nu Omega Scholarship shortly after his graduation from UIU 25 years ago. The endowment scholarship continues to grow monetarily with the help of Alpha Nu Omega fraternity and Phi Beta Delta sorority members. This commitment to giving back extends far beyond UIU.
A resident of Des Moines, Iowa, Zilk was awarded Volunteer of the Year honors this past year at the 20th Annual Rodine Mickle Neighborhood Recognition Dinner. He currently serves on the Gateway Dance Theatre and King Irving Neighborhood Association boards, and chairs the Des Moines Equal Opportunity Advisory Committee. A National Advancement for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) member, he also volunteers for the Des Moines Civil and Human Rights Commission.
A 1990 graduate of East Waterloo (Iowa) High School, Zilk has served with the Des Moines Fire Department since graduating from the academy in 2000. In addition, he is a member of the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 4 Executive Board.
Zilk graduated Cum Laude from UIU with a bachelor’s degree in biology. He is the owner of Z Digital (video and DVD creation). Jason married his college sweetheart, Teresa. He has four children.
Service to Country Award
Sgt. Maj. Tito Reed – Class of 2013
Sgt. Maj. Tito Reed has provided guidance, leadership and mentorship to fellow U.S. Army personnel and their families for 25 years. After enlisting in April 1994, he completed basic training at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and was originally stationed in El Paso, Texas. From January 2007 to March 2008 he was deployed to Baghdad, Iraq, as part of the Big Red One 1st Infantry Division from Fort Riley, Kansas.
Reed’s awards and decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, NCO Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, and Overseas Service Ribbon. Additional decorations include the Army Recruiting Badge, Career Counselor Badge, Expert Marksmanship Badge, and Drivers Badge.
Reed graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology at UIU and currently serves with the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas. He also volunteers with the local Habitat for Humanity, Meals on Wheels, and as a youth basketball coach.
Tito and his wife, Edith, met over 19 years ago as recruiters in Missouri – she with the U.S. Navy and he with the Army. Now residing in San Antonio, Texas, the couple has three children and one grandchild.
Emerging Alumni Award
James Ebert – Class of 2011
James Ebert graduated from UIU with a bachelor’s degree in public administration with an emphasis in law enforcement. From the time of his commencement, the Lexington, Kentucky, native has utilized his degree as the foundation for success.
Ebert began his law enforcement career in 1996 when he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps Reserve as a military policeman. During his time with the Marines, he achieved two meritorious promotions and completed a combat tour in Iraq in 2003. In early 2004, Ebert transferred to the United States Navy Reserve, where he ultimately received a commission as a security officer. He later served as the commanding officer of three Reserve units supporting naval activities in Louisville, Kentucky; Charleston, South Carolina; and Atsugi, Japan. His military awards include a Joint Commendation Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, eight Navy Achievement Medals and numerous campaign awards including the Presidential Unit Commendation Award for his time in Iraq.
Ebert’s civilian law enforcement duties began in 2001 Nicholasville, Kentucky. A short time later he transferred to the Frankfort Police Department where he spent 16 years and was ultimately promoted to lieutenant. In October 2016, Ebert was appointed chief of police in Richmond, Kentucky. During his tenure, he has been credited with drastically increasing community engagement with the department as well as recruitment efforts. In 2019, the Richmond Police Department achieved their first accreditation for the Kentucky Association of Chiefs of Police. Ebert also serves on numerous boards on the state and local levels.
Ebert recently created the Ebert Leadership Foundation, designed to deliver scholarships to Kentuckians, veterans and law enforcement professionals. Initially self-funded, he hopes to provide two $500 scholarships this academic year. He and his wife, Shawnda, have one child.
The 2019 Alumni Awards and Honor Class Brunch is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, October 5, in the Student Center ballrooms. In addition to the alumni award recipients, UIU will recognize Heritage Society members and the classes of 1959, ’69, ’79, ’89, ’94 and ’99. The event is complimentary to all alumni and friends. To RSVP (required), visit uiu.edu/homecoming.
UIU’s Tie Dye and Tailfeathers Homecoming event schedule and additional RSVP or registration forms can be found at uiu.edu/homecoming.