Category Archives: Campus Announcements

Book signing event with Gary Porter author of ‘Griff: My Life as Drake’s Top Dog’

Gary Porter, Drake alumnus and biographer of Griff: My Life as Drake’s Top Dog, will host a book signing event, Friday, Sept. 24, at 4 p.m. at Drake University’s Helmick Commons. The campus community and public are invited to attend. 

The event will include a meet and greet with Porter and Griff I, who served as Drake University’s first official live mascot from 2015–2020. Porter will also speak at the event, sharing how the book came to life and the joys of telling this lovable bulldog’s story. 

In the biography, My Life as Drake’s Top Dog, Griff tells of his time as Drake University’s live mascot—from cheering on the sports teams to collecting donations for his pet food drive, working as a therapy dog, and even campaigning for President.  

Books will be available for purchase at the event. 

Alumni Relations welcomes new employees

The Office of Alumni Relations is pleased to welcome Courtney Conrad to the role of assistant director of regional engagement and Greg Lin to the role of assistant director of volunteer engagement. Courtney and Greg will begin their new positions Monday, Sept. 20.

Please take a moment to learn more about Courtney and Greg below and join me in warmly welcoming them to Drake.

Courtney Conrad
Courtney recently relocated to Des Moines from Colorado where she served as the Coordinator of Transition Programs at Colorado State University. Courtney brings with her a wealth of experience in program development and execution. While at CSU Courtney took a significant program idea that had been a concept for several years, refined it, and carried it through to execution.

Her references shared the following comments:

“Her ability to connect with others and serve as a mentor is unbeatable. She can engage with anyone, any age, any background. She asks the right questions (valued skill I admired in her) and seems to be the staff member that many of my teammates miss the most. She has an ability to leave that mark/impact on others through her first conversation.”

“Working with Courtney has been one of the greatest gifts of my professional career in Higher Ed.  She is hands down incredible.”

In her role, Courtney will be tasked with managing all aspects of our regional alumni outreach and engagement including volunteer management, event programming, and communication. Courtney will serve as the staff liaison to our eleven regional advisory boards (RABs) across the country. Additionally, she will also be responsible for developing and executing strategic virtual engagement programs including the Back to Class series.

Greg Lin
Greg has worked at Drake for the past five years serving as an Assessment Coordinator in Institutional Research. In his time at Drake Greg has built countless personal and professional relationships across campus. His experience working with data and assessment, coupled with his natural relationship building skills will serve the department well. 

Greg is currently the President of the Young Professionals Connection of Greater Des Moines and is also a 2021 Des Moines Business Record 40 under 40 recipient. 

His references shared the following comments: 

“Greg left for his position at Drake several years ago. He still frequently communicates with several of his former peers after all this time. We just finished preparing for our accreditation visit in March, and it was commented several times that we were very well prepared because of processes that Greg implemented during his time here. Greg Lin is someone that if you encounter him, you don’t forget him. You don’t forget his kindness, his selflessness, his dedication, his intellect, his contributions, or his work ethic. I know that he would be a valuable asset to any team that welcomed him.”

In his role, Greg will be tasked with establishing and growing a dynamic volunteer program through volunteer selection and management, communication, and event programming. Greg will also be responsible for supporting our LGBTQ+ and Black Alumni Association affinity groups, helping foster deep connections between alumni and with students.

Andy Verlengia, Alumni Relations

In Memoriam: Robert Shultz

It is with great sadness that we share the passing of Robert R. Shultz, 102, who taught piano and theory at Drake University from 1946 until his retirement in 1984. He also served as the assistant dean of the music department for several years.

Bob served as president of the Iowa Music Teachers Association and Civic Music Association, and was on the board of directors for the Des Moines Symphony. The Iowa Music Teachers Association awarded him the Distinguished Service Award in 1983. The Music Teachers National Association awarded him the Iowa Foundation Fellow Award in 2015. Bob was an adjudicator for piano competitions, a piano tuner, a woodworker, and built Mozart pianos and a harpsichord. He wrote the manual, “The Pianists Interpretation of Bach,” used by many teachers and students. His interests were many, his talents immeasurable, his spirit indefatigable, his goodness ever-present.

He will be dearly missed by his family, friends, and students. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society or American Lung Association. Read Bob’s full obituary.

Called to be True Blue

Ann Guddall and Marietta Jackson were surprised with True Blue awards by the All Staff Council Recognition Committee this month.

Ann Guddall, budget manager, Academic Affairs, was recognized for “being reliable and generous with her time and expertise. Ann leads the academic budget officers and does so with thoughtful and clear communication. She is always direct and always professional. She has fostered so much teamwork among the BOMs.” Ann is a true example of We are All in This Together. She was nominated by Drinda Williams.

Marietta Jackson, Sodexo manager, was recognized for “always having a smile on her face and being happy to go the extra mile to make sure everything goes smoothly at the register and behind the counter. Marietta is the pentacle of customer service and is very welcoming to all.” Marietta is a true example of Joyful Accountability. She was nominated by Teresa Downs.

If you would like to recognize a staff member for being True Blue, visit our webpage to learn more and submit a nomination.