Leaders and Pioneers

Hawkeyes have never been afraid to explore a new frontier.

We were the first university in the state of Iowa, founded in 1847 (just 59 days after Iowa became a state).

We were the first state university in the country to admit men and women of all races and creeds on an equal basis. 

We were the first to officially recognize an on-campus LGBT organization.

We were the first university to broadcast television.

We were the first to offer the Master of Fine Arts degree.

We discovered the Van Allen radiation belts (named after legendary Iowa professor James A. Van Allen).

We designed components for Voyager I and II, and have made vital contributions to dozens of NASA missions.

We created the Gallup Poll, the ACT test, and the scan-tron–and the first College of Education west of the Mississippi.

We built comprehensive research centers in diabetes, cancer, audiology, and blindness that stand at the forefront of their fields.

We inspired the immortal work of artists like Flannery O’Connor, James Allan McPherson, John Irving, Kurt Vonnegut, Grant Wood, and Gene Wilder.

For a list of notable alumni, click here.


Click here for a full list of firsts at Iowa.


Hawkeyes do incredible things every day. To see what we’re doing now, visit now.uiowa.edu.