I-Club Hosts 46th Annual Golden Harvest

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Over 250 I-Club members and fans met in Coralville for the 46th annual Golden Harvest event on July 28 to celebrate the close of another I-Club annual banquet tour, to present some special awards to the membership, and to kick-off the upcoming University of Iowa athletic year.

Golden Harvest began with lunch and a four-person best-shot golf outing at the UI’s Finkbine Golf Course. The event continued with a dinner and program at the Holiday Inn, Coralville. Gary Dolphin, voice of the Hawkeyes, emceed the evening program, and Head Football Coach Kirk Ferentz was the featured speaker. 

Darryl Borcherding and Sloane Tyler, Directors of Development, Intercollegiate Athletics, and Gary Barta, University of Iowa Director of Athletics, presented the 2012 National I-Club awards. The athletics department and National I-Club are very fortunate to have so many volunteers and contributors helping to move the Hawkeyes forward. In appreciation of these efforts we are pleased to recognize several groups annually with four special awards: The Hawk-of-the-Year award, the I-Club Volunteer-of-the-Year award, the I-Club-of-the-Year award, and the Special Commendation award. 

The prestigious Hawk of the Year award is presented annually to Hawkeye(s) who have exhibited an exceptional level of loyalty, enthusiasm, and generosity to Iowa Athletics. Kay Pitlik, and her late husband Bill, have been I-Club members for over 40 years. They were charter members of the Kinnick Society (the I-Club’s highest contributor level), made significant gifts to capital campaigns, and established six Leadership Level Endowed Scholarships. Kay Pitlik on receiving the award, “it’s such a great honor for Bill and me to receive this award tonight. Because of his love for the Hawkeyes, Bill decided to provide a scholarship to aid some good athletes that would not be able to afford the education. I have been blessed to continue that legacy and isn’t that the reason we are all here tonight - to provide the best for our student athletes. Great athletes and great facilities make the University of Iowa the great university we love.”

Wrestling Coach Tom Brands also had the opportunity to recognize and thank the Pitliks, via video message, for their years of generous support, “To me, Kay Pitlik represents friendship.  When I think about the Pitlik name, I think about their generosity – which reaches far beyond Iowa athletics.  Kay and Bill meant, and mean a lot to me, as does the family, and they mean a lot to our program.  Iowa wrestling thanks them for helping us to keep things going strong.”

The I-Club of the Year award is given annually to the local I-Club chapter who has excelled in the conduct of its local events and shown an exceptional level of support for the Hawkeyes. This year’s award was presented to Sid Manfull and the Washington County I-Club. This chapter and board work tirelessly to promote a wide variety of events in Washington County that keep Hawk fans in their area engaged throughout the year. They have seen excellent growth in their I-Club membership numbers and they have maintained their Kinnick Society level gift annually for over ten years – despite having one of the smallest population bases amongst our chapters. The Washington County I-Club is a true grassroots and fund raising organization.

The Volunteer of the Year award is presented annually to the volunteer who has been a tireless supporter and promoter of the Hawkeyes in a variety of roles and activities. This year’s recipient, Bob Rasmus from Sioux City, Iowa, has had a lifelong passion for the Hawkeyes. He was a UI student graduating from UI, then the College of Dentistry and receiving a masters degree in Orthodontics. He has been a generous support of the I-Club for almost 30 years and a Kinnick Society member since its inception 20 years ago.  As president of the Siouxland I-Club chapter, their spring banquet has grown to maximum capacity with over 500 in attendance each year. Additionally, Bob has been taking photos on the sidelines at Kinnick during home football games, on a volunteer basis, for decades. Many of his photos have been used in UI Athletics official publications.

This year’s Special Commendation award was presented to two of our outstanding I-Club chapters in recognition of efforts going above and beyond the scope of normal activities and events. Our first recipient, the North Iowa I-Club, set attendance records at their spring banquet the last two years. Consequently, they have been able to increase their annual I-Club support each of the last two years. The second recipient is the Twin Cities IOWA Club. Since reorganizing their club in 2010, they have hosted 10 new events, increased their membership by 40%, and developed a stronger online presence through a new website, Facebook, and Twitter. In addition to supporting the National I-Club, the chapter is also using a portion of their proceeds to establish a scholarship fund that will support a native Minnesotan attending the University of Iowa.

“The Golden Harvest event is an opportunity for us to thank these special supporters and volunteers for their gifts and efforts over the past 12 months and to prepare for an exciting season of UI athletics.” said Darryl Borcherding. “I-Club members help build enthusiasm while providing critical private support for Iowa Athletics.” 

I-Club members are Hawkeye fans who contribute $50 or more annually to UI intercollegiate athletic programs through the UI Foundation.  More than 10,000 friends and alumni of the University are I-Club members, representing nearly every county in Iowa and state in the nation. 

The I-Club is administered through The University of Iowa Foundation, the preferred channel for private support to the University.  Visit jointheiclub.com for information about becoming a member of the I-Club and supporting Iowa Athletics.

 View Photo Gallery from Golden Harvest.

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