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Deborah Tharnish Awarded Iowa State University Alumni Medal - November 5, 2018

In a ceremony on Friday, October 26, Deb Tharnish was awarded the Iowa State University Alumni Medal. The Iowa State University Alumni Association established the award in 1948 to recognize ISU alumni for long, loyal service to the university through alumni-related activities. It is the premier award given to alumni by the ISU Alumni Association. Up to two medals are granted annually.


Deb’s recognition reads:


Deborah Tharnish is a passionate philanthropist and community volunteer, and Iowa State University is among her happiest beneficiaries.


Tharnish is a past member and chair of the ISU Alumni Association Board of Directors, as well as a former board member of the University Retirement Corporation. She and her husband, Nick Roby, have made gifts to the ISU Alumni Association and its Traditions Garden on the ISU Alumni Center grounds, as well as to ISU athletics, Science Bound, the Ivy College of Business, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the ISU Library Fund. Tharnish is active with the ISU Alumni Association’s Circle of Former Leaders and Leadership Guild, and she and Roby co-chaired the Association’s 2015 Cardinal & Gold Gala fundraising event.


Tharnish, who has been recognized for her legal abilities, is a member of the Davis Brown Law in Des Moines and earned her J.D. from the University of Iowa in 1980. Despite a demanding career, she has not only found time for her alma mater, but also for her community. She has chaired the boards of Anawim Housing, Iowa Legal Aid, the Des Moines Public Library Foundation, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Central Iowa, and Hawthorn Hill. She is also active with the University of Iowa Law School Foundation.


Among the awards she has received are the Belle Babb Mansfield Award, the Rollie Grefe Pro Bono Award, and Phi Beta Kappa induction. She has been recognized by the Iowa Academy of Trial Lawyers, Chambers USA, Super Lawyers, and Best Lawyers in America and in 2013 was inducted into the Des Moines Hoover High School Alumni Hall of Fame.


Tharnish and Roby are ISU Alumni Association life members and sustaining life donors, as well as members of the Cyclone Club and the Order of the Knoll President’s Circle.


*Photo Courtesy of the Iowa State University Alumni Association. Pictured are Jeffery W. Johnson, President and CEO of the ISU Alumni Association; Deb Tharnish; and Wendy Wintersteen, President, Iowa State University.