“Whether it is cheering from their seats in the stands or making a financial gift in support of our student-athletes, Rick and Deb’s contributions to our athletics department have been unwavering over the years,” said Director of Athletics Jamie Pollard. “We are extremely appreciative of the McConnell family’s friendship and loyal support.”
For more than a quarter century, the McConnells have planned family trips around Iowa State football in the fall and basketball tournaments in the spring. In addition to their season ticket support, Richard and Deborah are members of the Cyclone Club and have supported numerous capital projects including the Bergstrom Indoor Training Facility, the Rod and Connie French Athletic Academic Center and the Iowa State University basketball practice complex.
Richard retired as president of Pioneer Hi-Bred in 2004 after a 30-year career. Today, he is nationally recognized for his leadership in plant genetics and customer service. He worked as a corn breeder, research scientist and research director prior to his term as company president. Richard also served as a DuPont vice president during his distinguished tenure.
He is a past chair of the Iowa State University Plant Sciences Institute Advisory Board and is serving a lifetime appointment to the Iowa State University Foundation Board of Governors. Additionally, he is an Emeriti Trustee of the Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences at Claremont Colleges and serves on the Board of Trustees of Iowa Health Systems, the Iowa Chapter of The Nature Conservancy and the Agronomic Science Foundation.
The McConnells are the parents of three Iowa State University graduates: Kevin (Laura) of Grimes, Drew (Tami) of Johnston and Jana of Ames. They also have three grandchildren, Ethan, Rafe and Dirk.
Cy’s Favorite Alum Award has been presented annually, since 1955, by the Iowa State University Athletics Department in recognition of the loyalty and accomplishments of a graduate or friend of Cyclone Athletics.