Donor Profile: Mel and Kathy Weatherwax
AMES, Iowa - At 23-years-old, Mel Weatherwax was an avid college football fan, so avid that watching televised games wasn’t enough. He wanted to see the action live, so he weighed his options. As a full-time employee with United Parcel Service (UPS), multiple trips to Iowa City were too taxing. Instead, he chose the convenience of a short trip to Ames. It was that year, in 1973, that Mel attended his first Iowa State football game with a friend. And after one game, he was hooked.
“When I was 23 I decided it was too difficult to go to Iowa City, so a friend of mine and I decided to go to Iowa State games,” Mel said. “I started going in 1973 and immediately felt like we had much more in common with ISU fans.”
The years since 1973 have only intensified Weatherwax’s commitment to Iowa State athletics. Today, Mel and his wife Kathy are being recognized for their ongoing dedication to the Cyclones with their recent donation to ISU’s athletic facilities campaign. Their donation of $500,000 will directly assist the Iowa State Athletic Department as it “Takes the Next Big Step.”
“We decided to do it to show our commitment to the future of ISU athletics,” Mel said. “We feel very fortunate that we are able to do so.”
Mel met Kathy while the two were attending Grand View College. The Des Moines natives were soon married and had their first son. In the midst of starting his family, Mel was offered a full-time position with UPS. He took the job and spent the next 32 years with the company, 30 of which were spent in management positions. Mel retired from UPS in 2000, but his and Kathy’s enthusiasm toward the Cyclones has only gotten stronger.
The couple has held football season tickets for 35 years, men’s basketball season tickets for 25 years and women’s basketball season tickets for the past 10 years. Mel was also on hand for all five of the McCarney-era bowl games. There is no doubt their years in the stands have produced some unforgettable Cyclone memories.
“I’ll always remember the weekend the men and women both won the Big 12 Basketball Championships in Kansas City,” Mel said. “It was a tremendous weekend to be an Iowa Stater. From a football standpoint, I’ll never forget my trip to Phoenix for the insight.com Bowl.”
Mel and Kathy are members of the Order of the Knoll’s W. M. Beardshear Society, for benefactors who have given $1 million or more to ISU. They are also members of the National Cyclone Club (NCC) and the ISU Alumni Association (ISUAA). Mel is on the NCC Advisory Board and on the ISUAA Board of Directors. In addition, the Weatherwax’s made major gifts to the Bergstrom Indoor Facility campaign, the Hixson-Lied Student Success Center campaign and the new alumni center.
“I got involved with the Alumni Association for the first time when we traveled with them to the insight.com Bowl,” Mel said. “Although at the time we weren’t members, we were treated like family and welcomed by Jeff Johnson and his staff. We really felt like a part of the Iowa State family, so we felt that getting involved was the right thing to do.”
Mel and Kathy’s daughter Kara graduated from Iowa State in 1998. Their son Brian graduated from Drake University. With their children grown, Mel and Kathy have contributed much of their time to involvement in the community. Kathy is the president of Ankeny Dollars for Scholars and a representative on the Ankeny Community Education Advisory Council. Mel is involved with numerous non-profit boards and civic groups such as the United Way of Central, where he has been on the Campaign Cabinet for the past three years.
Here are a few questions for Mel Weatherwax
Q: What do you remember of your first Cyclone game?
A: I remember as a young adult watching the Cyclones play their last year of football on Clyde Williams field.
Q: What would you say are your most memorable Cyclone events?
A: Definitely going down to Arizona for the Insight Bowl was great. Also traveling up to Michigan to watch Eustachy’s squad play in the Elite Eight game against Michigan State.
Q: Who were your favorite players for ISU?
A: Marcus Fizer could just dominate whenever he wanted to in the post. Dexter Green and Troy Davis were so amazing, every play for them was a potential touchdown.