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Half-Century Career at Iowa State University Comes to an End

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AMES, Iowa -- One of the longest serving Iowa State University faculty members is hanging up his hat.

Senior Vice President Warren Madden first set foot on the Iowa state campus in 1957 and completed an undergraduate engineering degree in 1961. He left and worked in the industry for a period of time and then came back in 1966. And boy did he come back.

Madden is retiring on June 30, and he has spent the past half-century working at ISU.

During those five decades, Madden has seen and helped shape some major changes on campus.

“I’ve been at Iowa State roughly a third of the university’s existence,” Madden said.

And he knows the campus well.

“I get to walk in here (Beardshear Hall) every day and kind of look at something I’ve had a role in,” he said.

Madden, who will turn 77 later this month, started working at ISU in July 1966. Since then, he's seen budgets and student populations grow, and he's had a major role in shaping the way the campus looks.

“I’ve been involved with the development of about two-thirds of the buildings that are on the campus today in terms of square footage,” Madden said.

While maintaining a large open landscape area as part of Central Campus, other parts of campus have undergone major changes.

“We moved basketball and athletic events from the Armory, which still stands but is not much of a building, to Hilton Coliseum. Jack Trice stadium was developed replacing the old Clyde Williams field. So those are remarkable developments,” he said.

During his time at Iowa State, Madden has seen and done it all, including practical jokes.

“One Halloween, there’s a very tall spire on the top of (Morrell Hall), they put a pumpkin up there. We still don’t know how they got up there,” he said.

He’s even been a part of campus traditions like campaniling, “which is kissing your girlfriend or future spouse under the campanile as they chimes gong yell midnight. I’ve done that, and I’ve also been able to do it up at the top.”

He’s also been there for the historic achievements.

“I’ve been around the Ames laboratory, which is a National Department of Energy Lab. We developed the uranium that was used in World War II,” Madden said. “The patents that invented fax machines happened at Iowa State.”

Some of the memorable moments have been challenging ones.

“I was around the times when we were having some of the Veishea disturbances, and as a large university community we’ve had some natural disasters. I’ve been through some floods for example,” Madden said.

But even through the difficulties, Madden has seen the campus community recover and continue on. It’s the legacy of the university's reputation and the impact it has on the lives of students that he's most proud of.

“I’ve watched students graduate and go out and be successful and come back and say maybe you played a little bit of a role in their success and that’s something you get a lot of satisfaction out of,” Madden said.

Madden says he wants to continue to contribute to the university and the community of Ames even in retirement. He says he will continue to attend and enjoy athletic events.

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