Honorary Alumnus Award

Cathy Irvine
2023 Heritage Honours Awards | Honorary Alumnus Award Winner

This award is presented to a friend of the university in recognition if their exceptional support of the University of Northern Iowa.

As a tribute to her husband, David, and his love of the land, Cathy donated 77 acres of their farmland to UNI for the creation of the Irvine Tallgrass Prairie. UNI students, faculty and staff from the UNI Tallgrass Prairie Center began carrying out prairie restoration in 2018.

Cathy, who is a retired science teacher and a citizen scientist, has never lost her love for teaching. She’s been an active participant in the restoration and is active with UNI students, passing on her knowledge and passion for conservation. She has truly become a benefactor for the UNI community, investing in our students and enabling UNI educational and research experiences.

Cathy established an endowment that, in addition to covering prairie installation and maintenance expenses, will support wages, stipends, undergraduate research, scholarships and other expenses for UNI students involved with the prairie.

Cathy recently donated another 220 acres to UNI, showcasing her generosity of spirit and willingness to help educate UNI students. In turn, these students will educate and inform others during their careers, continuing the effects of Cathy’s generosity long beyond her lifetime.

As a result of her lifetime of conservation work and her more recent involvement with UNI, last year Cathy was awarded the Conservation Woman of the Year Award by the Iowa Natural Resources Conservation Service.

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Cathy Irvine with UNI President Mark Nook








Cathy Irvine