Grad student "mom" Jaci retires after nearly 30 years

May 1, 2018

In 1989, Jaci Severson was hired as a secretary in the main office of Agronomy. She spent five years working for the Iowa Crop Improvement Association when Dr. Ron Cantrell, department chair at the time, came to her with a question.

"He said I could stay with Iowa Crop or move to the teaching office," said Severson. "I thought about it and told him I wanted to stay with Iowa Crop, but he told me I really didn't have a choice - either go to the teaching office or transition out of the department. It was the best move I could have ever made."

Jaci started revamping the teaching office in 1996. Since then she has ushered 952 graduate students through our doors and into their careers. They are, without a doubt, the highlight of her career.

"I will miss the grad students so much," said Severson. "The international students become like my own kids because we make such a strong connection working toward getting them admitted."

A party was held in her honor on April 27 and it was a full house. The Agronomy Hall commons were packed and there were people standing in the hallway. When asked what she plans to do, Jaci answers "whatever I want!"