Speakers

Undergraduate Ceremony Speaker

Suku Radia retired at the end of 2017 as CEO of Bankers Trust, a position which he assumed in March 2008.  Bankers Trust is Iowa’s largest independent community bank with consolidated assets approximating $6.0 Billion. Under his leadership, the earnings of the bank increased from $11 Million to $49 Million.   Before joining Bankers Trust, Suku served as Chief Financial Officer of Meredith Corporation for eight years.  Meredith was a NYSE company and was the nation’s leading diversified media company prior to being acquired in 2022.

Radia was Managing Partner of KPMG in Des Moines from 1993 to 2000, where he enjoyed a 25-year career.  He earned a Bachelor of Science Degree, with Distinction, from Iowa State University in 1974 and became a Certified Public Accountant in 1975, when he joined KPMG.  He has been active in a number of professional, economic development, educational and charitable organizations.

Highlights of his community involvement include: Tournament Chair - 2017 Solheim Cup, Member - Federal Reserve Bank’s Community Depository Institutions Advisory Council, Vice Chair and Executive Committee member - Board of United Way of Central Iowa, 2009 and 2016 Campaign Chair - United Way of Central Iowa, Executive Committee - Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, Executive Committee - Drake University, Board Chair - Mercy Medical Center, Member - Iowa State University Foundation Board of Governors, Member - Iowa State University Dean of Business College’s Advisory Council, Director - Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, Past Chair - Bravo (arts and cultural alliance for Central Iowa), Past President - Rotary Clubs of Des Moines and West Des Moines, Past Chair - Greater Des Moines Partnership, Past Chair - Greater Des Moines Committee, Past President and founder - Greater Des Moines Junior Soccer League, Executive Committee - Des Moines Art Center, Past Chair - Better Business Bureau of Iowa, Leadership Chair - Oakridge Neighborhood Campaign, Past Board Member - Des Moines Golf & Country Club and at least another dozen civic organizations.

Additionally, Radia is the recipient of the Iowa Boy Scouts Council- North Star Award - 2019, Iowa Hospital Association Trustee of the Year -2018, Drake University College of Business Leadership Award (2018), Iowa State University Distinguished Alumni Award (2018), Strong Voice in Support of Justice Award from the the Supreme Court of Iowa (2017), Robert D. Ray Center’s Pillar of Character Award (2015), Iowa State University’s Alumni Merit Award (2012), Des Moines University’s Glanton Scholarship Award (2011), Iowa State University’s Citation of Achievement Award (1995), United Way’s Tocqueville Society Award (2005), Mr. Habitat for Humanity (2006), American Diabetes Association Honoree (2008), Iowa Council for International Understanding-Passport to Prosperity Award (2009) and Spirit of Philanthropy Award (2009).  In 2010, he was inducted into the Iowa Business Hall of Fame and was also named the OneIowa Business Leader of the Year.  He has been the convocation speaker at Iowa State University’s Business College (2000), Drake University (2008), Simpson College (2012), Grand View University (2016) and Des Moines Area Community College (2019).

He was named Best Metro Business Leader (2012-2017), Best Minority Business Leader (2012-2017) and Most Influential Business Leader (2012-2017).

Currently, he serves as Executive-in-Residence at the Ivy College of Business, Iowa State University, and he serves on three corporate boards - Nationwide Insurance Co., Workiva (NYSE), and Professional Solutions Group.

Born and raised in Kampala, Uganda, Radia came to the United States in 1971 to attend Iowa State University.  Currently, he resides in West Des Moines, Iowa, with his wife, Dr. Mary Radia, a recently retired Rheumatologist. A son, Ryan, is pursuing a Doctorate in Economics at George Mason University, a daughter, Renée, completed her MBA at the University of Southern California and is employed at HBO, and a daughter, Natalie, a graduate of Columbia University and is employed in the New York education system.

 

Graduate Ceremony Speaker

Beate Schmittmann has served as dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Iowa State University since April 2, 2012. She is leading several key Liberal Arts and Sciences initiatives to promote research, student success, and college advancement. Most notable among these are the college’s Signature Themes, which build on existing strengths to grow and sustain an internationally competitive profile in selected research areas. Strategic faculty hiring, seed grant funding, and enhanced support for proposal writing form an integral part of these efforts. She also furthers LAS’ reputation as a student-centered college through an integrated approach to student recruitment, academic advising, and career services, a focus on high quality teaching and innovative pedagogy, especially in the STEM fields, and efforts to support the success of traditionally underrepresented students. She has built a strong external relations effort, in which development, alumni relations, and strategic communications support and enhance one another.

Schmittmann is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a Fellow of the American Physical Society and a winner of the organization’s 2010 Jesse W. Beams Award. Her research interests focus on statistical and biological physics. She has authored or co-authored more than 100 peer-reviewed articles and one book.

Schmittmann earned a diploma (M.S.) in physics from RWTH Aachen University in her native Germany (1981), and a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland (1984). Prior to joining ISU, she was a member of the physics faculty at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, since 1991 and served as the physics department chair since 2006.