College of Agriculture and Life Sciences alumni to receive highest honors

April 27th, 2022

Ames, IA – On Friday, April 29, the Iowa State University Alumni Association and Iowa State University Foundation will present the university’s highest awards during the Distinguished Awards Celebration. Awards presented include the Distinguished Alumni Award, Honorary Alumni Award, and the Order of the Knoll.

The Distinguished Alumni Award will be bestowed on two CALS alumni this year. This award is the highest honor given to Iowa State alumni through the Iowa State University Alumni Association. It is presented to alumni nationally and/or internationally recognized for their outstanding contributions to their professions or life’s work.

This year’s honorees include Mark Erlander (’84 MS biochemistry and biophysics) and Robert Walton (’61 PhD animal science).

Mark Erlander, chief executive officer at Cardiff Oncology, focuses on directing drug discovery efforts and developing precision cancer diagnostics. Before this, he worked as the chief scientific officer at bioTheranostics, which developed the Breast Cancer Index test to determine if a breast cancer patient will benefit from extended hormonal therapy to avoid the risk of a recurrence of their cancer.

Robert Walton, retired CEO and chairman emeritus of the American Breeder Service, is recognized as one of the top agri-business leaders in the nation and globally renowned for his contributions to genetics research. Walton implemented progeny testing of dairy bulls and developed a mathematical formula for evaluating bulls that revolutionized the dairy cattle genetics industry and was subsequently adopted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In addition, Walton promoted the use of frozen semen and direct herd marketing to make quality genetic material available to producers in remote locations, which led to the development of artificial insemination training schools across the country. His efforts undoubtedly transformed the dairy industry and played a significant role in the beef cattle and plant genetics fields.

The public awards ceremony will take place at 2 p.m. CT in the Sun Room of the Memorial Union on Iowa State’s campus. It will also be livestreamed.

Read more about the Distinguished Awards Celebration and honorees.


Marcie Fahn, Agriculture and Life Sciences Communications, 515-294-4945,