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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

May 17, 2007

A Sesquicentennial look back

Honoring the fallen

by Erin Rosacker

Gold Star Hall

Gold Star Hall in the Memorial Union. Photo by Bob Elbert.

"A memorial to the six thousand Iowa State College men and women who offered their lives during the World War in the cause of human liberty and free government." - Inscription above the north doors of the ISU Memorial Union's Gold Star Hall

Following World War I, Iowa State students, alumni, faculty and staff worked together to raise funds for construction of the Memorial Union, which opened in 1928. The building - a central social space for the campus community - seemed a perfect tribute to honor Iowa Staters who served in the war. The cornerstone of this memorial is Gold Star Hall. The name itself is a tribute. Homes with family members serving in the war displayed a card with a blue star, which was overlaid with gold if the service member perished.

Just 10 years after the Armistice (Nov. 11, 1918) was signed, the names of 117 men and one woman - Hortense Wind - were chiseled into the stone walls of Gold Star Hall. Since then, 369 names of World War II casualties were added, followed by nine names from the Korean War and 50 from the Vietnam War.

Most recently, the global war on terrorism has claimed the lives of three Iowa Staters. Iraq casualties David Giaimo and Eric Woods were the first names to be listed on the temporary plaque in Gold Star Hall, both of them honored in a ceremony last November. Paul Finken's name will be added in a ceremony this November. He was killed by a roadside bomb in Baghdad on Nov. 2.

The ornate stained glass windows that line the solemn corridor were installed in 1943. The 12 window panels were designed by Harold Cummings, a 1918 alum who also served in World War I.


The Memorial Union and Gold Star Hall opened in 1928 to honor Iowa State's alumni, students, faculty and staff that served in World War I. Gold Star Hall is a tribute to those that gave the ultimate sacrifice.

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Sesqui series

Inside is running a yearlong series of photos and articles that look back at Iowa State traditions, people and places to celebrate the sesquicentennial.