The IOWA Challenge “Meet The Challenge” Choose Award has been renamed the Kelly S. Bender Choose Award in celebration of Kelly’s life and in recognition of her dedication to alcohol harm reduction work at the University of Iowa and in our surrounding communities. In 2013, Kelly received a shocking diagnosis of a cancerous mass on her hip bone. Tragically, the aggressive cancer metastasized, and Kelly lost her courageous battle with osteosarcoma on September 18, 2014. In 2015, the Office of the Vice President for Student Life and the Office of the Provost agreed to rename this award in perpetuity as a fitting tribute to Kelly.                         

Embodying the spirit of this award, Kelly made good, difficult decisions and she helped students make decisions that positively impacted their education at Iowa and their future beyond our campus. She was a consistent voice behind the important message to students that they take their choices seriously and approach their new-found freedoms wisely. In leading the University’s alcohol harm reduction efforts, Kelly remained focused on evidence-based strategies that would support our students in making healthy decisions that supported academic success. Under Kelly's direction we achieved significant progress in harm reduction and a substantial increase in student involvement in harm reduction efforts. We all can be proud of Kelly’s time as a professional staff member in the Office of the Vice President for Student Life and her lasting impact on the University of Iowa, our surrounding communities, and the lives of countless students.

Henceforth, the IOWA Challenge “Meet The Challenge” Choose Award will hereby and forever be named the Kelly S. Bender Choose Award.

Award Application

Please view the Meet the Challenge Award page for more information on the Kelly S. Bender Choose Award.