Couture, Ina Mae, nee Ham, has been the Agronomy Department's "Ina" for thirty years. For twenty-seven of those years she was my most important and critical partner in administering one of the two or three largest academic departments at Iowa State. Most of the activities and events have experienced her hand and had her attention and direction. Whether it was making faculty and staff appointments helping develop the budget and coordinating a twenty-five million dollar building project or listening to joys or troubles of others she always has been there for so long. It is difficult to imagine the Agronomy Department without her--she has placed her mark on it and its members as they passed through or stayed.
Ina Mae is the daughter of Anna Dorothea (Bargenquast) Ham and Hollie H. Ham born on October 15 1928 at Manilla Iowa. Graduating from Manilla High School in 1946 she enrolled at Morningside College in Sioux City in 1946 and completed two years of pre-law studies. She married Lyle Couture in 1948 and together they reared a daughter and six sons. It was not until she joined the Agronomy staff at Iowa State that she resumed her degree study part time and earned a B.A. degree with honors in 1981 majoring in English Philosophy and Behavioral Science. She has continued study and had completed course work toward a M.S. degree in Applied Sociology Organizational Analysis and Development by 1987. Ina is a member of the American Sociological Association and of Phi Kappa Phi and Alpha Kappa Delta honoraries.
Returning to professional work in 1962 she spent three years as office manager for Suhr and Sisson Insurance Agency in Charles City Iowa before joining us as the secretary for the department head and responsibility for graduate student admissions in 1965. Since 1973 her responsibility can best be described as an administrative assistant or department manager the present title of her position. Hers has been the central position in the department--she has been the best informed about departmental affairs and tasks to be done. Everyone turns to "Ina" whenever in doubt about anything. She has been a member of the College of Agriculture Human Relations Committee and of the Library Safety Building Courtesy Campus Physical Facilities and Publicity committees in Agronomy.
Ina has given freely and generously of her time to professional church and community activities. A member of the American Business Women's Association she is the 1994-95 president and had been honored as "Woman of the Year" in 1981. She has also been an officer and continues as a member of the ISU Credit Union Board of Directors the Story County Democratic Central Committee St. Thomas Aquinas Parish Council the Ames Interfaith Council Mid-Iowa Community Action Outreach Advisory Board and Ames UNICEF campaign. Being a religious education teacher and a Cub Scout den mother and leader when her family was younger round out her numerous and time consuming activities.
Iowa State has honored her with the Superior Service Award of the ISU Alumni Association the Board of Regents Award for Staff Excellence and the Agronomy Professional and Scientific Staff Excellence Award. This remarkable woman has lived a life of demonstrated commitment and service to family community employer colleagues and friends. It is most fitting that her name appear on the "Plaza of Heroines" and it is a profound privilege to place it there. The lives of so many around the globe have been enriched by having been touched by her.