Norma Hensley

Honored by:Bill, Julie, Jill and Ross Lindstrom
Brick location:K:7  map

Norma Park Hensley grew up on the family farm in southwest Iowa. She was active in 4-H, serving as county 4-H president and later working as an extension youth assistant. She was a 4-H club leader and Sunday school teacher during the 11 years she and her husband farmed. She worked part-time to supplement their farm income.

In December of 1960, Norma and her family left the less-than-profitable farming operation so that her husband could pursue a degree from Iowa State - 17 years after his graduation from high school.

Norma began her 41-year career in Agriculture Administration “working by the hour until she could find a full-time position,” promised Dr. Louis Thompson, Associate Dean for Academic Programs. She spent seven years in Ag Administration Placement services, thriving on assisting prospective employers and the students seeking employment, before advancing to the associate dean’s office in 1967. She retired in 2001.

Over the years Norma’s responsibilities evolved to management of the College of Agriculture scholarship program. She dedicated herself to the students and their efforts to seek scholarships and assisted them with their leadership development activities. She served on various college and university committees. Upon her retirement she funded the Norma J. Hensley Endowed Scholarship, which is awarded to the president of the Agriculture Student Council each year.

She was the first non-faculty, non-student individual nominated and initiated into Cardinal Key Agriculture Honor Society and was named an honorary member of the Alpha Zeta Wilson Chapter. She received the Alumni Association Superior Service Award in 1992.

Three of her four children – Jeff (Industrial Administration, ’75), Julie Kaye (Child Development, ’79, ’86) and Jack (Agricultural Mechanics, ’86) – earned their degrees from Iowa State University. Daughter Jennifer earned two degrees from Des Moines Area Community College. A granddaughter’s graduation from Iowa State in 2010 became three generations of Iowa State graduates since that 1960 transition to Pammel Court on the northern edge of the ISU campus. Other grandchildren have or are attaining degrees from Iowa State or other institutions. 

In addition to her family, friends and the “Ag Kids,” the Greater Iowa Credit Union Board, church activities, Toastmasters and professional organizations rounded out her life.

Submitted April, 2013