Thursday, May 26, 2016

Helping others, personal sacrifice noted in student nominations

By Sara Epstein Moninger 

Mary Lynn Fayoumi (far left) of Naperville, Illinois, smiles at her daughter, Nadia, while Marc Reyhons (far right) of Iowa City takes in the Kinnick Stadium crowd next to his daughter, Taylor. Fayoumi and Reyhons were nominated by their students to be the 2016 Mom and Dad of the Year. As part of Family Weekend festivities, they were honored during halftime at the Iowa–Michigan football game on Nov. 12. Photo by Tim Schoon.

Two University of Iowa parents were the center of attention Nov. 12 during the Family Weekend game-day breakfast and at halftime of the Hawkeye football game when they were honored as the UI’s Mom and Dad of the Year.

The 2016 Mom of the Year is Mary Lynn Fayoumi, of Naperville, Illinois, nominated by her daughter, Nadia, a senior studying human physiology and Arabic. Nadia says her mother, a University of Iowa business graduate and the president and CEO of The Management Association of Illinois, is a leader at work, at home, and in her community. She has served on a number of industry and community boards, including the Association Forum of Chicagoland, and has delivered consulting and training to thousands of managers. Nadia says her mother is a rock star.

“While raising a son with an autism spectrum disorder, she still managed to lead an organization and make it to every one of my soccer matches, snuggle up at night to watch the newest episode of Grey’s Anatomy, and cultivate relationships with loving friends,” she writes. “Even now, when we are 200 miles away from each other, she wakes up early to edit my medical school applications and remains only a phone call away.”

The 2016 Dad of the Year is Marc Reyhons of Iowa City, nominated by his daughter, Taylor, a senior majoring in communication studies. Taylor says her father, a retired longtime firefighter, spent decades showing courage, bravery, and sacrifice every day by risking his life for the safety of others. She says she is inspired by his selflessness.

“Many people call my dad a hero. I know I sure do,” she writes. “As a firefighter, my dad’s passion is helping others. Nothing makes me more proud as a daughter than when my dad tells me he saved a life, or helped an elderly person who fell, or delivered a baby, or rescued someone from a fire. The list of things that make me proud of my dad goes on and on. His priorities are helping the Iowa City community and loving his family to the fullest, leaving very little time to himself.”

Mom and Dad of the Year are sponsored by the UI Parents Fund for Student Support, with support from the UI Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and the Iowa Hawk Shop/University Bookstore. Honorees are chosen by two student honor societies, Mortar Board and Omicron Delta Kappa, based on personal achievements and dedication to family. Any student can nominate a parent for an award.