Patricia and O. Jay Tomson receive Purple and Gold Award at Distinguished Awards Celebration

University of Northern Iowa President Mark A. Nook, the UNI Alumni Association and the UNI Foundation honored alumni and friends of the university at the President’s Distinguished Awards Celebration, on Friday, November 4. The annual award ceremony included the President’s Philanthropy Awards, presented by the UNI Foundation, and the UNI Alumni Association’s Heritage Honours Awards.

Patricia and O. Jay Tomson are recipients of the Purple and Gold Award, the most prestigious award for lifetime giving that the UNI Foundation bestows on behalf of the university. In their 40-year giving history with UNI, the Tomsons have supported Panther Scholarship Club, the Annual Fund, the Provost’s Fund for Excellence, the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Dean’s Fund, the College of Education Dean’s Fund, the Midwest Piano Competition and the Women in Bipartisan Politics Scholarship Fund. 

O. Jay and Pat established the Tomson Scholars with the UNI Center for Violence Prevention in 2016. The Tomsons recognized the importance of this work and made a transformational gift of $2.5 million to the UNI Center for Violence Prevention. The Center was renamed the Patricia A. Tomson Center for Violence Prevention in the fall of 2021 in recognition of this gift and Pat’s lifelong dedication to the field of personal violence, having spent decades advocating for children and other survivors of abuse.

O. Jay currently serves as chairman of the board of First Citizens Financial Corp. and is the former chair of the board and president of First Citizens Bank. Pat, who received an M.A. in counseling from UNI in 1986, is executive director of First Citizens Charitable Foundation and a retired family therapist.