Humanitarian Award

The Hoover Presidential Foundation established the Humanitarian Award in 1993 to periodically honor individuals whose lifetime of service to others recalls Herbert Hoover’s career of practical idealism. The award is given in the spirit of President Hoover, who reached out to countless men, women, and children in need, regardless of nationality, race or politics. Previous winners are William Quarton of Cedar Rapids, Richard Kautz of Muscatine, Robert Ray of Des Moines.

Iowa City Couple Wins Hoover Humanitarian Award

Herbert & Janice Wilson

Winners of the Herbert Hoover Humanitarian Award were named on May 2, 2008 at the Annual Banquet of the Hoover Presidential Foundation. Iowa City residents Herbert and Janice Wilson are the recipients.

The Award was established in 1993 to be periodically presented to individuals whose lifetime of service to others recalls Hoover’s own career.

The Wilsons were selected for their long history of philanthropy to the area, including the University of Iowa, the Hoover Association, and numerous other agencies.

They have traveled to third world countries as part of Rotary humanitarian trips and have volunteered for decades in the Iowa City area, including Mrs. Wilson’s years of service to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

Previous recipients are William Quarton of Cedar Rapids, Richard Kautz of Muscatine, and Governor Robert Ray of Des Moines.

The Hoover Presidential Foundation is a nonprofit support group for the Hoover Presidential Library-Museum and National Historic Site in West Branch.

More on the Wilsons

Herbert A. Wilson and Janice A. Wilson, both Chicago natives, have lived in Iowa since 1973.

Mr. Wilson's career has centered on plant expansion, facilities planning and corporate planning for a variety of companies in the United States and Canada.

He was owner, president and chief executive officer of Micro-Surface Finishing Products Inc., in Wilton, Iowa, from 1977 until retiring in 2000. Previous positions were in the steel industry, printing and automotive fields.

Mr. Wilson earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue University in 1951 and an MBA from the University of Chicago in 1959. Mrs. Wilson, a nurse by profession, is a graduate of Rush Nursing Hospital and former vice president of Micro-Surface Finishing Products.

The Wilsons have served on numerous community boards and committees. Mr. Wilson is a lifetime trustee and Past President of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library Association. He has been a Rotarian for 40 years, serving as district governor in Iowa's Rotary District 6,000. Mrs. Wilson is also a Rotarian.

Mr. Wilson was named a Sertoma Service to Mankind Award Recipient and Purdue University Outstanding Mechanical Engineer. He was selected for the Junior Achievement of East Central Iowa Business Hall of Fame and recognized for Regional Service to the Arts.

Mrs. Wilson has been honored for more than 1,000 volunteer hours to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. They have hosted foreign and domestic students living or studying in Iowa City through Rotary and other contacts.

The Wilsons’ generosity has been as diverse at their involvement in the greater Iowa City area, including gifts to the Hoover Presidential Library Association for projects at the Hoover Presidential Library-Museum.

They played pivotal roles in major campaigns for the University of Iowa Hancher Auditorium, School of Music, and Museum of Art. Iowa City’s Preucil School of Music and Riverside Theater are recipients of their time and treasure.

In addition, they are involved with the School of Engineering, Marching Band, and Visual and Performing Arts Building at Purdue University.

They find time for a host of United Way agencies and other non-disclosed efforts. This warm and modest couple has come to personify generosity. Their financial contributions, time and hard work are examples of selfless giving for the benefit and caring of others. They do what is right because it is right.