The Presidents Volume III: Alfred Noehren

Alfred W. Noehren served as a member of the Board of Regents from 1959 to 1965. Noehren was the Board’s seventh president, and served in that capacity from 1963 to 1965.

He was born September 10, 1910 in Fostoria, Iowa, and graduated from Spencer High School. Upon graduation, Noehren attended the University of Iowa. He married the former Dorothy Dahl Oct. 6, 1935 and had two children, William and Nancy. 

Noehren owned a farm implement business and was a farm owner and operator. He ran for and won a seat on the Spencer City Council prior to his time on the Board, and also served as director of the Northwest Federal Savings and Loan Association of Spencer. Additionally, Noehren was a 32nd degree mason and a member of the Shriners, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and the sigma nu fraternity.

As president of the Board of Regents from 1963-1965, Noehren led a Board that was tasked with replacing two of the most successful and memorable presidents in the Regents Enterprise history: James Hilton of Iowa State, and Virgil Hancher of the University of Iowa. The Board appointed W. Robert Parks, namesake of the Iowa State Parks Library, and Howard R. Bowen, who led the University of Iowa through expansion in the middle 1960s.

Noehren was particularly pleased with the selection of Parks, stating at the time:

"When the Board undertook the very difficult task of selecting a successor to President Hilton some months ago, it made a thorough search among some of the most capable educational administrators in the nation. Dr. Parks stood out significantly in this group, and we are confident we could not have made a better selection. We talked to educators and scientists throughout the country who told us we would be most fortunate if we could secure this man to head Iowa State. He will have some large shoes to fill when Dr. Hilton leaves. However, the Board feels that we have selected a truly dedicated man to serve as president in one of the best land-grant universities in America."

Four dormitories on the campus of the University of Northern Iowa – previously known as the Regents Complex – were named in honor of Dwight Rider, Henry Shull, Harry Hagemann, and Noehren – all presidents of the Board. The Regents Complex dining center was renamed the Redeker Center in honor of Board president Stanley Redeker in 1974. Shull, Rider, Hagemann, Noehren, and Redeker served consecutively as Board presidents from 1941 until 1973.