Regent Patty Cownie of Des Moines has been an active public servant in a large variety of central Iowa community initiatives for many years. She has served on the Board of Directors for a number of community organizations including the Des Moines Opera, St. Augustin Foundation, Mercy Hospital Foundation, Des Moines Arts Festival and Des Moines Civic Center, and is a former Drake University Board of Trustees member.
In 2011, Regent Cownie was appointed by Governor Branstad to the Dr. Norman E. Borlaug Statue Committee for the funding, creation, and installation of a statue of Dr. Borlaug, a native Iowan, in Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol Building. This statue, which recognizes Dr. Borlaug’s achievements in plant breeding and his significant impact on world hunger, was installed in the U.S. Capitol in March 2014.
Regent Cownie is a 1966 graduate of the University of Iowa where she earned a degree in sociology. She and her husband, Jim, have nine children and 22 grandchildren.
She was appointed to the Board on March 2, 2015 by Governor Branstad. Regent Cownie was elected President Pro Tem of the Board of Regents May 1, 2017, re-elected president pro tem on April 12, 2018, and re-elected again as president pro tem on April 1, 2020. Her term on the Board expires April 30, 2021.