2013-14 Public Scholar Pilot Program

First Obermann Public Scholar

The Obermann Center's first Public Scholar, David L. Gould has served as the Associate Director of Professional Student Development in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, and developed a number of courses, includingLife Design: Building Your Future and Reimagining Downtown.  In 2012, he was presented the Iowa Outstanding Staff Award, and College of Liberal Arts & Sciences’ Star Volunteer Award.  In 2013, Gould and his Reimagining Downtown students were invited by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh to participate in the Downtown Project, described as “a group of passionate people committed to helping transform Las Vegas into the most community-focused large city in the world.”  After more than six months of work, the students launched a company in July called Sugarcoat.  Sugarcoat is a pop-up ice cream parlor, serving healthy frozen treats.  Health education is a fundamental part of Sugarcoat’s mission.


Downtown Project - Rethinking Las Vegas

Sugarcoat students
Now, Gould will be working with the Downtown Project to develop his own ideas for community renewal in Las Vegas.  At the Obermann Center, he will draw on University of Iowa faculty expertise that will provide advice and feedback.  Eventually, along with local community partners, they will consider ways to adapt emerging successes of the Downtown Project to expand to cities in Iowa.  Gould will also serve on the Advisory Committee of the Obermann Graduate Institute.

Filmmaking Roots

Gould’s experiences as a public artist and scholar are long and deep. As a filmmaker, Gould’s credits include “Freestyle: The Victories of Dan Gable,” “The Checker King,” and “Two Sides of the Moon.”  His films have been shown on HBO Signature, HBO2, and at major international film festivals across the country, while receiving favorable reviews from such publications as the L.A. Times, Chicago Tribune, and Newsweek.  Among his awards, Gould has received a CINE Golden Eagle, Regional Emmy for Outstanding Achievement, and been recognized for Best Documentary Short at the 2011 Rhode Island International Film Festival.  Gould is currently producing the feature film “Diane’s Room,” based on the life of legendary wrestler Dan Gable, and is represented by United Talent Agency.  He also energetically contributes to the civic life of Iowa City, most recently as a founding board member of FilmScene.

Through this experiment, we hope to find a donor who will help us to make the Public Scholars program a long-term campus-community collaboration.