Robert Victor Zumstein is a Hawkeye not a Cyclone

OSU Professor R Victor ZumsteinDo you consider education a talent? Well, in a family where I heard "Get your Ph.D. before your Mrs.", education is considered a talent.

Thanks to I have found out that my great-grandfather Zumstein was not a graduate of Iowa State University in Ames. Robert Victor Zumstein was a native of St. Catherines, Ontario, Canada. He graduated from a university in Toronto in 1917. He moved to Iowa and obtained his Masters in Math and and Physics in 1918. And he obtained his PhD (probably in Physics) in 1924 from S.U.I in 1924 before moving to the University of Michigan to obtain more education and become a professor until 1926. He later became a professor at Ohio State University from 1928-1968. It seems he loves the Big Ten schools!

Victor's sweet daughter Dorothy wrote his biography in the 1970s. To his Canadian born daughter who married a Canadian and raised her family in Canada, I'm not sure she knew there were two colleges with similar sounding names in Iowa at the time. When her father graduated, there were was the State University of Iowa and Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts. In 1959, Iowa's colleges became more confusing to 'outsiders' as S.U.I. became more commonly known as the University of Iowa and the other college became Iowa State University.

Iowa State Logo
So, when Texas reared me reads Canadian Dorothy's biography about Victor graduating from Iowa State University, I think about the red and yellow colored college from Ames. I made a big genealogy mistake and began inserting facts about ISU into my writings. I began to imagine my newlywed great grandfather rearing his children in the middle of Iowa. I should have realized that a daughter's biography about her father is not weighted the same as a diploma or newspaper article.

Anyway, thanks to, I searched for Robert Victor and found a listing of graduates from S.U.I. (State University of Iowa) in 1924. I read that his degrees match up with what I had previously found. Then I notice the paper saying Hawkeye. Hawkeye? Wait. It's supposed to be Cyclone. Then I notice the paper mention the city of Iowa City. Iowa City? It's supposed to be Ames. Righ?

No! I'm the silly.

Iowa Hawkeyes
A quick trip to Wikipedia and I learn that a miscommunication had occurred. If I had just taken the time to check the history of the Iowa Universities, I would have known that in 1918 and 1924, there was really only one university in Iowa. So my great aunt was mostly right in saying Victor graduated from Iowa State University only she really meant State University of Iowa.

So yes, my great-grandfather was talented in the field of physics. Yes he taught at Ohio State and Michigan before that. However, he was in Iowa City at the college who has the Hawkeye mascot and color theme of black and gold. Well, I like black and gold better than red and yellow and I have some family history stories to amend.


  1. I think I'll stay with cyclones, but that is a cute story. I like the way you wrote it.

  2. Thanks for the compliment Lynn. I'm trying to develop my writing skills. Your compliment is very meaningful. Thought I'd let you know


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