Joy Cole Corning


Joy Cole Corning

"She is such a strong advocate; a person who is heard without having to shout and be loud - a person whose presence is felt wherever she goes." - Robert Ray

Joy Cole Corning created the first statewide effort in Iowa's history to accept, value, and celebrate diversity-people's differences, unique needs, similarities, and contributions. As lieutenant governor, in 1991 she turned an appalling incident driven by prejudice and bigotry into the impetus for creating community initiatives- forums, team-building activities, a major television presentation, and highly successful annual statewide conferences. The breadth of Corning's leadership is remarkable: children and families benefited when, as a state senator, she successfully introduced Iowa's first measure outlawing physical punishment in schools and when her hotly debated bill to extend the statute of limitations on sexual abuse passed, paving the way for later extensions. Lt. Governor Corning led projects that increased the number of good foster homes and dramatically raised the number of adoptions of special-needs children. For the rights and well-being of women, she chaired Iowa's first STOP Violence Against Women Coordinating Council; chaired the 75th Anniversary of Woman Suffrage; and after leaving public office, led campaigns to raise funds for the chapel at the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women. In education she served the Cedar Falls School Board for 11 years-nine as president, helped develop Iowa Gifted and Talented (was state president, helped author the first state plan), led a workplace literacy project for the state, served on University of Northern Iowa boards, and established the UNI Joy Cole Corning Distinguished Leadership Lecture Series. Other notable roles: chair of National Conference of Lt. Governors and continuing work with a dozen boards and not-for-profit organizations. Corning was born in Bridgewater on September 7, 1932. Corning was inducted into the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame in 2004.