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Spotlight Iowa City: Rigby a man of many, many hats

BY MICHELLE HILLENBRAND | APRIL 26, 2010 7:30 AM

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If you were looking for University of Iowa Student Government President John Rigby on April 20, you might have checked his usual haunts: the UISG office in the IMU, his fraternity, Phi Kappa Psi, Java House, or even Prairie Lights Books.

But you wouldn’t have found him.

On April 20, Rigby was in Washington, D.C., gaining support for the Collegiate Housing and Infrastructure Act, a bill that would, in part, allow fraternities and sororities to more easily dictate where donated funds are allocated.

This year marked the second time Rigby has lobbied on Capitol Hill, meeting important leaders such as House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and House Majority Whip James Clyburn.

It reflects the English and African-American studies major’s aspirations to become a lawyer, with his love of the civil-rights era and law a driving factor as well.

“I have an unending and a tireless interest in the civil-rights movement, the Martin Luther King years especially,” he said. “I get so energized by reading important civil-rights cases — it makes you want to look into the practice of law and try to do your part.”

But the Marion native’s love for the ’60s extends beyond civil rights and law. He said he loves ’60s culture and events, including Motown and soul music.

“John’s a very progressive guy,” said twin brother Mark Rigby, who said he is often mistaken for his brother. “That was easily the most progressive era America’s ever seen.”

And John Rigby is no stranger to the presidential title. Last year, he held the position for his fraternity.

“It’s been a steppingstone for this position, gaining leadership skills and having the ability to work with different people from different perspectives and ideologies,” he said.

Former UISG President Mike Currie said the job Rigby did as executive senator last year shows he has the leadership skills to do well in his term.

And housemate Dan Gratie said Rigby has been an influential member of his fraternity and a leader on campus.

“John is someone that’s been able to guide me in a lot of different ways in terms of leadership positions on campus,” Gratie said. “He’s good about telling you how to present yourself in a proper way and at the same time say what you want to say.”

As his fraternity’s former president, a former tour guide, Dance Marathon and Dance Marathon the Marathon participant, UISG senator and president, and Honors student, Rigby clearly has had a variety of roles at the UI.

And according to his twin, his flexibility (and friendliness) will help him in his term as UISG president.

“His ability to relate to so many groups of people is his biggest asset,” said Mark Rigby. “If anyone has a problem, he’ll be the first to listen.”


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