Alliant Energy/Erroll B. Davis, Jr., Achievement Award

Application Deadline: Sunday January 31, 2021 | Click HERE to apply!

Erroll B Davis

Erroll B. Davis, Jr. has committed decades of his life to serving the community throughout several leadership roles held in higher education and through his involvement on many advisory boards and committees in the nation. He and his wife, Elaine, established the Davis Family Foundation, which makes annual grants to numerous students in need.


Erroll B. Davis, Jr. is Senior Advisor at TalentQuest, a cloud based software talent management and consulting firm in Atlanta, Georgia.  Most recently, he served as superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools (APS) from July 2011 until his retirement in June 2014.   Prior to joining APS, Erroll served as chancellor of the University System of Georgia, where he was responsible for the state’s 35 public colleges and universities, approximately 302,000 students, and 40,200 faculty and staff.

Before leading the University System of Georgia, Erroll served as chair of the board of Alliant Energy Corporation since 2000.  Erroll joined Alliant in 1998 as president and chief executive officer.  He retired from his dual roles as president and CEO in July 2005, and retained the chair’s post until his move to the University System in early 2006. Prior to the creation of Alliant Energy, Erroll served as president and CEO of WPL Holdings from 1990 to 1998.  From 1978 to 1990, he rose through the senior management ranks at Wisconsin Power and Light Company, starting as vice president of finance and ending as CEO and president.


In addition to his role as chancellor of the University System of Georgia, Davis’s higher education experience includes serving as a member of the University of Wisconsin System Board Of Regents from 1987 to 1994, and as a former chair and life member of the board of trustees of Carnegie Mellon University.  A native of Pittsburgh, Pa., he earned a bachelor of science in electrical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in 1965 and an MBA in finance from the University of Chicago in 1967.


Davis is a member of the board of directors of General Motors, Union Pacific Corp. and the Public Broadcasting System.  He is on the advisory board of the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO) and a member of the National Academy of Sciences round-table on community resilience.  Between 2004 and 2008, Davis served on the U.S. Olympic Committee board representing numerous community-based organizations.

Davis is the recipient of numerous honors and awards and recognized in several publications: “Georgia Trend magazine - “100 of the Most Influential Georgians” 2007-2011; Atlanta Business Chronicle - “100 Most Influential Atlantans” 2006 - 2007; Black Enterprise magazine -“75 Most Powerful Blacks in Corporate America” 2005; Fortune magazine - “50 Most Powerful Black Executives in America” 2002.

In 2005, Davis was rated “Top 50 Blacks in Technology” at the Black Engineer of the Year Awards Conference, and was recipient of the Carnegie-Mellon Alumni Distinguished Service Award the year prior. In 1993, Davis received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business, as well as a Bronze Medal in Financial World’s “CEO of the Year” competition.  In 1988, U.S. Black Engineer magazine awarded him “Black Engineer of the Year.

The Alliant Energy/Erroll B. Davis, Jr., Achievement Award was created by Alliant Energy to honor Erroll B. Davis, Jr. and his nearly 30 years of service to the utility industry and to honor and recognize the importance of scholarship and leadership by underrepresented minority students in the state of Iowa.

This award recognizes academic achievement, leadership in campus and community organizations, and potential for future career success of rising Seniors in business or engineering.

Each student who is selected to receive the award can receive up to $5,000.*

*Award amounts and number of awards may vary from year to year based on the performance of the endowment fund. Scholarships will be granted to the recipients in accordance with the standard requirements set forth by the Office of Student Financial Aid at their respective Regent Institution. Students receiving financial aid may see adjustments to their final scholarship amount.

Eligibility Requirements

To be considered for an Alliant Energy/Erroll B. Davis, Jr., Achievement Award, a student must:

currently be enrolled as an undergraduate at the University of Iowa, Iowa State University, or the University of Northern Iowa;

be in the field of engineering or business;

be scheduled to receive a degree in the 2021-2022 academic year or 2022 summer term;

be a member of one of the following underrepresented groups: African American, Hispanic or Latinx, American Indian, Asian, Pacific Islander, or East Indian, or from a racial or ethnic group traditionally underrepresented in the fields of business or engineering;

be a citizen of the United States or a permanent resident.

Application Requirements

1.) Applicant Information:

You will need to provide your name, current and permanent mailing addresses, email address, phone number, institution name, student ID number, major(s) and minor(s), cumulative GPA, expected graduation date, race/ethnicity, and citizenship status.

2.) Essay:

You will need to submit a written essay (10,000 characters without counting space limit). You essay should address the following guiding questions:

What are your career aspirations and how have those aspirations evolved over time?

How have your current studies and involvement in campus and community activities prepared you to achieve your career aspirations?

What are your plans after graduation?

3.) University Transcripts:

You will need to submit your university transcripts. Unofficial transcripts are acceptable.

4.) Resume:

You will need to submit your updated resume detailing your honors, campus/community involvement, and leadership and service.

5.) Two letters of recommendation: 

You will need to provide two letters of recommendation. These letters can come from faculty members or advisors from your university who can comment on your academic achievement and leadership capabilities.

Applications must be submitted by online application, and must be received by 11:59 pm CST on January 31, 2021.

Please Note:

A complete application must be submitted by the deadline for consideration. Incomplete and late applications will not be reviewed.

Please submit your documents in pdf format.

If your faculty/advisor prefers to send their letter of recommendation directly to us instead of having you upload it in this application, please request them email their letters to Yashwant Prakash Vyas at It is your responsibility to communicate this to your faculty/advisor and to ensure that your letters are received by the deadline.

To ensure the integrity of the application and selection process, materials may not be hand-delivered to the office.

Point of Contact

Yashwant Prakash Vyas, MPA

Alliant Energy/Erroll B. Davis, Jr., Achievement Award Committee Chair

Assistant Director, Diversity Resources

Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion | The university of Iowa

Ph: 319-353-2388 | Email:

Previous Awardees 

Previous Awardees

Coming Soon 

Zahra Aalabdulrasul

Tippie College of Business, University of Iowa

Kiana Castro

College of Engineering, University of Iowa  

Kathlyn Plagge

College of Business Administration, University of Northern Iowa

Jamie Sampson

College of Engineering, Iowa State University