Dubuque Named 2024 Community of Character

Dubuque has been named Iowa’s 2024 Community of Character by the Robert D. and Billie Ray Center at Drake University.

The Ray Center annually recognizes Iowa individuals, organizations, and communities that show the center’s six pillars of CHARACTER COUNTS®: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and good citizenship.

Dubuque was nominated by Robert Palmer of Nyemaster Law firm, the former General Counsel and Director of Government Affairs with the Iowa League of Cities.

“Dubuque is a great city with a lot of heart and city officials that care. The community has a story of population loss followed by stabilization, recovery, and continued growth,” said Palmer. “The city officials are passionate about the wide variety of residents they have and what it takes to meet their needs. Language barriers, employment, and embracing cultural identity are challenges that has Dubuque faced and overcame gracefully.”

“Dubuque residents should be proud of this acknowledgement. Our community has certainly demonstrated tremendous character in responding to past and current challenges,” said Dubuque Mayor Brad Cavanagh. “Change is not always easy, but Dubuque is navigating change with a commitment to creating an equitable community of choice.”

Scott Raecker, executive director of the Robert D. and Billie Ray Center, said, “We are honored to celebrate Dubuque as the 2024 Community of Character for the Iowa Character Awards. Dubuque is an inspiring example of how communities can work together to promote positive values and make a meaningful impact on the lives of all their residents.”

The Iowa Character Awards will be presented at a special event in August at Drake University.

The Ray Center honors two of Drake University’s most respected alumni — Robert D. and Billie Ray — whose humanitarian efforts, character, and leadership set an inspirational example for generations. The center strives to improve civility through character development and ethical leadership. The Ray Center’s vision is to transform lives and strengthen communities by equipping individuals and communities with strategies to practice good character by demonstrating trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and good citizenship. Through public awareness and programming grounded in research, the Ray Center helps create strong, vibrant communities that value positive, healthy relationships and respectful behavior. Its initiatives benefit people of all ages and are easily adaptable for families, schools, workplaces, athletic teams and organizations, and more.

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