Chad Greenway and Jenni Capista Greenway have translated their leadership as top Hawkeye student-athletes into a legacy of community service. The couple is passionate about children’s health and youth sports, creating and nurturing Chad Greenway’s Lead the Way Foundation while juggling careers, family, and a business.
During their time at Iowa, Jenni ran cross country and track and field, while Chad was an All-Big Ten linebacker. Jenni became certified as a personal trainer and has excelled as a fitness instructor. Chad organized and leads the Wayzata Girls’ Basketball Association; they are both coaches.
In 2006, Chad became a first-round draft pick for the Minnesota Vikings, where he remained for his 11-year career. Chad’s peers recognized his service leadership by naming him the 2015 “Whizzer” White NFL Man of the Year and as the Vikings’ Walter Payton Man of the Year Award nominee. After retiring in 2017, Chad co-founded Gray Duck Spirits. He is also a sports consultant.
In addition to raising four daughters, the Greenways have focused on directing the Lead the Way Foundation and its mission to support families of seriously ill children. Whether building accessible playgrounds at hospitals, fulfilling children’s wishes, or serving respite luncheons for mothers of ailing children, the foundation has touched thousands of lives. The UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital is one beneficiary of Chad’s Locker, a program that supplies video games and other electronics to engage kids during treatment.
Jenni’s former coach, Layne Anderson, says giving back is in their DNA.
“They have displayed the Hawkeye spirit through their incredible spirit, love for others, and willingness to step up and support others with their time and resources."
Since 1963, the University of Iowa has annually recognized accomplished alumni and friends with Distinguished Alumni Awards. Awards are presented in seven categories: Achievement, Service, Hickerson Recognition, Faculty, Staff, Recent Graduate, and Friend of the University.