Alumni at a Glance: John Beamer ’61

From working with the FBI to helping state employees with labor disputes, John Beamer ’61 has seen and done a great deal throughout his career. The Cornell alumnus was an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of Iowa from 1986 until he retired in 2018.

After graduating from Cornell with degrees in economics and sociology Beamer attended the University of Iowa College of Law where he graduated in 1964. Five days after he graduated law school, Beamer began serving as a special agent in the FBI as a criminal investigator. He spent one year in Seattle and five years in Los Angeles.

“No other school could have possibly given me better preparation for law school and a career,” Beamer said. “The FBI appointment was directly related to my experience at Cornell.”

Beamer went on to achieve much more throughout his career.

He became the Special Assistant Attorney General for the State of Iowa in 1970 and was the head of the civil division for seven years.

He was appointed the head of the state’s Public Employment Relations Board by Governor Robert D. Ray. As the Chief labor law judge, he covered all state employees in collective bargaining and labor disputes. He was confirmed by the Iowa Senate on three separate occasions for that position, serving from 1977–1986. He did all of that before his 32  years dedicated to prosecutorial work as the Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of Iowa. 

John Beamer '61 with the swim team (lower right)
John Beamer ’61 with the swim team (lower right)

His fond memories of Cornell include his time as the swimming captain, the president of the Men’s Senate, social interactions on campus, his economics and English literature courses, and his classmates, Jack Sunderlage ’61 and George Phelps ’60, among many others. 

Dr. Leland Beamer ’64, his brother, followed John to Cornell and graduated from the University of Iowa College of Medicine in 1968, but that’s another story.