News & Events

Shining a Light on Phil

Hannah Travis has been a close friend of Phil’s for three years now. A speech and hearing science major from Hales Corners, Wis., Travis joined the University of Iowa Foundation’s Student Philanthropy Group (SPG) in 2012, and helped stage the very first Phil’s Day on the UI campus.

“That first year, we got a lot of quizzical looks. Now when students see our Phil Was Here t-shirts and tags, I get a lot of nods and smiles—and that feels incredible,” Travis says. “It’s great to see that more and more students understand the huge difference that private support makes in our education.”

On Phil’s Day—Thursday, May 1—teams of students will fan out across campus at dawn to festoon dozens of donor-supported facilities with black-and-gold Phil Was Here ribbons and posters, demonstrating the widespread impact of philanthropy—playfully nicknamed “Phil”—on the UI campus.

“Because of my history with Dance Marathon, the UI Foundation, and SPG, I see Phil everywhere on campus. What I love about Phil’s Day is that we make philanthropy visible to everyone on campus,” says Travis.

Students, faculty, and staff can stop by one of eight campus locations to hand-sign a thank-you card for a donor and receive their very own “I Am Phil” sticker to wear. And one of the most generous and beloved UI benefactors will be on campus to share his own story about the importance of giving back.

Connecting students and donors

Phil’s Day is the latest—and biggest yet—effort from the UI Foundation’s Student Philanthropy Initiative (SPI), which aims to show students what philanthropy is all about on campus and, they hope, help to shape UI students into the philanthropists and fundraisers of the future.

“Our student group, SPG, now includes about 30 students who act as ambassadors of philanthropy for the university—interacting with donors to let them know how much their support means to students like them, as well as bringing the good news about philanthropy to their peers on campus,” says Kristin Beckman, UI Foundation assistant director for student philanthropy. “Many of them are also pursuing the Certificate in Fundraising and Philanthropy Communication, offered through the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences—and this is exceptional experience to prepare them for their careers.”

Building a culture of philanthropy

“Phil’s Day is our day to celebrate philanthropy, and to shine a light on the role it plays in everyday UI life,” says Lynette Marshall, president and CEO of the UI Foundation.

“We are building a campus culture of philanthropy at the University of Iowa. We want every Hawkeye to understand that we enjoy world-class facilities, programs, and opportunities thanks in part to the generosity of people who support our university,” Marshall says.

Anthony Lehnertz, a finance and Spanish major who grew up in Iowa City and will serve as president of SPG in the 2014-15 school year, says Phil is easy to spot, even when it’s not Phil’s Day.

“All you have to do is look at the cranes dotting the Iowa City horizon to see philanthropy at work on campus right now. Private support is an important part of the mix when it comes to funding new facilities.”

“I go to classes in the Pappajohn Building, and I’m enrolled in the Henry B. Tippie College of Business—both named in honor of generous alumni,” says Lehnertz. “There are places on campus where it’s not as obvious, but every person on campus gets some benefit from the philanthropy of others. Our group’s goal is to help more of our fellow students understand that.”

This kind of education makes a long-term difference, Marshall adds.

“We can’t expect our future alumni to support the university if we don’t teach our students what their support means,” she says.

Henry B. Tippie raises Phil’s Day profile

Henry B. TippieIf the gold ribbons and Phil Was Here posters, ribbons, and stickers aren’t enough to draw you in, you may take notice when you see that Henry B. Tippie (1949 BSC) is this year’s featured speaker.

“Mr. Tippie is a true Hawkeye success story: not only a tremendously successful businessman, but also an unparalleled philanthropist, a terrific speaker, and an inspiration,” says Marshall. “We are delighted to have him on campus for Phil’s Day.”

Tippie is a dedicated UI Foundation board member, UI volunteer, and philanthropist, after whom the UI Henry B. Tippie College of Business is named.

Lehnertz says, “I am thrilled to have the chance to meet Henry Tippie. He’s a great role model, and his example shows that being successful means more than just making a lot of money.”

Hannah Travis agrees.

“We should all give back because this place has given us so much.”

Phil’s Day Events

All day: “Phil Was Here” tags identify buildings and programs made possible by donations, honoring donors and recipients.

All day: Get spotted by the Prize Patrol anywhere on campus wearing an “I Am Phil” sticker and you win a prize—pick up a sticker at the postcard signings and talk listed below.

11 a.m.-1 p.m.: Postcard signings in multiple locations (Pentacrest, Medical Education and Research Facility, Campus Rec & Wellness Center, Seamans Center, Pappajohn Business Building, Van Allen Hall, Adler Building, and Chemistry Building) where students, faculty, and staff can sign thank-you notes to donors and receive an “I Am Phil” sticker for their participation

11 a.m.-1 p.m.: "I Love Iowa. I Love Phil." Stop by the Pentacrest and tell us why you love Iowa—and Phil! Student Philanthropy Group members will be on hand to take your photo.

1:30 p.m.: Henry B. Tippie, a dedicated UI Foundation lifetime honorary board member, UI volunteer, and philanthropist, will tell his personal philanthropy story in a guest lecture, "Life With Phil," in the Iowa Memorial Union (IMU) second-floor ballroom. A live video stream also will be available.

More on the UI Foundation website.

Connect with Phil:
Twitter: @uiphil
Instagram: @uiphil

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