News & Events

UI's 'Good. Better. Best. Iowa' Campaign Hits $1 Billion Goal

See press release on Tippie Gift Michael J. New, the University of Iowa Foundation's chief development officer; UI President David J. Skorton; and key volunteers today announced that the UI's "Good. Better. Best. Iowa" fund-raising campaign has reached its $1 billion goal, more than four weeks ahead of the campaign's official conclusion on Dec. 31, 2005.

The seven-year campaign, the largest in Iowa history, began on Jan. 1, 1999, and was publicly announced in June 2002 with an original goal of $850 million. Steady campaign progress convinced UI and foundation officials to raise the goal to $1 billion in April 2004, when the campaign had generated $730 million in gifts and pledges.

"Thanks to an incredibly generous response from our alumni and other friends and supporters, by early this year we'd stopped wondering 'if?' and had begun asking ourselves, 'when?'," New recalls. "Today, I think the question has become, 'how much more?'"

When the campaign goal was raised to $1 billion in 2004, Skorton announced a number of new fund-raising initiatives -- including a renewed emphasis on student scholarships and support for faculty throughout the career cycle -- to which he attributed at least some of the continued outpouring of support.

"It's clear that contributors understand our need for additional student aid and faculty support," he said. "This campaign has already created more than 500 new scholarships and 130 new named faculty positions -- resources that will have an impact on our educational quality for decades to come.

"I want to personally and publicly thank Michael New and our colleagues at the UI Foundation, our thousands of contributors and energetic volunteers -- particularly our campaign co-chairs, Mary Louise Petersen and Marvin Pomerantz -- and UI deans, directors and other faculty and staff for this truly remarkable achievement," Skorton continued.

Among the major gifts that helped pushed the campaign past its dollar goal is a recent $5 million commitment from UI business graduate and UI Foundation board member Henry B. Tippie of Austin, Texas, to endow the UI business college deanship.

The UI Tippie College of Business was named in his honor following Tippie's $30 million commitment to the business school in 1999, as the "Good. Better. Best. Iowa" campaign was getting under way. In acknowledging Tippie's extraordinary support, foundation officials noted that his campaign commitments serve as philanthropic "bookends" for the UI's most successful fund-raising effort.

According to Charles M. Kierscht, the foundation's interim president and chair of its board, the campaign has now exceeded its $1 billion goal by approximately $4.9 million, representing gifts from more than 126,000 contributors. Only about one-third of those commitments are deferred, such as through bequests and trusts to be realized in future years. Kierscht explained that because two-thirds of all campaign commitments are in the form of outright gifts, the foundation has been able to transfer increasing amounts of private funding to the UI each year, from less than $40 million in 1999, when the campaign started, to nearly $60 million in 2004.

Kierscht stressed that although a few major gifts helped move the campaign ahead quickly, every contribution has made a difference.

"This campaign has always been a collective effort," Kierscht said, "and its success has come from both large and small gift commitments. We'll have a better sense of the numbers early next year, after we close the books on 2005."

In a joint statement, campaign co-chairs Mary Louise Petersen of Harlan, Iowa, and Marvin Pomerantz of Des Moines, said, "We are immensely grateful to the tens of thousands of contributors who've enabled us to come this far, but we don't intend to slow down just yet. In fact, we still have important objectives within the overall campaign -- such as support for students and faculty, and for facilities like the Art and Art History Building and the Dey House -- that are short of their dollar goals.

"In the coming weeks, we want to encourage every graduate and friend of the university to take time to participate in this historic effort," they said. "Our goal next May is to celebrate the largest possible number of both campaign gifts and givers."

Skorton paid tribute to the key role that Petersen and Pomerantz played in the campaign's success.

"We owe a debt of gratitude to Mary Louise and Marvin, not only for their vision and exuberance in moving us toward our billion-dollar goal, but for their personal leadership gifts to the campaign," Skorton said. "We're also extremely grateful to Chuck Kierscht, who served as board chair during these most recent years of the campaign, and who continues to provide exemplary leadership for the board and staff today."

Kierscht noted that one highlight of the campaign victory celebration, which has been set for May 6, 2006, will be the public re-dedication of the Old Capitol Museum, which was among the campaign's facilities-related fund-raising goals.

The UI acknowledges the UI Foundation as the preferred channel for private contributions that benefit all areas of the university. For more information about the "Good. Better. Best. Iowa" campaign, visit its web site at www.GoodBetterBestIowa.org.


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