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Des Moines Businessman Creates UI Institute for Youth Entrepreneurship

Through a naming gift of $3 million to the University of Iowa Foundation, Des Moines businessman Richard O. "Dick" Jacobson has established the Richard O. Jacobson Institute for Youth Entrepreneurship at the UI Henry B. Tippie College of Business.

The Jacobson Institute will provide opportunities for entrepreneurship instruction and practice for K-12 students throughout Iowa and beyond. Built on three key components -- teacher education, innovative curricula development and outreach opportunities -- the Jacobson Institute will enrich students' classroom and practical educational experiences.

"We are very grateful to Dick Jacobson for his vision and generosity," said William C. "Curt" Hunter, dean of the UI Tippie College of Business. "The Jacobson Institute will give educators the tools they need to encourage creativity, innovation, critical thinking and problem solving -- and to prepare students for success in the worlds of business and entrepreneurship."

The Jacobson Institute is part of a broader entrepreneurship initiative at the university that began in 1996 with a naming gift from John and Mary Pappajohn of Des Moines. Their gift established the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC), a partnership among the UI's Henry B. Tippie College of Business, College of Engineering, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and programs within the UI health sciences units -- including the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine -- that provides comprehensive entrepreneurial education programs for all Iowans.

In 2004, Tom Bedell of Spirit Lake, Iowa, made a $660,000 gift commitment that allowed JPEC to establish the Bedell Entrepreneurship Learning Laboratory, which is dedicated to helping aspiring UI student entrepreneurs.

The new Jacobson Institute will enhance UI entrepreneurial education by serving as an outreach resource for the pre-college population -- and as a model for educators. Its main focus will be on providing teacher education through face-to-face training, as well as on the development of online teacher education courses. In addition, the institute will develop an online curriculum to help secondary students learn about entrepreneurship and business start-up.

"I hope that my gift will help K-12 students learn about entrepreneurial skills from a very early age -- and discover that business ownership can be an extremely rewarding career," said Jacobson, a Belmond, Iowa, native and former UI business student. He founded Jacobson Companies in 1968 as a single Des Moines warehouse and grew it into one of the largest privately owned warehouse companies in the nation.

In addition to creating his successful shipping and trucking business, Jacobson also established the Des Moines-based Richard O. Jacobson Foundation, which supports numerous programs and projects, including educational initiatives at the University of Iowa and other institutions.

Jacobson is a member of the Presidents Club, which recognizes the UI's most generous contributors, and his many awards and honors include a University of Iowa Distinguished Friend of the University Award in 2000 and a UI Hawk of the Year Award in 1995.

For more information about Richard O. Jacobson and the Institute for Youth Entrepreneurship, go to www.jacobsoninstitute.org.


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