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UI Honors Tippie With Flash Mob

Watch the video of the Flash MobHenry B. Tippie has seen a lot in his 85 years, but seeing the performance of a flash mob made up of University of Iowa students, faculty and administrators Friday afternoon was a first.

Still, it didn’t take Tippie, for whom the UI Henry B. Tippie College of Business is named, to get into the action. He showed off his conducting skills as UI President Sally Mason, Curt Hunter, dean of the business school, and others danced through the Howe Galleria of the Pappajohn Business Building.

“When you put on the Chattanooga Choo Choo, I almost joined you,” Tippie told the dancers. “I may be 85 years old, but I can still move.”

Tippie, a businessman and philanthropist who graduated from UI with an accounting degree in 1949, actually had his birthday Jan. 5, but UI waited to celebrate until students were back on campus.

He told the dozens of people gathered for the reception that his musical skills go back to 1942, when he played fourth chair clarinet for the state champion Belle Plaine band.

UI holds a birthday party for Tippie, who along with his wife, Patricia, has donated generously to the university, every year, but for his 85th, organizers wanted to do something special.

They coordinated the flash mob, made “Henryfetti” out of photos of Tippie, and even surprised him by flying his two daughters in for the celebration.

“Henry is a true Iowa institution and one of the most prominent names on campus,” Mason said.

UI named the business school for Tippie in 1999 after he donated $30 million to the school to support student scholarships and faculty research.

On Friday, Tippie expressed his own gratitude to the members of the college.

“You honor me, but I want you to know I am honored by what you do,” Tippie said.“You’re the people making this place hum, not me. I feel proud of what I see here. You are the future.”

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