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$290,000 in Gifts Support UI Institute of Risk Management and Insurance

The Independent Insurance Agents of Iowa (IIAI) and three of its member agencies are helping enhance Iowa's insurance industry by contributing a total of $290,000 to the University of Iowa Foundation for the new Institute of Risk Management and Insurance in the University of Iowa Henry B. Tippie College of Business.

These contributions include gifts from IIAI; TrueNorth Companies of Cedar Rapids; AW Welt Ambrisco Insurance Inc. of Iowa City; and Dana Ramundt of Des Moines. Their support will assist the institute in providing quality academic and internship programs, along with professional development and grant research.

The announcement of the gifts was made today at the IIAI's 98th annual convention, being held at the Clarion Hotel on Hickman Road in Des Moines.

"The UI Institute of Risk Management and Insurance will link the worlds of insurance and education by establishing a strong academic foundation on which to build learning and professional development throughout the state," said Larry Hershberger, director of the UI Institute of Risk Management and Insurance and a former senior vice president at TIAA/CREF.

The gifts from IIAI and its three member agencies have helped the UI raise nearly $1.9 million of its $6 million goal for a variety of the institute's initiatives, including an endowed chair and directorship, endowed professorships, an undergraduate scholars and internship program and seed money for core objectives.

"We are proud to be involved in supporting such an important educational cause that will benefit not just the insurance industry, but also the entire state of Iowa," said Bob Skow, chief executive officer of IIAI. IIAI represents approximately 85 percent of the state's independent insurance agents. It has 732 members, with 198 branch offices; more than 80 companies also are affiliate members.

Dave Winegarden, chief financial officer at AW Welt Ambrisco Insurance Inc., said his IIAI-member company also understands the importance of supporting insurance education: "AW Welt Ambrisco believes in giving back to the communities it serves, and we hope other independent insurance agencies will join us in supporting the institute."

TrueNorth Companies, another IIAI member, has the same philanthropic goal. "TrueNorth understands that by investing in this comprehensive new institute, we are investing in a stronger future for everyone who benefits from Iowa's insurance industry," said Loren Coppock, managing partner.

"My gift is a direct reflection of my profound respect and gratitude for Dr. Emmett J. Vaughan, to whom I owe the success of my career in the insurance industry," said Dana Ramundt, president of The Dana Company. "I know that my former classmates, who were part of the insurance program under Dr. Vaughan, feel the same and will join me with a gift once they become aware of the institute."

Emmett Vaughan, a J. E. Partington Professor of Insurance who has been at the UI since the early 1960s, was instrumental in helping the university earn a distinguished reputation in the field of insurance education in the 1970s and 1980s. He mentored and trained many of the industry's top leaders and wrote a defining text, "Fundamentals of Risk and Insurance," now in its ninth edition.

The mission of the UI Institute of Risk Management and Insurance is to provide a comprehensive program of innovative education, research and leadership in the field of risk management and insurance by educating students and augmenting the professional skills of Iowa's insurance employees. The institute's curriculum has been approved, and additional classes will be offered in the spring 2005 semester.

The gifts from the IIAI and these three member agencies qualify them for membership as Emmett J. Vaughan Associates in a recognition club for contributors that is named in Vaughan's honor.

The IIAI and member agency gifts are part of the UI's $1 billion comprehensive campaign, which will run through 2005 and is being conducted under the guidance of the UI Foundation. Named "Good. Better. Best. Iowa: The Campaign to Advance Our Great University," the seven-year effort is raising private funds to help launch a variety of initiatives across the university, substantially increase the number of UI scholarships and endowed faculty positions, support new educational and research facilities, build the UI's endowment and fund outreach and service programs to benefit Iowans.

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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