BBA 1980 (Finance and Industrial Relations & Human Resources)
Kevin Gruneich didn't have any big advantages growing up as a middle-class kid in Montezuma, Iowa. The son of a Presbyterian minister and a part-time secretary/homemaker, Gruneich paid his own way through college at The University of Iowa, having begun working and saving as early as grade school. But he didn't do it alone.
"If not for scholarships, grants, and loans bridging the funding shortfall, I may not have gotten to the finish line," he says. "I had some obstacles to overcome but they were modest compared to the obstacles other students face—especially minority and first-generation college students."
That's why he now gives generously to support students from underrepresented minority groups at the University. In addition to creating the Kevin Gruneich Opportunity at Iowa Scholarship Fund, he is also underwriting The Iowa Edge, a new program that strives to provide orientation, programming, community-building, and counseling support for minority and first-generation college students new to the University.
"I am just beginning to return the investment others have made in me," he explains, and he hopes that his philanthropy will multiply with future generations. "I believe the students I help will eventually also be there to help others, creating a virtuous cycle that will improve the University, the state, and society as a whole."
It's an ambitious view of the future, but that kind of outlook is nothing new for this successful alumnus. After earning his bachelor's degree in finance and industrial relations from Iowa, he went on to earn an MBA degree in finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and was recognized as one of the top publishing analysts in the world during his 22-year Wall Street career.
Now semiretired in Park City, Utah, Gruneich remains involved in private business ventures and manages his family's investment portfolio. With his wife, Donna, he also administers the Kevin and Donna Gruneich Charitable Foundation, supporting philanthropic causes with a focus on education, religion, environmental protection, and helping the underprivileged.
For Kevin, there's something special about young people just getting started in their lives and careers.
"The undergraduate years are so important," he explains. "What one experiences, learns, and practices during college, along with the momentum coming out of this period, is key to attaining life goals."
Thanks to scholarships provided with the help of friends like Kevin Gruneich, deserving UI students will have no trouble building up speed toward reaching those goals.