George Daly
Thursday, June 13, 2019
By Lesanne Fliehler

“I shall always regard the opportunity I have had to help shape the University’s future as one of the greatest privileges of my life….If I have one wish regarding the future, it is that you will choose to stay involved in the life and future of the college, as I plan to.” 
—George Daly, 1993

Those words from 25 years ago to Tippie alumni from former Tippie Dean George Daly might have been written today to accompany his $2 million gift that will support student scholarships in the college. But, they were written in 1993 in his last “Message from the Dean” that appeared in just the second issue of Business at Iowa magazine (Tippie Magazine’s predecessor).

In 1993, as Daly was leaving the college for New York University’s Stern School of Business to serve as dean, he knew his 10 years at Iowa had been rewarding and transformational. Several early experiences though, shaped his feelings about the university, the college, and the state, he says.

“During my first week as dean, I was in my Phillips Hall office when a young student came in to return a wallet someone had left at a nearby pay phone,” he says. “I was really impressed by the student’s honesty and was to find it characteristic of so many Iowans. My prior experience involved many lost items but very few found ones.”

Also near the beginning of his tenure as dean, then UI President Jim Freedman asked him to spearhead a project that would take a group of faculty and staff to 21 small Iowa communities—a chance to ask Iowans what they thought of the university and what it could do to help them.

“I saw some of the special qualities I’d seen in that student,” he says. “People were earnest, interested, and had a respect for education. I knew then that I wanted to create a greater opportunity for the kids who might have difficulty affording a university education, especially in these days of declining state support.”

Although the George and Barbara Daly Scholarship is an estate gift, Daly says he and his wife “hope to make considerable progress in the not-too-distant future” to begin funding it during their lifetimes. The gift will support students from rural Iowa counties with fewer than 90,000 residents, which is about 89 of Iowa’s 99 counties.

“My hope is that the young people who receive this support may someday become the next Henry Tippie or Jerre Stead or Marvin Pomerantz, Iowans from humble roots whose lives, activities, and gifts have so enriched the state and the university,” he says.

“My wife and I have always contributed to institutions we’ve been a part of,” says Daly, who also served as dean of Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business before retiring in 2016. “Of all the universities I’ve been to or been associated with, we felt Iowa was the most deserving of this gift.”

This article first appeared in the summer 2019 edition of Tippie Magazinea semiannual publication for alumni and friends of the Tippie College of Business. A complimentary subscription is provided to those who make an annual gift of $10 or more to the college.