Henry Tippie rings the NYSE closing bell
August 10, 2018
Tom Snee

Belle Plaine native and University of Iowa benefactor Henry Tippie made history Friday when he rang the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange.

Tippie became the first person in NYSE history to attend the bell ringing for both his company’s initial listing and on the same company’s 50th anniversary on the exchange. Tippie was executive vice president, treasurer, and secretary of Rollins Inc., when it was first listed in 1968 and is currently the company’s lead director.

Rollins owns numerous consumer and commercial services companies, including pest control service Orkin. Randall Rollins, the company’s current chairman of the board, also attemded both bell ringings. At the closing on Friday, he swung the gavel.

Tippie grew up on a farm near Belle Plaine and joined the U.S. Army Air Force after graduating from Belle Plaine High School in 1944. He served in the South Pacific during World War II and returned to Iowa after the war, earning his bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Iowa in just 24 months on the GI Bill.

Tippie started his tradition of gift-giving to the university when he made his first $5 contribution in 1953. Since then, his gifts have built a 175-seat auditorium in the Pappajohn Business Building, as well as a student lounge and Pat's Diner, a cafeteria named for his wife, Patricia. In February 1999, Tippie made a significant contribution to the College of Business and the college was renamed the Henry B. Tippie College of Business in his honor.

Tippie’s gifts support faculty research and student scholarships, in particular for students from Belle Plaine. He’s been honored with the University of Iowa’s Distinguished Service Alumni Award, Outstanding Accounting Alumni Award, and the university’s top honor, the Hancher-Finkbine Medallion.

His gifts have also benefited other eastern Iowa institutions, including the community museum, library, and baseball field in Belle Plaine, and to Kirkwood Community College, where the beef education center is named for him.

He was named to the Junior Achievement Eastern Iowa Hall of Fame in 2004. He became a member of the Iowa Society of CPAs in 1951 and is still a member.

He and Pat live on a ranch near Austin, Texas.

Photo credit: Nicole Pereira, NYSE