Henry Tippie rings the NYSE closing bell
Friday, August 10, 2018

Belle Plaine native and University of Iowa benefactor Henry B. Tippie made history Friday when he rang the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on August 10, 2018.

Tippie and R. Randall Rollins share the distinction of being the only two directors present for a company’s initial listing and its 50th anniversary. Tippie is lead director and Rollins is chairman of the board of Rollins Inc., a global consumer and commercial services company. In 1968, Tippie was executive vice president, treasurer, and secretary when the company was first listed on the NYSE.

“It is an honor to represent Rollins at this ceremony,” Tippie said. “During the past half century, the company has changed tremendously, moving from the media communication industry to becoming the world’s pest control leader. The company has built its success on never losing sight of its founding principles of integrity, hard work, innovation, and dedication, which has benefitted its customers and employees. I am extremely privileged to have been part of this journey.”

At a luncheon prior to the closing bell, Tippie and Rollins learned they were inducted into the NYSE Wall of Fame, an honor only 15 other people have received, including Warren Buffett and Jamie Dimon. The recognition "salutes those possessing the passion and insight to drive companies to new heights or create breakthrough business models where none existed before. They are the trailblazers, the spark lighters, the innovators," the plaque reads.

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