When you first came
to the University, it was understood that generating funds would be an
important part of your duties. Have you found that to be true?
Any president these days, of either a private or public university, finds
it extremely important to make sure there are a variety of revenue streams
coming in to the university. Theres no one source that can support
the needs of a big research university such as Iowa. Along with tuition
dollars, the state provides important support, and research funding provides
support. Giving is also increasingly importantits a source
that can do things that no other source will do. We always talk about
it this way: if you have a strong base from other sources, you can use
gift money to build excellence where the other sources cannot do it. Were
very good at leveraging our resourcesthat is, using one source to
build funds from another source.
One of your major emphases has been to build money for scholarships
for students. That would seem to be an especially attractive area of giving,
from a parents point of view.
It is. Many people who I meet have seen that the experience of attending
Iowa changed them and opened possibilities for them. Many of our alumni
were the first in their families to go to college. They understand as
they look back, whether theyre still active in their careers, just
retired, or long retired, that their experience at the University made
everything possible. They often express their gratitude and tell me that
they hope to be able to make the same opportunities possible for current
students. I talk to many people about their need to give back, their legacyhow
they want to be remembered. They want to establish a fund perhaps to give
students the ability to go to conferences or study abroad. Its really
heartwarming for me. I get to go back and see what gives them their passion
and what they have achieved in their lives.
You mentioned scholarships for undergraduates studying abroad. This
seems to be an increasingly popular part of students college careers.
Does the availability of scholarships have a major impact in making it
possible for students to go abroad?
We are emphasizing study abroad more in advising and publications, and
our student numbers are increasing quite rapidly. But I believe the other
driver of that student interest is the number of study-abroad possibilities
in countries that our students never would have gone to before. Our students
are studying all over Asia now. Theyre in eastern European countries
that werent open to us 10 years ago. Theyre studying interesting
languages and really pushing themselves. We have the International Business
Certificate now, where students learn a countrys language and then
go to that country to study its economy and business structure. Engineering
has a focus on international projects and tours of other countries. Its
been a convergence of the globalization of the world and the realization
that so many companies highly prize graduates with international experience
as employees. Almost any subject you can think of can be studied in other
Is there a fund that supports study abroad scholarships?
The University of Iowa Foundation has a number of funds available to help
students with international experiences. If we can offer a student $1,000
for air travel, it may make the difference between going or not going.
When you think about it, a student studying abroad is not paying for room
and board here, so if you can pay for travel, there isnt much difference
between what the student would spend here and what is paid for study abroad.
Parents arent paying double when their student studies in another
country. In many cases the cost is just about the same as it would have
been if they were here. When you think about the value received for that
money, its quite remarkable.
We have an excellent
International Programs office here. Parents may be concerned about what
we know about these programs abroad. We do a great deal of research and
we take it very seriously. If they are staying in homes, we make sure
we know that the homes are approved. Our students safety is very
Every fall we get to know a new group of Presidential Scholars. Why
has it been so important to you to expand the top scholarship programs
such as the Presidential, the Deans Scholarships, Opportunity Scholarships,
and those for students with specific skills such as art and music?
number of Presidential Scholarships has more than doubled, from 20 to
50, since I came here. Since each is renewable for three years, it is
really 200 scholarships. These scholarships almost always come from gifts.
We received a gift about five years ago from the Miller Foundation of
$11 million, and that has grown rather substantially. We commit a portion
of the earnings from that endowment for Presidential Scholarships. Individuals
have endowed Presidential Scholarships, too, by giving the University
enough money that the interest on it will support a scholarship. Weve
been inventive about the ways that weve funded scholarships, but
were always in need of more money in this area. Even small contributions
Its one of
the most important areas of giving. Our goal is to make sure that no qualified
student is prevented from coming for financial reasons. The help may be
a scholarship, or it may be work-study, a fellowship, or a loan. Whatever
it is, we want to put together the financial package to make it possible.
The other exciting thing about the top scholarships is that the winners
set the standard and that helps everybody. They raise the expectations
of all students. We have about 10 applications for every Presidential
Scholarship, and they come from amazing students that we would love to
enroll. So the more we can expand these programs, the better the University
People tend to think of athletic scholarships, too. We have had some
very good scholars go through in athletics recently.
One who comes to mind is Matt Reischl, who was the No. 1 graduate in the
business school, a 4.0 student, and a member of the varsity football team.
Hes a financial analyst in New York City now. Kyle Galloway, who
is on the basketball team, is a Presidential Scholar. Its not unusual
at all for our athletes to be outstanding students. Weve had a number
of athletic scholarships endowed recently, so students get the benefit
of an endowed position. This helps us recruit the kinds of student athletes
that we wantstudents who are excellent scholars and excellent athletes.