Parent Times: The University of Iowa
 
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FALL 2000-01
Volume 44, Number 1

IN THIS ISSUE

Young and Old, Black and Gold

Gifts for Scholarship Help Best Students Attend

Iowa's Top Scholarship Winners

Parents Association Board of Directors

Problem-Solving 101: How to Tap University Resources

We're 44 Years Old

As Fledglings Take Flight

A Great Balancing Act

Interdisciplinary Programs: Students Set Their Own Course

Important Numbers

Parent Times Briefs

University Calendar


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. There’s 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 important–it’s 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. We’re very good at leveraging our resources–that 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 parent’s 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 they’re 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 legacy–how they want to be remembered. They want to establish a fund perhaps to give students the ability to go to conferences or study abroad. It’s 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. They’re in eastern European countries that weren’t open to us 10 years ago. They’re studying interesting languages and really pushing themselves. We have the International Business Certificate now, where students learn a country’s 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. It’s 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 countries.

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 isn’t much difference between what the student would spend here and what is paid for study abroad. Parents aren’t 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, it’s 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 important.


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 Dean’s Scholarships, Opportunity Scholarships, and those for students with specific skills such as art and music?

The 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. We’ve been inventive about the ways that we’ve funded scholarships, but we’re always in need of more money in this area. Even small contributions add up.

It’s 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 will be.

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. He’s a financial analyst in New York City now. Kyle Galloway, who is on the basketball team, is a Presidential Scholar. It’s not unusual at all for our athletes to be outstanding students. We’ve 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 want–students who are excellent scholars and excellent athletes.

 

 

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