Thomas Mitchell, ISU Foundation, (515) 294-4607
Steve Sullivan, News Service, (515) 294-3720


AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State University has announced the creation of the Robert and Jean Watson Endowed Advancement Education Program.

The new mentoring program for college students planning development careers was announced by ISU President Martin Jischke on Thursday, March 30, at a retirement reception honoring Robert Watson, associate vice president and director of leadership gifts at the Iowa State University Foundation, and his wife, Jean.

Funded through an endowment established with private donations, the mentoring program is the first of its kind at Iowa State and in Iowa.

"It’s been a great year of successes for Iowa State, and Bob and Jean Watson are another team to add to our list of winners. We can’t begin to measure the ways they have enhanced this university," said ISU President Martin Jischke.

"This new program emphasizes the same ideals that Bob Watson so steadfastly adhered to during his outstanding career: integrity, ethics, high moral standards and professionalism," said Jischke. "Bob’s exceptional legacy at Iowa State will continue through an internship program for junior or senior students, a fellowship program for graduate students and a career development program for young professionals."

Watson joined the ISU Foundation in 1984 as controller after serving 24 years in the military. In 1985, he became manager and then director of planned giving. He developed and implemented a new approach to fundraising that involved establishing a national network of distinguished alumni and friends to reach out to prospective donors. He became associate vice president and director of leadership gifts in 1998.

"During his years of service to Iowa State, Bob and Jean have earned the respect and admiration of alumni and friends, university and college administrators, faculty, staff and Cyclone supporters everywhere," said Tom Mitchell, ISU Foundation president.

"Bob is a role model for every current and future advancement professional. That is why we are so excited to develop this nationally leading program to recognize and continue Bob’s commitment to excellence," said Mitchell.

The Robert and Jean Watson Endowed Advancement Education Program will offer six-month internships or fellowships with the ISU Foundation. The program will seek applicants nationwide. The internship will be available to juniors and seniors working toward a degree or career in development. The fellowship will be available to graduate students working toward a master’s or doctoral degree in philanthropy, public administration (non-profit focus) or other related fields of study. Interested students should contact the ISU Foundation.

Applications will be due in August for January-June appointments and in February for July-December appointments. Candidates will go through a selection process involving interviews, visitations ,and references.

Individuals selected for the internship and fellowship programs will receive training in fund-raising, gift management, advancement information systems, events and communications.

Another component of the program will provide career development opportunities for employees starting new careers in advancement at the ISU Foundation.


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