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Phyllis Lepke, ISU Foundation, (515) 294-4607
Rich Bundy, ISU Foundation, (515) 294-9088
Frederick L. Kirschenmann, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture,
  (515) 294-3711
Steve Sullivan, News Service, (515) 294-3720


AMES, Iowa -- A gift of $20,000 from Robert Spencer of La Crosse, Wisc., and Elaine Spencer of Seattle, Wash., will create the Norman and Margaretha Geiger Spencer Endowment at Iowa State University.

The Spencers made their gift to the Iowa State University Foundation in memory of their parents. The endowment will fund the Spencer Award for Sustainable Agriculture. The award will be given to a person who has taken a courageous position to affect, influence and advance ecological and economic stability in agricultural systems and the family farm. It will be administered by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State.

Norman Spencer graduated from Iowa State in 1940 with a degree in agricultural engineering. Margaretha Geiger Spencer received a degree from Iowa State in household equipment in 1944. Norman and Margaretha farmed in the rural Sioux City area for 40 years.

Both of their children received degrees from Iowa State. Robert earned his doctor of veterinary medicine in 1971; Elaine earned a degree in food and nutrition in 1971 and a degree from Yale Law School in 1976. Elaine practices law in Seattle and Robert is a veterinarian in La Crosse.

"It is a special honor for the Leopold Center to be given the privilege of administering the Spencer Award," said Frederick L. Kirschenmann, director of the Leopold Center. "I was struck by Robert and Elaine Spencer's tribute to their father that described how he managed his land and how he 'believed that a farmer does not really own his land . . . that he is, at most, its steward for his generation.' As soon as I read that, I knew he represented the kind of farming that Aldo Leopold would have endorsed. We are very proud to be adding this program to our work at the Leopold Center."

The Leopold Center, named for Iowa-born conservationist Aldo Leopold, was established by the 1987 Iowa Groundwater Protection Act to identify and reduce negative environmental and social impacts of farming, develop new ways to farm profitably while conserving natural resources, and share findings with the public. Funding for Center programs comes from state appropriations and from fees charged on nitrogen fertilizer and pest control chemicals sold in Iowa.

The ISU Foundation is the central fund-raising arm for Iowa State, assisting the university by securing and managing private gift support from individuals, corporations and foundations. In 2000 it completed Campaign Destiny: To Become the Best by raising more than $458 million over five years.


Iowa State University
... Becoming the Best
Ames, Iowa 50011, (515) 294-4111
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