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John McCarroll, University Relations, (515) 294-6137
Tom Mitchell, ISU Foundation, (515) 294-6511


AMES, Iowa -- A new initiative to help students and enhance quality was announced today (Oct. 6) by Iowa State University President Gregory Geoffroy.

Titled "Investing in People," the two-year initiative will focus on raising funds for undergraduate scholarships, graduate fellowships and assistantships, and faculty support at Iowa State. The initiative was announced by Geoffroy during his installation as Iowa State's 14th president.

"I believe deeply that the quality of the university is only as good as the quality of its people, and that we must work tirelessly to bring to Iowa State University the very best faculty, students and staff, and then ensure that we keep them here when they catch the attention of others," said Geoffroy.

The ISU Foundation Board of Directors and Foundation Governors endorsed the initiative at their meetings on Sept. 27-28.

"Many of our alumni have achieved success because of their experiences at Iowa State, and our friends also recognize the life-changing opportunities our students have here," said John Lawson, chair of the ISU Foundation Board of Directors and senior vice president, technology and engineering, at Deere & Co., Moline, Ill. "We are confident our alumni and friends will embrace this initiative for our students and Iowa State."

The Investing in People initiative is consistent with the university's current fund-raising priorities, but will involve "a heightened focus" on motivating gifts for endowed scholarships, fellowships, professorships and other faculty support, said Tom Mitchell, ISU Foundation president. . Endowed gifts provide a perpetual source of funding, because the gift is invested to create a permanent fund. Only a percentage of the gift earnings is used annually to fund the scholarship, faculty support or other specified purpose. Excess earnings are re-invested in the fund, so its value can grow over time at or ahead of the rate of inflation.

Endowed scholarships may cover total or partial costs for students based on financial need, academic achievement or other criteria. Graduate assistantships which typically include a teaching or research obligation and graduate fellowships provide recognition and financial support that enable Iowa State to compete for the nation's top graduate students.

Endowed gifts for faculty positions enable Iowa State to attract and retain the nation's most outstanding scholars. These endowments may supplement the faculty member's salary or provide funds for research, graduate assistants, scholarly travel or other purposes.

Donors have provided gifts to endow 29 faculty positions at Iowa State. Private gifts also annually support scholarships for 3,500 Iowa State students. A recent example of investing in people at Iowa State is a gift from Pitt-Des Moines, Inc. to establish the Pitt-Des Moines, Inc. Endowed Professorship in Civil Engineering. This endowed faculty position, the first ever for the department of civil and construction engineering, will focus on steel construction education and research.

Another recent example is a pair of scholarships established by Murray and Valerie Wise the Westchester Foundation Scholarship, named after the company Murray Wise founded, and the Murray R. Wise Agriculture Scholarship to support students in the College of Agriculture.

The need for more support is evident, however. Last year, nearly 71 percent of Iowa State students, or 15,643 students, applied for financial assistance. These students had an average annual need of $7,000, of which only 24 percent $1,709 is met by scholarships or grants. Much of the rest is typically made up by loans and work study programs.

Graduate student assistantships have been drastically cut at Iowa State, too, placing the university at a significant disadvantage in recruiting these top young scholars to support its teaching and research missions.

Investing in People will also enable Iowa State to compete for top faculty, graduate students and undergraduates, Geoffroy said.


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Published by: University Relations, online@iastate.edu
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