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Richard Ross, Agriculture, (515) 294-2518
Thomas Mitchell, ISU Foundation, (515) 294-4607
Steve Sullivan, News Service, (515) 294-3720


AMES, Iowa -- A personal commitment to the success of Iowa State University's College of Agriculture has led 1973 alumnus Murray R. Wise to commit $1.2 million for student scholarships and capital projects.

"Iowa State meant so much to me. It provided me with not only a great agricultural education, but also a cultural experience that's been the key to my success," Wise said. "I look at this gift as a repayment of debt to Iowa State."

Wise is a leader in agricultural asset management through his company, Westchester Group, Inc., headquartered in Champaign, Ill. He and his wife, Valerie, of Champaign and Naples, Fla., have already made gifts totaling $200,000 to endow two scholarships in the College of Agriculture.

"The generosity of Murray and Valerie Wise is an indication of their belief in Iowa State and the continued strength of our College of Agriculture," said Gregory Geoffroy, Iowa State president. "Their support is deeply appreciated and will benefit generations of Iowa State students."

The Wises established the scholarships through the Iowa State University Foundation as the Westchester Foundation Scholarship, named after the company Murray Wise founded, and the Murray R. Wise Agriculture Scholarship. Annual earnings will support students in the College of Agriculture who have a strong desire to further their agricultural knowledge and to expand the benefits of agriculture to mankind throughout the world, according to the donors.

"I have a vision of literally helping students and helping Iowa State," said Murray Wise. "That money will make a difference to some aspiring student to make something of his or her life. And with the recent tuition increases, financial assistance for students is just so important."

In addition to their scholarship gifts, the Wises have made a $1 million estate gift to support facilities for the College of Agriculture's students and faculty.

"Murray and Valerie Wise are far-sighted donors who truly have the College's best interests in mind," said Dr. Richard Ross, dean. "When donors make estate provisions, they provide us with a more secure future."

Murray Wise grew up on a grain and livestock farm near Hamilton, Ontario, and launched his career in farm management in 1976. Westchester Group, Inc., is one of the largest agricultural asset management firms in the country, currently managing more than 100,000 acres in 13 states and more than $450 million in client assets.

"President Geoffroy has spoken often about the need to 'invest in people,' " said Tom Mitchell, ISU Foundation president and CEO. "We find that this need resonates with so many of our successful, dedicated alumni and friends, like the Wises."

The Iowa State University Foundation is a private, non-profit corporation dedicated to securing and managing gifts and grants that benefit Iowa State University.


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