Iowa State University

Phyllis Peters, ISU Foundation, (515) 294-8681
Steve Jones, News Service, (515) 294-4778


AMES, Iowa -- Gifts from an Iowa couple and a Florida woman add $1.1 million to an Iowa State University scholarship program providing full-tuition awards to 100 students from across the state.

The Iowa couple, who wish to remain anonymous, this week gave a $900,000 cash gift to support ISU's Opportunity Awards fund, which provides $2,500 scholarships to at least one new freshman from every Iowa county each year.

"The couple said they had heard about the new scholarship program that ISU initiated this year, and they wanted to support Iowa students who need a boost to succeed in their dream of earning a degree from a major university," said Murray Blackwelder, president of the ISU Foundation.

At the same time, Helen Dilworth, Miami, Fla., contributed $200,000 to ISU to support four students with Opportunity Awards, which will be named for Dilworth. Although she is not an alumna, she has been a generous ISU supporter. Last year she created a scholarship fund to support 12 of ISU's National Merit Scholars with full-expense scholarships.

"Iowans believe that everyone has the potential to succeed when given the opportunity," said ISU President Martin Jischke. "At Iowa State, we are giving that opportunity to 100 new students each year through our Opportunity Awards program that started with the Christina Hixson awards.

"We're grateful that our anonymous donors and Mrs. Dilworth share our pride in these students. By choosing to add generous financial commitments to our Opportunity Awards program, these donors will ensure that more deserving students will benefit from the awards each year."

The Christina Hixson Opportunity Awards program was created last February with a $5 million gift from the Lied Foundation Trust of Las Vegas, Nev. Opportunity Awards are intended for students who, if not for the awards, might not otherwise be able to attend ISU.

As a condition of the Lied gift, ISU officials agreed to raise an additional $2 million from other contributors. In addition to the two gifts totaling $1.1 million, alumni and friends have contributed another $400,000 toward the $2 million goal.

The $1.1 million in contributions will be added to the permanent endowment managed by the Iowa State University Foundation. A portion of the interest earned annually from the gifts will fund Opportunity Awards for 22 students -- 18 from the anonymous gift and four from the Dilworth gift. The anonymous donors have designated that eight of the students be selected from the following counties: Emmet, Dickinson, Decatur, Ringgold, Clarke, Adair, Benton and Mahaska.

Most of the 100 freshmen who are the first recipients of Hixson Opportunity Awards plan to visit their local high schools during the current semester break to encourage students to apply for next year's program. Applications are available through high schools and each of ISU's Extension Service offices. The deadline is March 20, 1996.

Contributions for the Hixson Opportunity Awards are part of ISU's President's Scholarship Campaign -- a $26 million fund- raising effort designed to raise endowment gifts for the university's priority scholarships. Gift commitments totaling more than $16 million have been raised since the drive was launched nine months ago.