Iowa State University

Martin Jischke, President, (515) 294-2042
James Melsa, College of Engineering, (515) 294-5933
Skip Derra, News Service, (515) 294-4917


AMES, Iowa -- A $7 million gift, including the single largest cash donation ever given to Iowa State University not including estate gifts, was announced Thursday, June 6, at the Holiday Inn Gateway Center, Ames.

The gift is a donation by Stanley M. and Helen Howe of Muscatine. Their $6 million cash gift will be supplemented by an additional $1 million in furniture from HON INDUSTRIES, the Muscatine company Stanley Howe has guided for almost five decades.

The donations will go to the Engineering Teaching and Research Complex, a set of buildings that will advance engineering education at ISU into the 21st century.

The Howes' gift also is the single largest cash gift to an Iowa public university, not including estate gifts.

"This is truly an important milestone for Iowa State," said President Martin Jischke. "The generosity of Stanley and Helen Howe will not only benefit Iowa State, but all of Iowa and any person who has an interest in science and engineering in the future. This gift, and what it will be used to build, is a testament to Stanley and Helen Howe's vision."

"The gift from the Howes and HON INDUSTRIES will forever change Iowa State's College of Engineering," said engineering dean James Melsa. "With their support, we will be able to change the way students learn, the course of research and how professional engineers continue their education throughout their careers."

Stanley Howe currently is chairman emeritus and a member of the board of directors at HON INDUSTRIES, a manufacturer of metal and wood office furniture and prefabricated fireplace units. On May 16, Howe retired as chairman of the company, a position he held since 1984.

Howe, a native of Muscatine, earned a B.S. degree in 1946 from Iowa State. He then earned an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, Cambridge, Mass. After graduating from Harvard, Howe returned to Muscatine to help C. Maxwell Stanley, a friend and mentor, turn the fledgling Home-O-Nize Co. into a leading manufacturer with sales of nearly $900 million in 1995.

In 1958, Howe was named to the company's board of directors. He became president in 1964 and was made chief executive officer in 1979, which he held until 1991. Howe, an industry leader, has been chairman of the Business Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association and a member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Manufacturers.

Howe has been active in civic duties including the Muscatine Development Corp., Community Health Foundation and the Boy Scout Advisory Council. He is past chairman of the Iowa Business Council and the Iowa College Foundation. He has served on the Iowa Technology Transfer Council and Iowa Research Council and was inducted into the Quad Cities Area Business Hall of Fame in 1995. He has been an ISU Foundation Governor since 1989.

Helen Howe studied general science while at Iowa State, leaving in 1949. She earned a B.A. in business administration from Iowa Wesleyan College, Mount Pleasant, in 1981. Helen Howe has been an active member of the Muscatine community, especially in the Wesley Methodist Church. She also has been a long-time member of Meals on Wheels and is a board member of the Muscatine Community College Foundation.

The Engineering Teaching and Research Complex is a futuristic set of buildings that will help educate students on the engineering principles of tomorrow.

The ETRC will integrate the use of high-tech classrooms to allow students to visualize engineering concepts in new ways. It also will be a place where students and faculty will conduct industrially relevant research projects and where ISU faculty will deal with important challenges like Iowa's deteriorating infrastructure and the safety and reliability of new products.

The $60 million ETRC will help ISU faculty extend the boundaries of education, providing advanced continuing education to Iowa's professional engineers and reaching out to young children to spark their imagination and interest in science and engineering.

The ETRC will be funded by a mix of federal, state and private funds.

Iowa State homepage

Diana Pounds, University Relations,
Copyright © 1996, Iowa State University, all rights reserved
Revised 6/6/96