Iowa State University

Arnold van der Valk, Botany, (712) 337-8043 or (515) 294-2488
Judy Thoreson, Friends of Lakeside Lab Inc., (712) 332-2004
Steve Jones, News Service, (515) 294-4778


MILFORD, Iowa -- A $500,000 gift from the Andrea and Norman Waitt Jr. Foundation, Dakota Dunes, S.D., will help fund a new water-quality laboratory and classroom facility at the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory, located at West Okoboji Lake.

The gift includes a $300,000 donation for the construction of the water-quality research and environmental-education building, which will be named for the Waitts. When the facility becomes operational, an additional $200,000 gift will go into an endowment fund to operate and sustain programs at the laboratory.

The $300,000 gift is the lead donation in a $710,000 fund- raising campaign by the Friends of Lakeside Lab Inc., Milford. Friends of Lakeside Lab Inc. supports the programs and efforts of the Lakeside Laboratory by raising funds, providing scholarships to students at the lab and broadening the relationship between the Lab and the people in the Iowa Great Lakes area, said Judy Thoreson, the organization's president.

"We are proud to have this opportunity to work with the Friends of Lakeside Lab in helping fund this exciting and important educational and environmental project," said Andrea Waitt. "It will improve the quality of life for all of us in the Iowa Great Lakes region."

The Andrea and Norman Waitt Jr. Foundation is a private family foundation established in 1991. Norm Waitt Jr. is president of Norman Waitt Jr. Enterprises and co-founded Gateway 2000, the nation's leading direct marketer of microcomputers. Andrea Holtze Waitt is an active civic leader, serving on community boards, and is a strong advocate for environmental and animal welfare issues.

Scientists from Iowa universities, teachers and students from local schools and other interested persons will use the state- of-the-art laboratory, said Arnold van der Valk, Lakeside Laboratory director and ISU professor of botany. The lab will allow scientists to study and identify water nutrients and contaminants and monitor land use. Students and the public will use the facility to learn about water quality issues.

The Iowa Lakeside Laboratory was established in 1909 as one of the first biological field stations in the United States. Today, it has one of the largest summer programs in the country. The laboratory sits on 140 acres of land that includes native and restored prairies, creeks, wetlands and forests.

The Lakeside Laboratory is cooperatively run by ISU, the University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa.

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