News Service


Ben Allen, College of Business, (515) 294-2422
John McCarroll, University Relations, (515) 294-6137
Thomas J. Mitchell, ISU Foundation, (515) 294-4607


AMES, Iowa -- A $10 million gift from Russell and Ann Gerdin of Coralville, Iowa, will launch a $35.5 million initiative for Iowa State University's College of Business, ISU President Martin C. Jischke announced today in the Memorial Union Great Hall.

"This gift represents an incredible investment for the future of Iowa State in terms of not only educating students who will be business leaders but also in the ways Iowa State can develop a stronger economy for the state of Iowa," said Jischke.

"In selecting Iowa State to receive their magnificent gift, the Gerdins have indicated their faith in this university's ability to become a business education leader in the 21st century. For their vision and support, Iowa State today launches an aggressive effort to pursue a new facility that we recommend be named the Gerdin Business Building," Jischke added.

"My wife and I are strong advocates that education, especially of young people, is the key to improving our state and nation. We believe that Iowa State, under the dynamic leadership of President Jischke and Dean Ben Allen, is strongly positioned to make a difference in the future of business graduates," said Russell Gerdin, a member of the College of Business Advisory Council.

Gerdin is president, chairman and chief executive officer of Heartland Express, Inc., Coralville, a trucking firm he founded in 1978. The company has been listed in "Forbes" magazine's "Best 200 Small Companies in America" 10 times in the past 11 years. He and his wife, Ann, support several community projects including the Variety Club of Iowa, Special Olympics, Iowa City Children's Museum, Solon Library, and the Shriners Children's Hospital.

"We feel that the key to the next century is education," said Russell Gerdin. "That's why at Heartland, we have established a children's college education fund for employees with 10 years or more of service. It has been our desire to be fortunate enough to give toward the advancement of higher education, particularly in Iowa. We made the gift to Iowa State because we feel it is heading in the right direction. And for the College of Business to grow, its number one priority need is a dedicated, prominent facility."

The $35.5 million College of Business initiative signals a new era of growth for Iowa State's youngest college, including a $21.5 million facility to be built once state and private funds become available. Other components include a $5 million faculty endowment, $4 million scholarship endowment, and $5 million for program enhancements.

The Gerdins' gift was made as part of the ISU Foundation's Campaign Destiny: To Become the Best, a $425 million initiative to raise resources for the University's aspiration to become the best land-grant university in the nation. It is the largest ever made to the College of Business.

"This gift shows the impact of Campaign Destiny toward achieving the goals of our strategic plan, as have other leadership gifts for many of our colleges including Engineering, Agriculture, Design, Family and Consumer Sciences, and Liberal Arts and Sciences," Jischke said. "Now, our College of Business is pursuing its vision to become the best. Through this initiative, Iowa State's ability to serve the business education needs of Iowans will improve significantly. It will create the type of learning environment that enhances dynamic interaction between the business community and our students and faculty."

"The faculty, staff and students greatly appreciate this extraordinary gift from Russ and Ann Gerdin," said College of Business Dean Benjamin Allen. "This gift serves as a significant affirmation of what we are doing in the College of Business and provides us with great opportunities and challenges to continue developing relevant programs and curricula for our 3,200 students. The Gerdins, while not ISU alumni themselves, provide a special challenge to our 18,000 College of Business alumni to invest their time and resources so the overall financial goal of this exciting initiative can be reached."

The College of Business was created in 1984. It offers undergraduate programs in accounting, finance, management, management information systems, marketing and transportation and logistics. The college also offers a full-time, on-campus MBA program and a Saturday MBA program. Graduate degrees also are offered in industrial relations and business administrative services.

Currently located in Carver Hall, the College of Business faces space limitations and technological constraints for classes, outreach, and research. Several programs are located off campus, including the Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship and the Small Business Development Center. Carver also can't physically accommodate the almost 300 corporations that visit campus annually to recruit ISU business graduates.

"The new facility to be located in a highly visible area of campus will advance the college to one of the top 50 business schools in the nation and position it to achieve 'top 10' status among comparable land-grant institutions," Jischke said.

The $35.5 million College of Business initiative involves public and private funding, with $10 million coming from the state and the remainder from private sources. The Iowa Board of Regents approved the proposal in September.


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