News Service


Jim Melsa, Engineering, (515) 294-5935
Thomas Mitchell, ISU Foundation, (515) 294-4607
Skip Derra, News Service, (515) 294-4917


AMES, Iowa -- Gary Hoover, a 1961 Iowa State engineering graduate, and his wife, Donna of Omaha, Neb., have donated $3 million toward construction of the Engineering Teaching and Research Complex (ETRC) phase II building. The ETRC is the largest capital project ever undertaken by Iowa State University.

The gift will be announced by ISU President Martin Jischke during halftime of the Cyclones' football season opener, Sept. 2.

"The ETRC is a very visible sign of the changes taking place at Iowa State and is an integral part of our continued preeminence in engineering education," Jischke said. "This generous gift will have a significant impact on future generations of engineers well into the 21st century."

"ETRC will have a dramatic effect on the way ISU engineering students learn, on the growth and relevance of engineering research programs, and on ISU's effectiveness in technology transfer and continuing education," added ISU Engineering Dean Jim Melsa.

In honor of the donation, Jischke said the proposed name of the building will be Gary and Donna Hoover Hall, pending approval by the Board of Regents, State of Iowa.

"Iowa State's College of Engineering is a world-wide leader in engineering education and research," said Gary Hoover. "I am pleased to team with my alma mater and bring a new level of educational opportunities to bright young men and women who will be the leaders of tomorrow."

"The engineering fundamentals I learned at Iowa State are the most important factors in my professional career," Hoover added. "I've always stayed closely connected with the mechanical engineering department people at Iowa State. It's very heart warming to see a university moving the way Iowa State is. The leadership, new facilities, professors and chairs are very encouraging. This university is destined for great accomplishments in the future."

Gary Hoover, who received an ISU degree in mechanical engineering, retired in 1995 as vice president of Tenaska, Inc. He along with Howard Hawks, Tom Hendricks, and Max Williams started the company in 1987 to design, develop, construct and operate large-scale power plants. Donna Hoover was also a part of the start-up team, providing critical administrative and clerical skills in the company's early years.

Prior to starting Tenaska, Gary Hoover spent 20 years in leadership positions as an engineer with Westinghouse. He is a member of Pi Tau Sigma, Tau Beta Pi, and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies.

In addition to providing financial support for both phases of the ETRC, the Hoovers have assisted the ISU athletic program, funding scholarships, a skybox, the Jacobson Building and Howe Hall. They are members of the Order of the Knoll, ISU's most prestigious donor recognition club. Gary also serves on the Alumni Association Board of Directors.

"With this leadership gift, we can begin construction of Phase II next spring while we continue to raise private funds for ETRC's rooms, laboratories and equipment, including a $6-million advanced virtual reality facility," Melsa said.

Phase I of the ETRC -- Stanley and Helen Howe Hall -- will be dedicated on October 23. Classes are expected to be held there starting next spring.

Phase II will feature high-tech classrooms and team rooms, instructional and research laboratory space and an auditorium. It will be home to the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the Office of Engineering Computing Support Services. It will be connected by skywalks to Howe Hall and the Black Engineering building.

"The measure of one's worth is the degree to which he or she has made a difference in the lives of others," said Tom Mitchell, president of the ISU Foundation. "This gift will touch the lives of many in the years to come. We are very grateful for the Hoovers' selfless act of leadership."

The $63.3-million ETRC is the largest capital project in ISU history. It is being funded by private gifts ($29.9 million), the State of Iowa ($31.9 million) and a federal grant ($1.5 million).

Announcement of the Hoovers' gift will be part of the kick off of Iowa State's year-long celebration, Advancing Technology to Become the Best. The gift supports the ISU Foundation's Campaign Destiny: To Become the Best, the largest private fund-raising campaign in ISU history. The $425-million initiative is scheduled to conclude in June 2000.

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