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Release: Immediate

UI business professor donates teaching award for K-12 teacher scholarships

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- An associate professor of finance at the University of Iowa who is being rewarded for his excellence as a teacher in the classroom is helping boost the careers of future K-12 teachers by donating his $2,000 Collegiate Teaching Award to the UI Foundation for one-time scholarships in the College of Education.

Thomas A. Rietz, associate professor of finance in the UI College of Business Administration, wants to honor his four grandparents, three of whom taught in one-room country schools near Belmond, by giving four $500 awards to students planning careers as teachers.

The scholarships, which will be called the Educational Heritage Awards, will be given in honor of Karl and Margaret Rietz and Edna and the late R.E. Lee Aldrich Jr. Karl and Margaret Rietz and Edna Aldrich now live in Belmond.

Rietz has asked that first-generation college students be given preference for the awards.

"I would like to help others realize the opportunities that my grandparents either did not have or struggled hard to attain," Rietz says. "All of my grandparents passed on a great respect for education that continues in our family today."

Applications are currently being taken for the scholarships, which will be presented during the College of Education's annual spring awards ceremony. Application materials are due March 13.

Judith Hendershot, director of educational placement and external relations for the College of Education, says the new awards will provide an incentive to education students.

"We're delighted that Professor Rietz has chosen to set up these awards for education students," Hendershot says. "We are particularly pleased that someone who has been honored for his excellence in teaching is taking the opportunity to recognize the importance of good teaching at the K-12 level."

Rietz, a native of Cedar Falls, earned his doctorate in economics from the UI in 1988. He joined the faculty in 1993 and was named associate professor in 1996. He was named a recipient of a Collegiate Teaching Award during the fall of 1997.

Rietz regularly teaches undergraduate and graduate finance courses. He's also been active in the College of Business Administration's use of the Iowa Communications Network (ICN) to deliver courses off-campus at different sites in the state.

Of Rietz's grandparents, his paternal grandmother, Margaret Rietz, is a first generation college graduate who taught elementary students throughout her career. Her husband, Karl Rietz, did not attend college, but was supportive of his wife's career as a teacher.

Rietz's maternal grandfather, R.E. Lee Aldrich Jr., attended college, but had to leave early to work; his wife, Edna, did not attend college. Both taught in a one-room school near their farm at various times during their lives.

Rietz says all of his grandparents worked hard to ensure that their children and their grandchildren would have the opportunity to go to college.

"In some ways, we wanted to give something back in creating the scholarships," Rietz says. "This is a nice way to honor my grandparents' commitment to education."

Applications for the Educational Heritage Awards are available at the UI Office of External Relations, N302 Lindquist Center, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa 52242; phone: (319) 335-5353.