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UI Foundation News
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Release: Immediate

(NOTE TO MEDIA: The official Levitt Center "ribbon-cutting" ceremony will be at approximately 3:15 p.m. Saturday, May 9 at the building's south entrance, which faces Hancher Auditorium. UI President Mary Sue Coleman, UI Foundation President Darrell Wyrick, benefactors Richard and Jeanne Levitt, lead design architect Charles Gwathmey, and other principals will be available for photos and/or brief interviews. Following the ribbon-cutting, members of The Presidents Club and other invited guests will tour the building; the media also are welcome to tour at that time.)

UI Foundation board names Levitt Center rotunda in Wyrick's honor

IOWA CITY, IOWA -- One of the most dramatic public spaces within the UI's new Levitt Center for University Advancement will be named in honor of University of Iowa Foundation president Darrell D. Wyrick. The naming announcement will be made at the annual spring meeting of the UI Foundation board of directors Friday, May 8.

Wyrick joined the foundation as its first full-time employee in 1962, was named executive director in 1966, and has served as its first and only president since 1981.

The Levitt Center will be officially dedicated Saturday, May 9 as part of the annual assembly of The Presidents Club, the University's honor club for its most generous contributors. A community open house has been tentatively scheduled for Saturday, June 13.

"The Wyrick Rotunda helps give the Levitt Center its distinctive architectural profile and symbolizes the University's farsighted advancement goals," said the foundation's chairman, David J. Fisher of Des Moines. "In determining how to honor Darrell Wyrick's 36-year legacy of foundation leadership, we could think of no more fitting area in the new building to carry his name because Darrell has been chiefly responsible for building the UI Foundation into the distinctive, high-quality, and pace-setting organization it is today. Thousands of alumni and friends of the university will be hosted every month at events in the Wyrick Rotunda."

Wyrick, 64, of Iowa City, will retire later this year when a new foundation president is named following a nationwide search, which is nearing completion. Wyrick has said that bringing the Levitt Center to fruition has been a highly satisfying capstone to an eventful career.

"My family and I are deeply moved that the board of directors has chosen to honor my years with the foundation in this way," Wyrick said. "I am especially pleased that the Wyrick name will be permanently associated with those of Richard and Jeanne Levitt, whose early and generous commitment to the building project helped assure its success."

The Levitts, of Des Moines and Minneapolis, are UI graduates who have been long-time supporters of and volunteers for the university. Richard Levitt has served on the foundation board of directors since 1976, was the foundation's vice chair from 1980 to 1983, and served as board chair from 1984 to 1987. He also is a member of the board of trustees of the Iowa Law School Foundation and serves on the UI Museum of Art Advisory Committee. Richard Levitt retired as vice chairman of Norwest Corporation in 1987 and is chairman of the board of Nellis Corporation of Rockville, Maryland, a private capital management company.

Located just northwest of Hancher Auditorium, overlooking the UI arts campus, the Levitt Center houses the more than 200 employees of the UI Foundation, the UI Alumni Association, and the UI Division of Alumni Records and Services. In addition to providing office and meeting space for the three organizations, the building will serve as the center of advancement-related activities for the entire university, including large-scale gatherings such as alumni reunions, fund-raising campaign events, meetings of campaign and alumni advisory boards, and similar functions. Nearly 40 percent of the Levitt Center is devoted to meeting and entertainment space. Although the building will not be used as an academic conference center, it will help free up other campus facilities for these purposes.

Designed by the architectural team of Gwathmey Siegel and Associates Architects of New York and Brooks Borg Skiles Architecture Engineering of Des Moines, the 112,000-square-foot Levitt Center consists of a three-level office block; a top floor featuring large assembly halls, catering facilities, and a circular board room; and the dramatic, five-story, glass-block Wyrick Rotunda on the building's east end. The Levitt Center is being funded entirely by private gifts made to the foundation by alumni, friends, and employees who have directed their support to the building project, as well as by a grant from the UI Alumni Association.

The University of Iowa Foundation is the preferred channel for private contributions to all areas of the University of Iowa. Foundation staff work with alumni, friends and businesses to provide support for student scholarships, faculty development, facilities improvements, research funds, and other important needs throughout the UI.