CONTACT: MICHAEL NEW
Vice President, Development Programs or
Vice President, Communications and Administration
UI Foundation News
Iowa City IA 52242
(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.