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Release: Dec. 2, 1999

Carver gift to help Engineering College build river-ecosystem research station

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Through a gift of $1.2 million to the University of Iowa Foundation, the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust is helping the Iowa Institute of Hydraulic Research (IIHR) at the UI College of Engineering establish the first university-affiliated, comprehensive river-research station in the world.

Mark Twain's majestic Mississippi River, which courses down the country's midsection, will serve as a natural "laboratory" for the new Mississippi Riverside Environmental Research Station (MRERS). The College of Engineering plans to build this facility along the southeast-Iowa stretch of the Mississippi River. The Board of Regents, State of Iowa, currently is considering the university's proposed site locations and will announce a location, building details and construction timetable.

"As a multidisciplinary research center, MRERS will be a resource for the College of Engineering, the University of Iowa and the state of Iowa," said V.C. Patel, director of IIHR and a University of Iowa Foundation Distinguished Professor in mechanical engineering.

By establishing this research station, the IIHR hopes to create an international, state-of-the-art facility in which to study river ecosystems and rivers' responses to natural events and human activities.

"Currently, there is no single organization dealing with the long-term impact of everything from floods and droughts to navigation and construction," Patel said. "MRERS will be a center for such studies; research results will help IIHR promote better understanding of the complex and conflicting issues involved in dealing with rivers holistically."

The IIHR, which is recognized internationally as a leader in hydraulics and hydrology, helped design a number of the Mississippi's locks and dams in the 1930s. Today, the institute draws its staff members from many disciplines, including fluid mechanics, hydraulics, hydrometeorology, water chemistry, water biology, hydrology, groundwater and geosciences.

"Because of the outstanding reputation and international leadership of the Iowa Institute of Hydraulic Research, we are confident that the Mississippi Riverside Environmental Research Station will become a premier center for the study of river ecology, river-flow engineering and environmental science," said Troy K. Ross, executive administrator of the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust. "It also will be a unique educational facility for students of all ages."

"Through generous support from the Carver Trust, the MRERS will support the educational mission of our college and of the University of Iowa," said P. Barry Butler, interim dean of the College of Engineering.

During his lifetime, Iowa industrialist and philanthropist Roy J. Carver of Muscatine contributed nearly $10 million to the University of Iowa in support of scholarships, professorships, medical research, the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, the Iowa Opportunity Fund and Iowa athletics.

Although he died in 1981, Carver's will created the Carver Charitable Trust to sustain his "commitment to helping youth through educational opportunities and to improving the quality of life through medical and scientific research."

The Carver Charitable Trust has contributed more than $28 million to UI projects across campus, including biomedical research projects, faculty research initiatives, science education, technology in the UI Libraries system, a summer engineering institute, facilities improvements and student scholarships.

The UI Foundation is the preferred channel for private contributions to all areas of the University of Iowa. Foundation staff work with alumni and friends to provide funds for facilities improvements, scholarships, professorships and other forms of UI support