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Release: March 19, 1999

Bequests provide nearly $6 million in financial aid for UI students from SE Iowa

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- At a news conference held at the University of Iowa on March 19, Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, UI President Mary Coleman, and University of Iowa Foundation President Michael New announced that two bequests totaling nearly $6 million have been made to the UI Foundation for financial aid to UI students from southeast Iowa. The estate gifts -- one of which is the largest ever received by the foundation for student financial aid -- will result in several new all-expenses-paid UI student scholarships.

The $3.9 million bequest from the estate of Keokuk natives Clyde W. James and Frances James will fund scholarships for students attending the UI from high schools in Des Moines, Henry, Jefferson, Lee and Van Buren counties in southeast Iowa, as well as those transferring to the University of Iowa from Southeastern Community College in Keokuk. Clyde James died in 1969, and Frances James died in 1997.

A bequest of nearly $2 million from Berenice Gardner, a native of Bonaparte, will benefit the Robert Nelson Cresap and Nan Walther Cresap Memorial Fund at the UI Foundation. Gardner created this endowed scholarship fund in 1996 in memory of her parents, who were strong proponents of higher education. Preference for scholarship recipients is given to students from southeastern Iowa. Gardner died in Grinnell in January at the age of 96.

"Educational access is one of our top statewide priorities," said Vilsack. "These generous gifts will help ensure that additional deserving young people can take advantage of the excellent educational opportunities offered by the University of Iowa. We also hope this support will encourage these students to remain in Iowa to pursue their careers." Prior to his election as governor, Vilsack served as mayor of Mount Pleasant and as a senator in the Iowa legislature from the 49th District in southeast Iowa.

"We are extremely grateful for these thoughtful and generous gifts from Iowa alumni and friends," UI President Mary Sue Coleman said. "These bequests will help us meet our ambitious goals of providing additional merit-based scholarships for our best and most deserving students."
UI Foundation President Michael New said the James and Gardner gifts reflect the high priority placed on encouraging support for student aid. "Our contributors clearly understand that high-achieving students enhance the quality of the university as a whole, and that private support is essential in attracting these students to Iowa."

The Jameses grew up in Keokuk. Clyde James earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Iowa in 1927, and the couple lived for many years in Lincoln, Neb., where he worked for the Lincoln National Life Insurance Company. Mrs. James moved to Sun City, Ariz. after her husband's death in 1969.
The majority of the couple's estate was directed to the UI Foundation to create the Mr. and Mrs. Clyde W. James Scholarship Fund, in honor of their parents, Charles H. T. and Lulu W. James, and Joseph and Lydia Vander Hayden, all of Keokuk.

According to Mark Warner, the UI's director of student financial aid, four students will receive James Scholarships in August 1999. Each award will provide about $8,200 -- the cost of tuition, health and computer fees, books and supplies, and room and board at the UI for that academic year.

The number of James scholarships will grow to more than 20 in future years. Tentatively, an additional seven will be awarded in 2000, another six in 2001, and another five in 2002. The number will fluctuate, based on number of community college transfers, cost of education increases, and growth of the fund. The James Scholarship may be renewed for additional years if the recipient is a full-time student making satisfactory progress toward a bachelor's degree. First preference will be given to graduates of Keokuk High School and to graduates of Southeastern Community College's Keokuk campus.

Gardner was not a UI graduate and spent most of her nursing career in other states. But she was impressed with the quality of education at the University of Iowa and decided that including UI scholarships in her estate plans would be the best way to assure that talented students from her home state would receive a good education.

She was attending the University of Chicago in 1929 when she married Harry Gardner, a civil engineer. After he died in an automobile accident in 1937, she returned to school. Gardner earned a bachelor's degree in nursing from Case Western Reserve University in Ohio, and a master's degree in education from the University of Michigan. She practiced nursing in Flint, Mich., before she retired in 1967.
Recipients of both the James and Gardner scholarships will be selected by a committee of UI financial aid and admissions staff. For scholarship application information, contact the UI Office of Financial Aid at 319-335-1450.

The University of Iowa Foundation is the preferred channel of support for private contributions to all areas of the University of Iowa. Foundation staff members work with alumni and friends to provide support for a broad range of programs and projects at the University of Iowa.