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Director of Development
Intercollegiate Athletics-Endowment
UI Foundation News
500 Levitt Center for University Advancement
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-3305 or (800) 648-6973

Release: Oct. 29, 1999

Endowed scholarship in UI wrestling honors Manchester couple

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The late John and Dorothy Sill, longtime avid fans of Iowa wrestling, have immortalized their support for the program with a fitting legacy -- an endowed scholarship for a UI wrestler excelling in athletics, academics, and citizenship.

The Sills provided the endowment in a generous estate gift to the University of Iowa Foundation.

Bob Bowlsby, University of Iowa men’s athletic director, says the scholarship is an appropriate tribute to two outstanding Hawkeye wrestling supporters. "John and Dorothy Sill were a part of Iowa wrestling for more than 30 years," he said. "This scholarship in their name frees up valuable resources for Coach Jim Zalesky and his staff to use in other vital ways to maintain the Iowa wrestling tradition that was so important to the Sills."

Coach Zalesky agrees. "Endowed scholarships are increasingly important in today’s athletics. It’s a great honor to have the Sills’ scholarship because they meant so much to the Iowa program over the years," said Zalesky. "They were there ever since UI wrestling started on the rise."

John Sill, an Iowa native and successful insurance agent who died in 1989, was president of the Delaware County I-Club and for years helped host the annual Iowa wrestling banquet in Manchester. His son Duane Sill of Manchester, who earned his undergraduate degree at the UI in 1972 and an MA in education at the UI in 1973, reports that his father never missed home wrestling meets and in 20 years missed only two NCAA national tournaments because of illness.

Dorothy Sill was also a fervent fan and carried on the tradition, attending the national tournaments to cheer on the Hawkeyes each year until her death in May 1999 -- a run of almost 30 years.

The Sills considered the Iowa wrestlers members of the family and often kept in touch with them for years after the wrestlers graduated. To the Sills, performance in meets was only part of what made an outstanding athlete. To reflect that sentiment, the John H. Sill Award is given in their honor each season to the "most dedicated wrestler -- on and off the mat."

Duane Sill says his parents intended the new scholarship to honor the same values.

The first recipient of the John and Dorothy Sill Wrestling Scholarship is Gabe McMahan, the starter at 174 pounds.

The Hawkeye Visions Endowment Program seeks to endow scholarships for all the starting positions in men’s and women’s athletics at Iowa and secure a strong and competitive future for University of Iowa sports.

For more information about how to establish a named scholarship, contact Andy Piro, the University of Iowa Foundation’s director of development for intercollegiate athletics, at (319) 335-3305 or toll-free at (800) 648-6973.

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