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

Release: Dec. 7, 2000

UI students get scholarship boost

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- A Wisconsin couple with ties to the University of Iowa has made a generous commitment to the UI Foundation to benefit UI students. Katherine "Kit'' Dower Blake and Philip "Phil" Blake of Madison, Wis., created two scholarships that will support students with financial need.

The first scholarship, named the Katherine Dower Blake Scholarship, will benefit Iowa residents. A second scholarship to aid minority students has been named the Dower Opportunity at Iowa Scholarship, in memory of Kit Blake's late parents, James and Mary Katherine Dower.

The Blakes established the Katherine Dower Blake Scholarship with an outright gift. They also established a charitable remainder unitrust that will add to the scholarship fund after their deaths. This scholarship will be awarded for the first time in the 2001-2002 academic year.

The Dower Opportunity at Iowa Scholarship, which the Blakes established through a charitable lead unitrust, will support three Opportunity at Iowa (OI) scholarships for 12 academic years beginning in 2001-2002. Each Dower OI scholarship is valued at approximately $5,000 annually and is renewable for eight semesters to students in good standing.

Kit Blake, a native of Bettendorf, Iowa, graduated from the UI in 1967 with a bachelor's degree in English. Phil Blake is a Madison, Wis., based vice president of Lee Enterprises Inc. of Davenport, Iowa.

"My parents, who were both from small Iowa towns, were very proud to be graduates of the University of Iowa," Kit Blake said. "The university opened a whole new world to them. They would be very pleased that other young people will be offered similar opportunities."

Kit's parents and her grandfather were UI alumni. Her father, James W. Dower, a native of Marengo, Iowa, earned a bachelor's degree in liberal arts in 1940 and a J.D. from the College of Law in 1942. Her mother, Mary Katherine (Hurn) Dower, a native of Algona, Iowa, graduated from the UI in 1941 with a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communications. Her grandfather, James M. Dower, also graduated from the UI Law School in 1893.

The University is grateful to the Blakes, said UI Foundation President Michael New. "Their gifts are outstanding examples of private support that greatly enhance the overall quality and diversity of our student population," he said. "The Blakes have demonstrated a commitment to higher education and to Iowa students, and have used an insightful approach to giving involving a variety of methods."

Mark Warner, director of the Office of Student Financial Aid, said the Blakes' gift provides financial support for the first fully-endowed Opportunity at Iowa scholarships at the UI. "These scholarships recognize and reward under-represented students who are top scholars. The funds will also greatly facilitate their persistence at and graduation from the UI," he added.

The Blakes are generous contributors to other UI programs and are members of the Presidents Club, the UI's honor club recognizing its most generous contributors.

The Blakes' gift is part of the university's planned comprehensive campaign to advance the UI's strategic goals for the years 2000-2005. The planned comprehensive campaign, which is in its early stages and for which no final dollar goal has been established, will be conducted under the guidance of the UI Foundation and will raise funds to substantially increase the number of UI merit- and need-based scholarships, as well as the number of endowed faculty chairs and professorships. The campaign also supports eight new educational and research facilities; funds outreach and service programs benefiting individuals, families, and communities throughout the state of Iowa; building the UI's endowment; and launching new initiatives in the arts, sciences, business, health care, and other fields.

The UI Foundation is the preferred channel for private contributions to all areas of the University. Foundation staff work with alumni and friends to generate funds for scholarships, professorships, facilities improvements, equipment purchases, research, and other UI initiatives.