CONTACT: DAVE DIERKS
Assistant Vice President, Principal Gifts
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
Former UI athlete donates $1 million for scholarships
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- A generous contribution from a
late University of Iowa graduate who was a Hawkeye football player will fund
three scholarships for UI students. The University of Iowa Foundation received
more than $1 million from the estate of William "Bill" R. Fenton, establishing
the Bill and John Fenton Scholarship Funds.
The scholarship endowment, named for Bill Fenton and
his late brother, John, will benefit students in the College of Medicine and
College of Liberal Arts, and will also support athletic scholarships for students
graduating from any Iowa City high school. The Fenton brothers were Iowa City
natives who graduated from City High in Iowa City.
Dr. William S. Fenton of Cincinnati, Ohio, Bill R.
Fenton's nephew and son of John C. Fenton, said the University of Iowa and
Iowa City held a special place in his father's and uncle's hearts. "I know
my dad would be very proud to be remembered this way. Even though they moved
from Iowa City long ago, Dad and Uncle Bill were really always Hawkeyes,"
William S. Fenton said. "They believed education was very important. My uncle
was always very generous, so it was natural that he would want to honor his
alma mater in a way that would benefit so many others."
"The scholarships will be awarded for the first time
for the 2001-2002 academic year, and will provide needed scholarship support
for students attending the UI," said Dr. Robert P. Kelch, dean of the UI College
of Medicine. "Support for students is critical, particularly at a time when
universities nationwide are competing for the best students. The Fenton family
commitment to the UI will help many students meet the financial requirements
of an education. Scholarship aid helps bring students to the University of
Iowa and helps them excel at Iowa and beyond."
Born just 11 months apart in 1931 and 1932, the Fenton
brothers were a part of Iowa City athletic history. Both went on to graduate
from the University of Iowa, Bill in 1954 and John in 1953, and both received
M.D. degrees from the UI College of Medicine.
Bill also became a Hawkeye football legend, playing
defensive end for the celebrated coach Forest Evashevski, while maintaining
a 4.0 grade point average. He lettered three years and served as team captain.
Bill was also named most valuable player twice and an academic All-American.
In a tribute to Fenton in the Saturday Evening Post
titled "The Best Player I Ever Coached," Evashevski said Bill was not
the best athlete he had coached, but he was the "finest."
Bill, who graduated 50 years ago from City High this
year, also earned first team all-state high school honors in football and
basketball and was co-valedictorian of his class. After completing his
medical training at the UI, Bill served for five years in the U.S. Air Force
during the Korean War and worked 27 years as an emergency room physician at
Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Santa Clara, Calif.
Bill died of prostate cancer in 1999 at age 66, just
five days before he was to be inducted into the City High Hall of Fame. The
school honored its graduate posthumously at a ceremony held in October 1999.
John C. Fenton, Bill's older brother, was also a star
athlete at City High, lettering in football, basketball and baseball. He also
earned a freshman letter in basketball at the UI. John was a cardiologist
in Cincinnati, Ohio, until his death in 1980 of leukemia.
Bill was a generous contributor to the College of
Medicine, the Hawkeye Arena/Recreation Campaign and other UI programs. He
was also a member of The Presidents Club, the University's highest honor club
for its most generous contributors.
The Fenton gift is part of the University's planned
comprehensive campaign to advance the UI's strategic goals for the years 2000-2005.
The 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; support eight new educational and research facilities; fund
outreach and service programs to benefit individuals, families and communities
throughout the state of Iowa; build the UI's endowment; and launch 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.