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Director of Development, Departmental Campaigns
College of Medicine/UIHC
UI Foundation News
500 Levitt Center for University Advancement
Iowa City IA 52242
Phone: (319) 335-3305

Release: Feb. 11, 2000

UI ophthalmology graduate gives $1.5 million to UI College of Medicine

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- University of Iowa graduates, Dr. Donald H. Beisner and Judith A. Beisner, contributed $1.5 million to support medical student scholarships, renovation of UI College of Medicine instructional facilities, and the purchase of new equipment for the department of ophthalmology. The Springfield, Mo., couple's many years of giving to the UI, combined with their most recent outright contributions and future commitment, boost their total giving to the University of Iowa Foundation to nearly $2 million.

"We are very grateful to Don and Judith Beisner for their extraordinary generosity and their insightful investment in specific projects and programs," said Robert P. Kelch, dean of the UI College of Medicine. "Their gifts will have an immediate impact on our ability to effectively recruit top students and to provide state-of the art facilities."

The Beisners' commitment will:

-- Create four annual Beisner Scholar Awards for outstanding students in the College of Medicine, one at each grade level of medical student education. The couple's estate plans will allow the college to increase these to eight annual awards.

-- Renovate three lecture halls in the Bowen Science Building, which are among the most intensively used instructional facilities on the health sciences campus. The three lecture halls will be named in memory of Sarah E. Beisner, the late daughter of Don and Judy Beisner; in honor of Dr. Robert C. Watzke, a former faculty mentor in the UI department of ophthalmology now living in Oregon; and Dr. Bruce E. Spivey, former UI ophthalmology professor who is now President and CEO of Columbia Cornell Care, L.L.C., in New York City.

-- Establish an equipment fund in the UI department of ophthalmology to be used for purchasing instructional and scientific equipment.

"It's time to pay back my alma mater for a terrific education at Wal-Mart prices," said Dr. Beisner, who received a scholarship as a medical student. "My medical education at Iowa was just excellent and opened many doors, such as receiving residency acceptances from six out of six quality programs and examining for the American Board of Ophthalmology for 15 years. Judy and I believe that our support of UI medical students, faculty, equipment and facilities is an investment in the future of medical education and excellence in health care."

Donald H. Beisner grew up in Cedar Falls, Iowa. After attending Iowa State University for three years, majoring in chemical engineering, he graduated from the UI College of Medicine in 1964 and interned at Los Angeles County General Hospital. From 1965-1967, he served as a lieutenant in the Navy Medical Corps -- one year in Vietnam and one year at Long Beach Naval Hospital. He returned to the UI to complete an ophthalmology residency, earning an M.S. degree in 1970. Beisner recently retired from his surgical practice at the Missouri Eye Institute in Springfield. Judith Gardner Beisner received her B.A. degree in education from the UI in 1961 and has served in leadership positions in numerous community and philanthropic organizations

"Dr. and Mrs. Beisner have been great friends of the university for many years," says Todd L. Reding, director of development/departmental campaigns for the UI College of Medicine. "Their support is a testimony to their commitment to higher education and their love for Iowa."

The University of Iowa 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, research funds and other UI initiatives.