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UI Foundation News
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Phone: (319) 335-3305 or (800) 648-6973

Release: Sept. 27, 2000

$700,000 estate gift creates endowed Presidential Scholarship fund at UI

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- A generous $700,000 estate gift from UI graduates Robert F. Hansen and Velma P. Hansen will benefit a new generation of student-scholars at the University of Iowa by creating an endowed Presidential Scholarship fund.

Earnings from the gift, which will be invested through the University of Iowa Foundation, will support the Robert F. and Velma P. Hansen Presidential Scholarship Fund, one of 50 Presidential Scholarships that the UI awards each year. This scholarship is Iowa’s most prestigious; the university awards it competitively to first-year students in the top five percent of their high school classes who have ACT composite scores of 30 or more.

"Historically, we have not had the resources to reward top scholars or even good scholars," says Mark Warner, the University of Iowa’s director of student financial aid. "We need these types of high achievers because they benefit all students in the classroom and raise the bar for the entire university."

A desire to benefit students is what prompted Robert and Velma Hansen -- who had no children of their own -- to arrange this estate gift before their respective deaths in 1994 and 1999. The Atlanta, Ga. residents understood how student financial resources could improve education.

Robert Hansen received his M.D. degree from Iowa in 1934, before going on to complete a master’s degree in public health at Johns Hopkins University. Velma Hansen received a G.N. degree from the UI in 1930. Together, they began giving to the university through the foundation in 1975 -- four years after Dr. Hansen retired from a long and distinguished career with the United States Public Health Service.

The Hansen 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.