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Release: Feb. 5, 2001

Dubuque-area students benefit from scholarship

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- A desire to aid high school students from his hometown has led a former Dubuque-area educator and his wife to fully endow a scholarship at the University of Iowa.

The James R. and Zoe E. Connor Scholarship, created by the Connors’ $100,000 gift to the University of Iowa Foundation, provides a permanent scholarship for deserving graduates of Dubuque Senior High School. The annual scholarship was awarded this academic year for the first time to Richard Kirkendall, a UI freshman majoring in music.

Creating the scholarship was a way for Connor to demonstrate his appreciation for a UI education that has served him for half a century. It was also a way to help Dubuque-area students experience the same educational benefit. "I wanted to recognize both institutions with a single gift," James Connor said. "I’m grateful for the excellent education I received at Dubuque Senior High and the University of Iowa. I hope this scholarship helps students complete their studies at the university."

"This support will help build scholarship support for generations of exceptional Dubuque students attending the University of Iowa," said Mark Warner, UI’s director of student financial aid.

The Connor Scholarship is awarded to a Dubuque Senior High graduate who is a member of the National Honor Society and has the highest GPA of Dubuque students attending the UI. The scholarship is renewable for up to three years.

James Connor earned a UI degree in liberal arts in 1951 and master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Wisconsin. He was chancellor of the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater from 1974 to 1991, and provost, academic vice president and professor of history at Western Illinois University. He also held administrative and teaching posts at universities in California, Illinois, Virginia and Wisconsin. Before retiring, he served as executive director of the James S. Kemper Foundation, an independent, charitable organization based in Long Grove, Ill.

Zoe Connor, a native of Belgrade, Yugoslavia, met her husband following World War II while working as an interpreter for the Allied Military Government. She held numerous volunteer appointments at institutions where her husband worked. At the University of Wisconsin in Whitewater, Zoe Connor also served as associate to the chancellor, a volunteer staff member of the administrative team.

The Connors have supported numerous UI programs and are members of the Presidents Club, the honor club recognizing the UI’s most generous contributors.

The Connor 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.