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

Release: Oct. 4, 2001

International writers to benefit from new scholarship at UI

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The state of Iowa and the rest of the world will grow a little closer, thanks to a gift from Cedar Rapids native William B. Quarton to the University of Iowa's prestigious International Writing Program (IWP).

Cuban writer Norge Espinosa will attend the program this fall as the first recipient of the William B. Quarton International Writing Program Scholarship. Quarton made his gift, which each year will provide $12,500 to a selected international writer, through the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation.

The Quarton scholarship will be announced publicly at the opening of the second annual IWP Festival, "Lost and Found: The Art of Translation," on Friday, Oct. 12. Quarton and Espinosa will attend the event, along with David Roosevelt, president and CEO of the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation.

The IWP is a major force for literary and social interaction among members of the UI community, Iowans and writers from around the world. Founded in 1967 by Iowa poet Paul Engle and Chinese novelist Hualing Nieh Engle, the program has brought nearly 1,000 writers to the UI from more than 115 countries.

Radio and television entrepreneur William B. Quarton, a Cedar Rapids native, started his career in the 1920's as an office manager in one of Thomas Edison's offices in New York. He returned to his hometown where he joined WMT radio and later founded WMT-TV (now KGAN-TV), and was a co-founder of Cable Communications of Iowa. Inducted into the Junior Achievement of East Central Iowa Business Hall of Fame, Quarton is a long-time supporter of the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City communities.

"I met Paul Engle in 1931 and was fascinated by his idea to have writers from around the world come to Iowa," Quarton said. "I think it's good for the writers to experience life in the Midwest, and it's good for Iowa and the university that these writers come and share their unique perspectives with us. It's good for all of us."

Said IWP director Christopher Merrill, "Mr. Quarton's generous gift helps ensure that the IWP can continue to bring to Iowa the most talented and diverse groups of writers from around the world."

The Quarton 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 scholarships and endowed faculty chairs and professorships; fund outreach and service programs to benefit individuals, families and communities throughout the state of Iowa; support new educational and research facilities; 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.