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Senior Director of Development
UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences/Fine Arts
UI Foundation News
500 Levitt Center for University Advancement
Iowa City IA 52242
Phone: (319) 335-3305 or (800) 648-6973

Release: Dec. 18, 2002

NOTE TO EDITORS AND NEWS DIRECTORS: Coach Ferentz will take questions about this gift at his press conference on Friday, Dec. 20 at 12:30 p.m. in the Richard O. Jacobson Athletic Building on the UI campus. He will not be able to accept any calls about, or comment on, the gift before the press conference.

Photo: The Ferentz family (click here or on photo for high resolution version)

UI head football coach Kirk Ferentz makes gift to UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

University of Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz and his wife, Mary, have pledged $100,000 to the UI Foundation to support the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS).

The gift, establishing the Kirk and Mary Ferentz Excellence and Innovation Fund, will enable CLAS to recognize and stimulate the development of innovative educational programming by its departments and programs.

Ferentz said the gift is motivated by his respect for the UI's high educational standards and its reputation for inventive approaches to education.

"Mary and I have always been impressed by the UI's tradition of distinctive, top-quality education," Ferentz said. "We see Iowa's educational excellence reflected in the student-athletes in the football program, and we wanted to find a way to help ensure that the university can maintain and improve upon that spirit of innovation. We are very pleased to help the college create the best possible experiences for UI students."

Linda Maxson, dean of CLAS, said the Ferentzes' gift will have a far-reaching positive impact.

"Since almost every UI student takes at least some classes in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, this gift from the Ferentzes will enhance the educational mission of the entire university," Maxson said. "We are extremely grateful for Kirk and Mary's generosity, and we look forward to putting the new fund to work helping faculty and staff develop the kind of forward-thinking programming for which our college is renowned."

With resources from the new endowed fund, Maxson will make awards on a competitive basis to departments or programs able to demonstrate that financial support will have a substantial impact on their educational programming. The first award to a department will be made in the 2003-2004 academic year; the amount and frequency of the awards have yet to be determined.

CLAS comprises more than 50 departments and programs in the performing and fine arts; humanities; natural sciences and mathematics; and social sciences. The college also offers numerous interdisciplinary opportunities. CLAS is the largest of the UI's 11 colleges, awarding approximately 70 percent of the university's undergraduate degrees and about 50 percent of its graduate degrees each year.

The Ferentzes' gift is part of the UI's campus campaign, which seeks contributions from UI faculty and staff in support of the UI's $850 million comprehensive campaign. Named "Good. Better. Best. Iowa: The Campaign to Advance Our Great University," the comprehensive campaign will run through 2005 and is being conducted under the guidance of the UI Foundation. The campaign is raising private funds to help launch educational initiatives across the university, substantially increase the number of UI scholarships and endowed faculty positions, support new educational and research facilities, build the UI's endowment and fund outreach and service programs to benefit Iowans.

The UI Foundation is acknowledged by the UI as a preferred channel for private contributions that benefit all areas of the university. For more information about the "Good. Better. Best. Iowa Campaign," visit the UI Foundation's web site at