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Senior Director of Development
Intercollegiate Athletics
UI Foundation News
500 Levitt Center for University Advancement
Iowa City IA 52242
Phone: (319) 335-3305 or (800) 648-6973

Release: July 11, 2002

(Click on each image for a high resolution version: Top, an aerial view of the new practice facility; Bottom, a drawing of the plaza to be created between athletic facilities)

Des Moines couple gives $1.5 million to build UI football practice facility

A gift of $1.5 million from a Des Moines couple to the University of Iowa will enable the UI to build a state-of-the-art football practice facility. Ronald D. and Margaret L. Kenyon made the gift through the University of Iowa Foundation.

In recognition of the Kenyons' generosity, the university will ask the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, to name the facility in their honor.

UI Head Football Coach Kirk Ferentz praised the Kenyons' commitment to the university and to Iowa Hawkeye athletics.

"Ron and Margaret's gift couldn't be more important to our program as we build on our 2001 Alamo Bowl victory," Ferentz said. "Having a top-notch practice facility will greatly help our recruiting efforts, because talented student-athletes want to know that they'll be given every opportunity to develop their talents to their fullest potential. And the players we have on board now are tremendously excited about it as well. We are all grateful for the Kenyons' generous vote of confidence in the UI and in Hawkeye football."

The new facility will be located near Kinnick Stadium, northwest of the Recreation Building and west of the Richard O. Jacobson Athletic Building. It will feature two full-sized grass practice fields and an oversized artificial turf field, which will allow offensive and defensive squads to prepare simultaneously for competition on either surface.

The fenced facility will be lighted, making it easier for student-athletes to coordinate their training with their academic schedules, and allowing preparation for night games. A plaza area will be created linking the Recreation Building, the Jacobson Building and a new entrance for the Duane Banks Baseball Stadium.

The total cost of the project is $1.9 million. Completion is anticipated by August 2002. Ronald Kenyon said he and Margaret made the gift to help sustain the Hawkeye football program's momentum.

"Margaret and I believe that Coach Ferentz and the entire Iowa athletics staff are doing a magnificent job," Kenyon said. "We are pleased to support them in their efforts to bring top student-athletes to the UI and help them excel both in the classroom and on the playing field."

Ronald and Margaret Kenyon, owners of Ronald Kenyon Construction Co. in West Des Moines, are longtime supporters of the UI and Hawkeye athletics, and have held season tickets to Iowa football for more than 40 years. Ronald Kenyon was made an Honorary Varsity Club Letterwinner in 1995 and is a member of the Polk County I-Club. The Kenyons are also members of the Presidents Club, which recognizes the university's most generous contributors.

The Kenyons' gift is part of the UI's $850 million comprehensive campaign, which will run through 2005 and is being conducted under the guidance of the UI Foundation. Named Good. Better. Best. Iowa: The Campaign to Advance Our Great University, the seven-year effort is raising private funds to help launch a variety of 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 the preferred channel for private contributions to all areas of the university. For more information about the Good. Better. Best. Iowa campaign, visit its web site at