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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: May 31, 2002

Couple gives $5 million to aid UI student-athletes and Hawkeye athletics

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Russell A. and Ann Gerdin, of North Liberty, Iowa, have made a gift commitment of $5 million to benefit University of Iowa student-athletes and the UI athletics program.

Russell Gerdin is the founder, president and chief executive officer of one of Iowa's most successful businesses, Coralville-based trucking company Heartland Express Inc., which Forbes magazine has named one of America's 200 best small companies for 10 of the last 13 years.

Of the Gerdins' $5 million total commitment, $4 million will support construction of the university's planned Athletics Learning Center, to be built north of Melrose Avenue and west of the Boyd Law Building. The center will provide academic resources for UI student-athletes, including study rooms, tutorial spaces, a teaching laboratory, a computer laboratory and an auditorium. The $4.6 million project will be funded entirely by private gifts.

In recognition of the Gerdins' leadership gift, the university will ask the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, to name the building in their honor. Construction is planned to begin in summer 2002, with completion slated for summer 2003.

The remaining $1 million of the Gerdins' gift will help support the UI Athletics Hall of Fame and Visitors Center, now under construction across from Finkbine Golf Course on Mormon Trek Boulevard.

UI Director of Athletics Robert A. Bowlsby said the Gerdins' gift will provide a vital boost to the Iowa Hawkeyes and the university.

"The quality of our athletics program relies upon first-rate student-athletes who are as strong academically as they are in uniform," Bowlsby said. "Russell and Ann's gift for the learning center will enable us to focus even more on the educational development of our young people, and make available to potential recruits the best of what the University of Iowa has to offer. I can't thank the Gerdins enough for their support for both the learning center and the Hawkeye Hall of Fame."

Russell Gerdin said the couple was happy to help advance Iowa athletics.

"We are delighted to be able to help Hawkeye student-athletes achieve academic success, and the Hall of Fame and Visitors Center is an exciting and important project with which we're proud to be associated," Gerdin said. "Ann and I, along with our family foundation, are particularly interested in supporting educational causes. We expect that such causes will continue to be our primary focus."

Russell and Ann Gerdin recently made the lead gift for the business building that will bear their names at Iowa State University. The Gerdins have also provided more than $2 million toward educational pursuits of Heartland employees and their children.

The Gerdins have given annually to the UI athletics program for more than 20 years and are members of The Presidents Club, which permanently recognizes the UI's most generous contributors.

The Gerdins made their gift through the University of Iowa Foundation. The UI Foundation is the preferred channel for private contributions to all areas of the university. For more information about the UI Foundation, visit its web site at