The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us


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

Release: Nov. 6, 2002

(Right Photo: Architect's rendering of the Dey House addition. Click on the image to view a high resolution version.
Left Photo: Glenn Schaeffer)

$1 million gift helps fund building addition for UI Writers' Workshop

A $1 million gift from a University of Iowa Writers' Workshop graduate will provide nearly half the funding for an addition to the Dey House, the historic residential building in which the Writers' Workshop is housed, according to workshop director Frank Conroy.

Glenn Schaeffer, of Las Vegas, Nev., who received an M.F.A. degree in creative writing from the workshop in 1977, has committed $1 million to support the expansion of the Dey House, built in 1857 on Clinton Street on a bluff overlooking the Iowa River. The addition will more than double the program's current facilities and result in more classrooms, offices and a library and archive.

The UI will ask the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, at its Nov. 13 meeting to name the addition the Glenn Schaeffer Library, in recognition of Schaeffer's generosity and commitment to the UI creative writing program.

"As an alumnus, I have always felt an allegiance to the Writers' Workshop," Schaeffer said. "This gift will help ensure that one of the UI's best-known programs -- truly a unique institution in America -- is housed in a building that reflects its stature."

After completing his workshop degree, Schaeffer went on to a career on Wall Street and then moved into corporate finance. In 1984 he became the president and chief financial officer of the Mandalay Resort Group in Las Vegas (then Circus Circus), which today operates resorts such as Mandalay Bay and Luxor. Besides being featured on the cover of Institutional Investor as one of America's top corporate financiers, Schaeffer is a well-known literary philanthropist and holds one of the world's most extensive Walt Whitman collections.

Established in 1936, the Iowa Writers' Workshop was the first creative writing degree program in the country, and it maintains a reputation as the nation's top writing workshop. Graduates include Flannery O'Connor, Wallace Stegner, John Irving, Rita Dove, T. C. Boyle, and scores of other acclaimed American writers. The workshop is a part of the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Conroy said, "Helping make this addition possible -- especially the library and archives -- fits in with Glenn's desire to preserve the past and his strong commitment to the important role literature plays in American culture. We are very grateful for his generosity."

The total cost of the building addition is $2.3 million. A campaign to raise the balance of $1.3 million is underway as part of the university'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 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 its web site at