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University of Iowa Foundation News Release

Nov. 4, 2003

UI Department Of Theatre Arts Receives $825,000 Gift

An $825,000 estate gift to the University of Iowa Department of Theatre Arts through the UI Foundation will fund scholarships and advance other departmental initiatives.

"The Billie K. Jaffe and Leonard L. Kaplan Fund for Theatre Arts is extremely beneficial to our students," said theater department chair Alan MacVey. "We've already used it to give scholarships to several students and to help cover the costs of bringing an international playwright to campus who will lead students in creating a new play. These resources will help ensure that the UI's long-recognized reputation for excellence and innovation in theater will not only continue, but will improve. We couldn't be more grateful."

The Jaffe-Kaplan Fund was established by the estate of Chicago resident Billie Jaffe, who died in 2001. The estate of her brother, the late Leonard Kaplan of Iowa City, had established a trust for Jaffe and three other sisters, who died earlier. As the last surviving beneficiary of the trust, Jaffe honored Kaplan's wishes that a significant gift be made to the UI theater program.

Kaplan owned numerous movie theaters in Iowa City and eastern Iowa during the 1950s and 1960s and regularly attended the UI's theater offerings. He died in 1966. Jaffe helped him run his theater business.

The Department of Theatre Arts is part of the Division of Performing Arts within the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The Jaffe-Kaplan bequest 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 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

STORY SOURCE: UI Foundation, P.O. Box 4550, Iowa City, Iowa 52244-4550

MEDIA CONTACT: Margaret Reese, 319-335-3305, ext. 769; 800-648-6973, ext. 769;; Writer: Nic Arp