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University of Iowa Foundation News Release

June 9, 2004

Photos: Left, UI President David Skorton with Heidi Bernau Wagler of Crawfordsville, Iowa, the 5,500th member to join the Presidents Club; Right, UI President David Skorton with David W. Bywater of Iowa City, the 5,501st member to join the Presidents Club

Group Of UI's Most Generous Contributors Reaches 5,500-Member Milestone

The Presidents Club of the University of Iowa, a group comprising the UI's most generous contributors, reached a membership milestone on June 5 during the club's 37th annual assembly on the UI campus.

Heidi Bernau Wagler of Crawfordsville, Iowa, became the club's 5,500th member. Wagler is a homemaker and director of Peoples Savings Bank in Crawfordsville. She also is a member of the UI's Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center Advocacy Board, a volunteer position that focuses on advocacy, fundraising and public relations for the center.

Launching the club toward its next milestone was David W. Bywater of Iowa City, who was inducted during the assembly's evening banquet as the club's 5,501st member. Bywater is executive vice president of Tru Art Graphics in Iowa City.

The Presidents Club was founded in 1967 by former UI President Willard "Sandy" Boyd with 38 charter members and gift commitments totaling $2.5 million. Cumulative contributions and gift commitments to the UI Foundation from the Presidents Club's 5,500 members now exceed $940 million.

"Although we easily can count the number of Presidents Club members and total the number of dollars members have given over the past few decades -- and those numbers are impressive -- the effect of the generosity of Presidents Club members on the quality and stature of the University of Iowa is incalculable," said UI Foundation President Michael New. "Their dedication is also a crucial key in the university's ability to reach its new campaign goal of $1 billion by the end of 2005."

The Presidents Club permanently recognizes those who make outright gifts or pledge commitments of $40,000 or more in a 10-year period and those pledging substantial deferred support, such as through wills and trusts, to any area of the University.

"Leadership and service are two hallmarks of The Presidents Club, whose members also are distinguished by their generosity, vision and dedication to The University of Iowa and its bright future," said UI President David Skorton. "Thanks in large part to Presidents Club members' commitment and support, we will successfully conclude the $1 billion "Good. Better. Best. Iowa" campaign-and the university will continue to excel in the challenging and promising decades ahead."

Olga Sassine, the foundation's assistant vice president for the Presidents Club, said, "One remarkable aspect of the growth of the Presidents Club has been the involvement of extended families, which has benefits for everyone. When families such as the Bernaus and the Bywaters make the giving connection from generation to generation, it is a win-win situation. It's worth noting that both families support numerous programs and projects at the university."

Key Presidents Club statistics as of Dec. 31, 2003:

* Average qualifying gift per member is $171,750

* 86 percent of members give to more than one area of the university

* 23 members have given for 48 consecutive years, and 31 members have given for 49 consecutive years

The UI's $1 billion comprehensive campaign, named "Good. Better. Best. Iowa: The Campaign to Advance Our Great University," runs through 2005 and is being conducted under the guidance of the UI Foundation. The seven-year effort is raising private funds to 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

CONTACTS: Media: Olga Sassine, 319-335-3305,; Writer: Forrest Meyer,