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University of Iowa Foundation News Release

Dec. 9, 2005

UI Alumnus Gives $825,000 To Support UI Law School, Athletics

Raymond D. "Ray" Carlson, of Okoboji, Iowa, and Mesa, Ariz., has made gift commitments totaling more than $825,000 to the University of Iowa Foundation in support of University of Iowa athletics and the UI College of Law.

Carlson's gifts, which include both a bequest and current contributions, established the Ray Carlson Lineman Scholarship for Iowa Hawkeye football players and the Claire Ferguson Carlson Faculty Fellowship in the UI law school. Carlson also made a major gift in support of the Kinnick Stadium renovation project; in recognition of that gift, the head coach's locker in the stadium is named for Carlson.

Carlson, a native of Fort Dodge, Iowa, graduated from the UI in 1949 with a B.S.C. degree in commerce and science, having lettered in football and wrestling. Prior to coming to the UI, he served in the Navy and was an offensive lineman on the Navy's 1943 collegiate football national championship team. After graduating from the UI, he worked for Hormel Foods for his entire career before retiring as a superintendent in 1986.

Robert A. Bowlsby, the UI director of intercollegiate athletics, said Carlson's support will enable future growth for the UI athletics program.

"Ray Carlson has been a good friend of the Hawkeyes ever since he competed in the black and gold in the 1940s," Bowlsby said, "so having him play an integral role in the future of Iowa athletics by making these gifts is especially meaningful. I know I speak for Head Coach Kirk Ferentz and the rest of the Iowa Hawkeyes when I say that we are all extremely grateful."

The late Claire Ferguson Carlson, in whose memory Carlson created the law fellowship, was Carlson's wife for 54 years. She graduated from the UI in 1950 with both a B.A. degree and a law degree, one of only three women in her law-school graduating class. She went on to become a partner in the Fort Dodge law firms of Bastian, Biesser and Carlson; and Kersten, Carlson and Opheim. Claire Carlson was a prominent figure in the Fort Dodge community and in the legal profession in Iowa, and served as a longtime member of the Iowa Law School Foundation board of directors. She died in 2004.

Dean Carolyn Jones of the UI College of Law said the Claire Ferguson Carlson Faculty Fellowship is a fitting legacy and will be key to recruiting and retaining promising early- and mid-career faculty in the college.

"Claire Carlson was a legendary figure in Iowa law," Jones said. "Few women of her generation became lawyers at all, so for her to achieve the success and respect she enjoyed was remarkable. She was also a very good friend of the College of Law, contributing generously both financially and as a volunteer. She knew that the competition among law schools for up-and-coming younger faculty is intense, so she would be pleased to know that a fellowship in her name will significantly help her alma mater in that regard. Ray Carlson has done a wonderful thing for both the college and for Claire's legacy."

Carlson is joined in making these gifts by his wife, Phyllis Nelson Carlson; his daughter, Chris McGinley, of Scottsdale, Ariz.; and Marianne Carlson of Fort Dodge, the widow of Carlson's son, James, who died in 2005.

The Carlson gift is part of the UI's $1 billion 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 acknowledges the UI Foundation as the 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

CONTACTS: Media: David Triplett, Vice President for Gift Planning, 319-335-3305,; Writer: Nic Arp

PHOTOS/GRAPHICS: Photos for this story are available for downloading at: