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University of Iowa Foundation News Release

Feb. 24, 2005

$1 Million Gift Supports UI English And Ophthalmology Departments

A $1 million gift commitment from University of Iowa graduate Barbara G. Bedell will benefit two key areas: the UI Department of English in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences in the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine. The ophthalmology portion of the bequest was made in memory of Bedell's husband, R. Bruce Bedell, who received his medical degree from the UI in 1965 and completed his ophthalmology residency at the UI in 1970. He died in 2002.

Barbara Bedell, of Deer Harbor, Wash., is a 1970 graduate of the UI Department of English. A major portion of her gift commitment will create the Dr. R. Bruce and Barbara G. Bedell Professorship and the Dr. R. Bruce and Barbara G. Bedell Graduate Fellowship in the Department of English. The professorship will support a teacher/scholar in the department, and the fellowship will support a graduate student who is completing a master's degree in nonfiction writing.

"I remember with unusual clarity the professors who reconfirmed my love for fiction, drama and poetry -- the men and women whose knowledge opened doors for me," said Bedell. "Bruce and I always agreed that we wanted to provide a means by which this exceptional department could continue to grow -- not only in traditional areas of study, but in new pathways such as nonfiction writing."

Brooks Landon, chair of the UI Department of English, said, "The Bedells' generosity will enable Iowa's already nationally prominent nonfiction writing program to take an important step toward preeminence. These wonderful gifts will have an immediate impact unmatched in the program's history."

The bequest will also establish the Dr. R. Bruce Bedell Fund in the UI Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences; the fund will provide unrestricted support to be used at the discretion of the department head.

"Dr. Bedell was a personal friend, a loyal supporter of the department and a physician who could always be counted upon to do what was in the best interest of his patients," said Thomas Weingeist, professor and head of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. "We are grateful for both aspects of this generous gift, which reflect his deep interest in medicine and literature."

The Bedell 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

MEDIA CONTACT : Mitch Beckman, Director of Development, UI Carver College of Medicine/UIHC; 319-335-3305 or 800-648-6973,; Writer: Betsy Hickok