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University of Iowa News Release

Nov. 18, 2005

UI Alumni Association commits $100,000 To UI Old Capitol Museum

The University of Iowa Alumni Association has made a $100,000 gift for Old Capitol Museum that will help the UI renew a 150-year-old Iowa landmark as an educational resource for future generations.

The Alumni Association's gift for Old Capitol Museum, made through the University of Iowa Foundation, will assist the UI in a $2 million fund-raising initiative to benefit what many consider to be the state's most cherished symbol -- and the heart and soul of the University of Iowa.

"This investment is just another way for us to give back to this great institution," said Vince Nelson, president of the UI Alumni Association. "We want to support key initiatives that are important to alumni, and Old Capitol Museum is one such initiative. Old Capitol Museum is an icon, and we want to help restore it to the best condition possible."

The goal of the Old Capitol Museum Campaign is to secure -- before Dec. 31, 2005 -- at least $2 million in private gifts, half of which will create a programmatic endowment and the other half of which will be used to transform Old Capitol's ground floor into an engaging education center celebrating Iowa's past, present and future.

The Alumni Association's gift will be split between both campaign goals, with $50,000 going toward program endowment and the other $50,000 helping with the museum's restoration and revitalization.

Leading the statewide effort, which is part of the University's

$1 billion "Good. Better. Best. Iowa" campaign, are UI President Emeritus Willard "Sandy" Boyd of Iowa City and 1951 UI graduate Mary Louise Petersen of Harlan, Iowa. Boyd and Petersen head a committee of alumni and friends who share a love of Old Capitol and a belief in its potential to educate future generations.

"I am proud that our organization was able to play a role in ensuring Old Capitol Museum's future. Old Capitol is the UI's most enduring and important symbol for our alumni and friends, and it also is a vital educational resource for the university, the state and beyond," said Ted Habte-Gabr, chair of the University of Iowa Alumni Association's board of directors.

The campaign for Old Capitol Museum builds upon UI-funded restoration work that was under way at the time of the devastating November 2001 fire, which destroyed Old Capitol's familiar dome and cupola, and significantly damaged much of the building. Insurance has paid for fire-related damage, and the structural restoration work begun in the 1990s continues.

According to Olga Sassine, assistant vice president of the Presidents Club, and co-director of the Old Capitol Museum Campaign at the UI Foundation, "What remains is to fulfill Old Capitol's potential as a museum and educational resource dedicated to Iowa history, government, culture and civic life."

Among the changes to Old Capitol Museum that visitors can expect to see when the museum reopens in May 2006 are two new spaces on the building's ground floor. The "University Gallery" will house rotating, UI-focused historical, scientific and cultural exhibits. The "Discovery Center," a hands-on gallery space, will invite students and families to explore Iowa's history and future.

In addition, other areas will be appropriately restored and updated to allow for more frequent use by visitors.

For more information about the Old Capitol Museum Campaign, contact Olga Sassine or Susan Sweeney at the UI Foundation, 800-648-6973, or visit the web site at

The UI Alumni Association's 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 UI Foundation, visit its web site at

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

CONTACT(S): Olga Sassine, assistant vice president, the Presidents Club, and co-director of the Old Capitol Museum Campaign, 319-335-3305,; Susan Sweeney, assistant vice president, corporate and foundation relations, and co-director of the Old Capitol Museum Campaign, 319-335-3305,; Writer: Leah Klevar,

PHOTOS/GRAPHICS: An architect's rendering of one of the renovated spaces in Old Capitol Museum is available for downloading at: