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University of Iowa News Release

March 13, 2006

Gift From St. Louis Couple To Fund UI Business Communication Center

The Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa listens closely to employers, and one message has been coming through loud and clear: In addition to gaining the solid business training that the UI excels in providing, business graduates need to enter the workplace as clear, effective and versatile communicators. Whether it's writing memos, reports and proposals, delivering persuasive presentations or closing the deal, communication skills are crucial to success in today's competitive business environment.

A $2.5 million gift commitment from Judy and Harris Frank of St. Louis will go far in helping the UI Tippie College to graduate the kind of skilled communicators that employers of all types are seeking. The gift from the Franks, longtime supporters of the college, will allow the newly named Judith R. Frank Business Communication Center to broaden its programming from working primarily on students' written communication skills to providing additional training on oral presentation skills.

"It has become apparent to Judy and me that there are bright students who are entering the workplace with strong technical skills but without the ability to express themselves adequately," Harris Frank said. "We felt that supporting new initiatives in the Tippie College's business communication center would enhance what is already an outstanding undergraduate business program."

The Judith R. Frank Business Communication Center integrates communication training directly into the curriculum. Dedicated writing consultants give in-class workshops, evaluate writing and work one-on-one with students on assigned papers. In addition to presentations to student groups, the center offers business communication-related credit courses in business writing, business presentations, professional and technical editing, corporate communications and business communication internships.

With the new support from the Franks' gift, the center plans to expand its presentation and interview training offerings. Working closely with the Pomerantz Career Center, staff will videotape students during presentations and mock interviews and help them critique and evaluate their performances. The center will train students to analyze their audience, adapt their message and effectively use voice and graphic technology.

"The University of Iowa has a well-deserved reputation as 'The Writing University,' and this wonderful gift from the Franks will help us more fully utilize that strength to our advantage," said Gary Fethke, dean of the Henry B. Tippie College of Business. "Students learn well from their peers, and the expansion of the center's programming will take advantage of the talent within the UI community."

"The generous support from the Franks allows us to strengthen our program significantly," said Jessica Renaud, the director of the center, which provides training for more than 1,400 undergraduate students and is staffed by peer advisors and writing consultants from the UI English department, the English Education Program and the UI Writers' Workshop.

Students in the Tippie Undergraduate Business Program can receive a bachelor of business administration degree in one of six areas including accounting, economics, finance, management and organizations, management sciences and marketing. The UI Tippie College of Business offers undergraduate and graduate programs that consistently rank the college among the top 30 public business schools in the nation. 

The UI acknowledges the UI Foundation as the preferred channel for private contributions that benefit all areas of the university. For more information on the foundation, visit its web site at

For more information on how to support the Tippie College of Business and its programs, please visit: /business.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: George McCrory, 319-384-0012,; Program: David Triplett, vice president for gift planning, 319-335-3305,; Barbara Thomas, director of communication and external relations, Tippie College of Business, 319-335-2188,