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University of Iowa Foundation News Release


Nov. 9, 2006

Kirk, Mary Ferentz Pledge $400,000 To University Of Iowa

University of Iowa Head Football Coach Kirk Ferentz and Mary Ferentz have made a gift commitment of $400,000 to support research and education initiatives at Children's Hospital of Iowa and in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS).

The Iowa City couple's gift to the UI Foundation establishes two permanently endowed funds: the Ferentz Family Pediatric Research and Education Fund, which will benefit Children's Hospital of Iowa, and the John and Elsie Mae Ferentz Research Fund in CLAS. (View a related video at

Mary Ferentz is chair of the Children's Hospital of Iowa Council, a volunteer development and advisory committee for the hospital. The Ferentzes' gift, in the amount of $250,000, is the largest individual contribution to date for Children's Hospital of Iowa, and Mary Ferentz said the gift reflects her deep respect for the hospital.

"Children's Hospital of Iowa is an extremely important institution for Iowa and the region," Mary Ferentz said. "As I've become more aware of the hospital's work serving children and families -- including preventive programs, treatment, research and education of future pediatric health professionals -- I've become committed to helping it fulfill its mission in any way I can. My family and I are very pleased to establish the Ferentz Family Pediatric Research and Education Fund, and we hope it sets an example for others."

Michael Artman, M.D., the head of the Department of Pediatrics and physician-in-chief of Children's Hospital of Iowa, expressed gratitude for the gift.

"The Ferentz family's gift is a crucial step forward in our efforts to provide the latest and best medical and surgical care to Iowa children and their families," Artman said. "The fund will advance our educational and research programs, directly supporting our efforts to cure and prevent childhood illnesses. We are humbled both by Mary's volunteer service and by this extraordinary contribution."

The John and Elsie Mae Ferentz Research Fund, named for Kirk Ferentz's parents, will support research projects involving undergraduate students working with CLAS faculty in departments throughout the college. Kirk Ferentz, the head football coach for the Iowa Hawkeyes since 1998, said he and Mary were motivated to make the $150,000 gift by their high esteem for CLAS, the oldest and largest of the UI's 11 colleges.

"When my staff and I recruit student-athletes for the UI football program, we are offering them an education at one of America's top public universities," Kirk Ferentz said. "The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is central to both the tradition and the future of academic excellence at Iowa, and Mary and I are very happy to help ensure that UI students have remarkable opportunities available to them."

CLAS Dean Linda Maxson said that undergraduate research is an important emphasis for the college, and added that the Ferentz gift will be key to continued educational innovation.

"Undergraduate students' ability to participate in faculty-mentored research is key to the Iowa experience," Maxson said. "Such research allows students to move their education beyond the classroom, and gives them an important boost in their careers and when applying for graduate programs. The John and Elsie Mae Ferentz Research Fund will help generations of students, and we are extremely grateful for Coach Ferentz and Mary's continued support for our college."

In 2002, the Ferentzes gave $100,000 to the UI Foundation to establish the Kirk and Mary Ferentz Excellence and Innovation Fund in CLAS. John Ferentz died in 2004; Elsie Mae Ferentz lives in Pittsburgh, Pa.

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, which teaches almost 80 percent of all UI undergraduate students, comprises more than 50 departments and programs in the performing and fine arts; humanities; natural sciences and mathematics; and social sciences. The college also offers numerous interdisciplinary opportunities.

Each year, Children's Hospital of Iowa records more than 100,000 clinic visits and some 7,000 inpatient admissions. In addition, numerous pediatric outreach and satellite clinics provide primary and specialty care for children in communities throughout Iowa. A 175-bed "hospital within a hospital," Children's Hospital of Iowa benefits from the sophisticated services and comprehensive resources of UI Hospitals and Clinics.

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

For information on the Children's Hospital of Iowa gift: Sheila Baldwin, Executive Director of Development, Children's Hospital of Iowa; (319) 335-3305, ext. 731 or (800) 648-6973, ext. 731;

For information on the CLAS gift: Jeff Liebermann, Executive Director of Development, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; (319) 335-3305, ext. 731 or (800) 648-6973, ext. 731;



High-resolution images of Kirk and Mary Ferentz are available:

Web-quality images also are available: