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University of Iowa News Release


Sept. 16, 2008

Fraternal Order of Eagles pledges to raise $25 million for UI diabetes research

Leaders of The Fraternal Order of Eagles, the University of Iowa and the University of Iowa Foundation today announced a $25 million gift commitment from the Eagles that will fund diabetes research at the UI.

In recognition of the generosity of the Eagles' international membership, the UI will establish The Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center in the new University of Iowa Institute for Biomedical Discovery (UIIBD).

"We are thrilled by this extraordinary commitment from The Fraternal Order of Eagles," said Sally Mason, president of the University of Iowa. "This partnership demonstrates our shared desire to understand and ultimately cure diabetes by moving research findings into the clinical setting as quickly as possible. We are grateful for the Eagles' vote of confidence in our research enterprise, and we pledge to meet and even exceed their expectations in the years ahead."

The UI-Fraternal Order of Eagles partnership is unique in that it represents the first time the University has joined forces with the nearly 1 million-member philanthropic organization. In addition to its strengths in diabetes research, the UI brings to the collaboration the facilities of its new University of Iowa Institute for Biomedical Discovery, so that The Fraternal Order of Eagles' philanthropy can be devoted entirely to programmatic support of pioneering research.

"We are at a pivotal moment in history when there is great promise for making very real progress in treating and preventing diabetes," said Jean Robillard, MD, UI vice president for medical affairs. "This visionary gift from The Fraternal Order of Eagles has enormous potential for helping us find a cure for this devastating disease."

The Fraternal Order of Eagles gift will fund endowed chairs and fellowships for diabetes researchers, provide seed research grants for innovative research ideas and help recruit leading scientists in diabetes research and translational medicine. Construction of the UIIBD is being funded by a combination of state appropriations, University of Iowa resources and private gifts.

Bill Loffer, membership director and immediate past chairman of The Fraternal Order of Eagles board of trustees, says The University of Iowa combines a passion for helping people affected by diabetes with leading-edge research skill.

"This partnership between The University of Iowa and The Fraternal Order of Eagles is not only something we should do, it's something we must do to find a cure for diabetes. This disease affects a significant percentage of our members as well as the population at large," said Loffer.

Diabetes is a public health crisis, according to the World Health Organization. An estimated 24 million Americans have the disorder, which means the disease has reached epidemic proportions.

"We have strong programs already in place, so we are ideally positioned to use this gift to make an impact on this disease," said Paul Rothman, MD, dean of the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine.

Diabetes affects people of all ages. Pediatricians say the number of children with diabetes is growing at an alarming rate.

Michael Artman, MD, physician-in-chief, University of Iowa Children's Hospital, said, "We would like to have a world where no child faces a lifetime of diabetes, and with The Fraternal Order of Eagles collaboration and The Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center at the University of Iowa, we can begin to do that."

UI specialists say the gift, combined with a team approach, will foster more rapid advances against the disorder. They add that this partnership provides the support that the best and brightest minds need to reach their goal of a better life for people affected by diabetes.

John Stokes, MD, professor of internal medicine and director of the Nephrology Division, not only specializes in treating and studying diabetes, he is also a member of The Fraternal Order of Eagles.

"I can't help but be proud of The Fraternal Order of Eagles, and I'm proud to be an Eagle. I can't think of any better partnership to exemplify what the Eagles stand for -- people helping people," said Stokes.

The Fraternal Order of Eagles, an international nonprofit organization, unites fraternally in the spirit of liberty, truth, justice, and equality, to make human life more desirable by lessening its ills, and by promoting peace, prosperity, gladness and hope. Founded in 1898, the Fraternal Order of Eagles fund research in areas such as heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes and cancer, and raise money for neglected and abused children and the aged, as well as work for social and civic change. Learn more at

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, UI Physicians and University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at

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: Joint Office for Marketing and Communications, University of Iowa Health Care, 200 Hawkins Drive, Room E110 GH, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1009

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Moore, 319-356-3945,