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University of Iowa Foundation News Release


May 4, 2011

Steads commit $10 million for children's medicine at UI

steadsA multifaceted $10 million gift commitment from Jerre and Mary Joy Stead of Scottsdale, Ariz., will advance children's medicine at the University of Iowa by creating endowed faculty positions, supporting research and staff excellence initiatives and funding innovative support services for patients and their families.

The gift from the Steads, natives of Maquoketa, Iowa, will be used by staff at UI Children's Hospital and by faculty and researchers in the Department of Pediatrics in the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine to improve patient treatments and increase understanding of how pediatric diseases can be combated.

"The support from Mary Joy and Jerre will touch every aspect of the care provided by our UI Children's Hospital staff, and greatly enhance the research and teaching missions of our Department of Pediatrics," said Jean Robillard, M.D., UI vice president for medical affairs. "Their visionary support will allow our children's medicine program to build on its role as one of UI Health Care's greatest areas of strength and excellence."

A portion of the gift from the Steads, who are co-chairs of a major fundraising campaign for UI Health Care, will create two endowed faculty positions. The Joel and Jay Stead Chair for Leadership in Children's Medicine, named for the Steads' sons, will provide discretionary funding to the head of the UI Department of Pediatrics/Physician-in-Chief of the UI Children's Hospital to develop areas of strategic importance and in support of faculty leadership. The Mary Joy and Jerre Stead Professorship in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology will be held by the director of the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology in the Department of Pediatrics.

"The Steads' gift will have a tremendous impact on the lives of children from Iowa and beyond," said Thomas Scholz, M.D., interim physician-in-chief of UI Children's Hospital and professor and interim head of the UI Department of Pediatrics. "By establishing funds to benefit our physicians, researchers, nurses and other medical staff, they have chosen to invest in the most important asset of UI Children's Hospital and the Department of Pediatrics -- our people." 

Other components of the Steads' gift include:

* The Stead Family Competitive Research Award Fund, which will create a competitive process to support leaders in advancing treatments and cures in children's medicine. Awards will include seed grants for young, promising investigators and bridge funds for established researchers.

* The Stead Pediatric Excellence Fund to support services that benefit patients and families served by UI Children's Hospital.  Among the supported services will be chaplaincy services, Child Life programs, Family-Centered Care, bereavement services, hospital classroom, palliative care, nursing and continuing education for staff.

* The Stead Leadership Awards to be given as the result of an annual competitive process open to any staff or faculty member involved in children's health care at the UI.  These awards will fund initiatives with a high likelihood of making a positive impact on children's health, that support families and that improve the quality of care and safety for patients. 

"Our positive experiences with children's health care at Iowa go all the way back to when our sons were born at UI Hospitals and Clinics," said Mary Joy Stead, who attended the UI and has served on the UI Foundation's board of directors since 1999. "Jerre and I are very grateful to be in a position to use the resources with which we've been blessed to invest in the development of outstanding health-care professionals and researchers at UI Children's Hospital and the pediatrics department. With adequate support, these dedicated individuals will be able to strive toward cures and the best possible treatments and patient care for children."

Jerre Stead, who received his bachelor's degree in business from the UI in 1965, has had a long career leading high-tech and information companies. He currently is chairman and CEO of IHS Inc., a global information company offering expertise in the areas of energy, economics, geopolitical risk, sustainability and supply-chain management.

"Iowa balances excellent pediatric patient care with efficiency and focus in important research related to children's health," he said. "Our gift is first and foremost an investment in people. The doctors, nurses, staff and researchers are constantly thinking about the people who will be served by their work and what they can do to make life better for them. Mary Joy and I want to do all we can to empower them."

As part of her service on the UI Foundation board, Mary Joy Stead also is active on its development committee. Jerre Stead has served on the boards of many corporations and nonprofit organizations; he currently chairs the Alzheimer's Research Institute in Scottsdale, Ariz., and the Garrett-Evangelical Seminary at Northwestern University, and serves on the Salk Institute Board of Directors. He also serves on the Board of Visitors for the UI's Henry B. Tippie College of Business.

In 2003, the Steads made a $25 million gift commitment to the Tippie College of Business to support a variety of programs and initiatives, including the Stead Technology Services Group, one of the largest computer labs and technology-service groups on the UI campus.

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 foundation, visit its web site at


Print- and web-quality photos of Jerre and Mary Joy Stead are available at:

A print-quality photo of UI Vice President Jean Robillard is available at: 

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

MEDIA CONTACT: Forrest Meyer, executive director-strategic communications, UI Foundation,, 319-467-3661, 319-530-1558 (cell)