$50 million gift makes it the Ivy College of Business at Iowa State

Iowa State University announces 'historic' donation to fast-growing college

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Iowa State University’s College of Business appears to be on a roll.

Just over two weeks ago, ISU’s fastest-growing college announced that the Gerdin Charitable Foundation was giving $7 million toward a new $22 million, 35,000-square-foot building adjacent its existing 111,000-square-foot home.

Last week, the 33-year-old college — which currently offers nine undergraduate majors, six master’s programs and one doctoral degree with five areas of specialization — reported another enrollment record with 4,921 students this fall.

And then Monday, ISU unveiled a “historic commitment of $50 million” to the college from Debbie and Jerry Ivy of Los Altos Hills, Calif. — the largest-ever gift to the business college.

In recognition of the massive donation, ISU is renaming its college the Debbie and Jerry Ivy College of Business — pending Board of Regents approval. The recognition will make it the university’s first donor-named college.

The gift comes at a time of serious fiscal stress on the state’s public universities. During the last legislative session, lawmakers clawed back more than $20 million from regent campuses in the 2017 budget, then cut base state funding for the universities by another nearly $10 million in the new budget that started July 1.

ISU, along with the University of Iowa, have proposed steep annual tuition hikes for five years to make up for state funding reductions.

The University of Northern Iowa pitched a more modest increase — provided that lawmakers make adequate enough appropriations.

The stark realities make gifts like the Ivy’s $50 million even more noteworthy. Interim ISU President Ben Allen in a news release said the donation “will exponentially expand the college’s commitment to provide leading-edge programs.”

That, he said, includes modern learning environments, world-class faculty, student scholarships and other “high-impact educational opportunities.”

Allen, who served as dean of the ISU College of Business from 1995 to 2001, called this a “landmark moment in the college’s history.”

The gift will establish an endowed fund that eventually will direct about $2 million a year toward the college’s priorities. In the immediate term, the new revenue will provide for scholarships, faculty support and programming in fast-growing areas like entrepreneurship, supply chain management and business analytics.

In the long-term, the gift “will ensure the future excellence and distinction of the college” through scholarships, practical learning experiences, dynamic classroom curricula and student mentorship.

Dean David Spalding said in a statement the gift will help the College of Business keep up with its escalating interest and the developing field.

“With all the enthusiasm around our new undergraduate entrepreneurship major and Ph.D. program, we are especially excited to have our college named after such a successful, entrepreneurial family,” he said.

Jerry Ivy, president and chief executive officer of Auto-Chlor System, earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial administration from ISU in 1953. He has a long history of entrepreneurship — starting as a youth in Minnesota, continuing through his stint at ISU and extending through his career.

Debbie Ivy also serves on the executive team with Auto-Chlor, which serves more than 75,000 customers nationwide, providing cleaning solutions to the food service, health care and lodging industries.

“We hope this gift will play a role in preparing our next generation of business leaders,” Jerry Ivy said in a statement.

A previous gift from the Ivys established the Debbie and Jerry Ivy Chair in Business, now held by Patricia Daugherty, a supply chain management professor.

The donation adds to the ISU Foundation’s campaign, “Forever True, For Iowa State,” aimed at raising $1.1 billion by July 2020.

Also adding to the fundraising campaign, ISU announced Friday $14 million in gifts toward a $21.2 million feed mill and grain science complex to be funded entirely through private giving.

It includes $8 million from Kent Corporation; $4 million from the Iowa Corn Promotion Board; and $2 million from Sukup Manufacturing Co.

l Comments: (319) 339-3158; vanessa.miller@thegazette.com

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