Education

Mary Louise Petersen $100K gift to finance first University of Iowa 'gateway' monument

'Future installations at additional sites across campus will be considered'

Diagram of one of the proposed granite columns. (Submitted photo)
Diagram of one of the proposed granite columns. (Submitted photo)

IOWA CITY — The first “gateway” monument the University of Iowa plans to erect as a wayfinding and welcome to campus symbol will be financed by a $100,000 donation from Rand and Mary Louise Petersen, whose past giving and service to the UI was recognized in the naming of Petersen Residence Hall.

Mary Louise Petersen — a UI alumna, past Board of Regents president and UI donor committed, along with her husband, the gift within the UI Center for Advancement.

The center, UI’s independent fundraising arm, last year started raising money through its crowdfunding website for a “Campus Beautification Faculty and Staff Campaign,” identifying the gateway project as a use for the funds.

“The introduction of the University of Iowa gateways project will provide a unique sense of identity, transition, and anticipation for the thousands of students, faculty and staff, community members, and visitors who converge on the University of Iowa campus,” according to the website, which proposed monuments at several entrances to campus.

UI spokeswoman Anne Bassett said the university has only one monument planned at this time — at a key entrance to campus, the corner of Church and Dubuque streets.

“Future installations at additional sites across campus will be considered should additional donor funding be dedicated to the project,” Bassett said in an email.

Bassett said the crowdfunding effort — now complete — was run y faculty and staff and raised $970.

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“The Petersens gift was outside of this faculty/staff crowdfunding campaign,” Bassett said.

According to the campaign website, the aim of the gateway project is to distinguish major UI entrance points and key destinations on campus — serving as wayfinding symbols and providing “unique opportunities for educating, engaging, and storytelling.”

The university earlier this month issued a call for proposals from suppliers interested in crafting and installing a “series of granite monuments with a bronze seal at various locations around campus to welcome guests to the university.”

The UI, as part of that request, released designs for the proposed 13-foot columns made of granite, emblazoned with a UI seal and topped with an 18-inch globe. Proposals are due April 25.

Bassett said even though the proposals requested help for a series of monuments, the institution is planning only one for now.

“There’s no definitive timeline for when the first monument would be placed,” she said.

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

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