Tippie meets with UI students


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Business is easy. At least, according to Henry Tippie.

“Business is not difficult in my opinion,” said Tippie, benefactor for the University of Iowa College of Business. “You have to sell something in order to build something, then turn around and collect it.”

On Wednesday, the business college’s eponym shared advice with aspiring business people. He delivered his lecture, “Decisions,” to a full ballroom of students and UI officials at the Sheraton Hotel, 210 S. Dubuque St.

“I’m sure if he has a college named after him, he probably has some pretty darn good advice,” said UI sophomore Megan Logan before the lecture.

Before Tippie became a successful entrepreneur, he was just another Iowa farm boy.

The Belle Plaine, Iowa-native said his mother encouraged him to move away from the family farm and make something of himself.

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After serving in the Air Force, he attended the UI on the GI Bill and earned a degree in just two years, graduating in 1949.

“I always feel at home in Iowa City, and I’m very proud to be from Iowa,” Tippie told The Daily Iowan before the event.

He now has five companies trading on the New York Stock Exchange and is the chairman of Dover Motorsports and Dover Downs Entertainment. After numerous large contributions to the business school, eventually totaling more than $30 million, officials renamed the college in 1999.

Lynn Allendorf, the managing director of the Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center, said more 400 people were expected at Tippie’s lecture. Allendorf said Tippie has never spoken to a group this large in Iowa City and accepted the invitation to participate immediately.

“Hopefully, he can serve as an inspiration for how far you can really go in your career,” she said.

Tippie encouraged students to take advantage of every minute available and for new entrepreneurs to think about the coming week rather than the distant future.

Some introductory speakers at the event spoke about the benefits of attending the Tippie College of Business.

“Our bankers can almost tell immediately if [new hirings] have learned from [UI] programs because they are so much more prepared, much more organized, and much more ready to tackle the challenges that will face them,” said Susan Evans, the chief operating officer of MidWestOne Bank, which sponsored the lecture.

A major difference between the job market Tippie entered in 1949 and the one students are entering now, he said, is accessibility. Today, career fairs and networking opportunities are more prevalent.

And just attending the UI is a benefit, he said, something he appreciated during his time on campus.

“I have a great affection for the University of Iowa,” he said. “After all, it allowed me to attend and was kind enough to graduate me.”

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