"Phil" is all around us

BY GUEST COLUMN | APRIL 17, 2012 6:30 AM

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Phil lives on the University of Iowa campus — and far beyond it. Phil is learning in classrooms, researching in labs, and giving back to others. Phil takes to the stage and charges the playing fields. Phil isn't just one UI teacher, student, graduate, or contributor: Phil is all of us. Phil is even you.

That's because Phil — our nickname for "philanthropy" — is not only every donor who invests in Iowa but also every person who benefits from the lasting effect of such gifts.

In my role as president of the University of Iowa Foundation, which raises private funds for our university, I see this effect at work every day, and I know that it touches all of us, in ways big and small.

Whether you realize it or not, your Iowa experience has been made possible by generous alumni and friends. Their gifts have helped open doors for you — both literally and figuratively — because they have done everything from building amazing new facilities and funding vital student scholarships to investing in breakthrough research and bringing the best of Iowa to the rest of the world.

Though you may think that you don't know anyone who has contributed to your university, you might be surprised to discover that there are countless UI donors in your midst on campus — as well as spread throughout our state, nation, and world. Not only do members of our faculty and staff make contributions, but our students do, too. In fact, Dance Marathon, the largest student-run organization on campus, is a member of the UI Presidents Club, which recognizes our most generous donors.

To acknowledge and celebrate all of these students, alumni, and friends who have given back to UI, we've decided to designate one special day — Phil's Day — in honor of life-changing philanthropy. On April 24, we'd like to officially thank these contributors for their role in making the Iowa experience remarkable.

We'd also like to remind you that the power of giving is all around you. As you move through campus on Phil's Day, you'll probably notice that several buildings have been tagged with gold bows. We've done this to illustrate just how important private gifts are — and just how much they benefit each one of us.

I hope that, in addition to strolling around campus to see private support at work, you'll also take time to attend "Life with Phil: Your Journey to Philanthropy" at 11 a.m. in the Seamans Center Stanley Auditorium. This presentation will be hosted by Iowa alumnus Gary Seamans (1971, B.S.E.E) who not only is a highly successful businessman but also a dedicated UI volunteer and visionary philanthropist who made the lead naming gift for the university's Seamans Center.

During the presentation, Seamans will tell you more about what inspires him to give to the University of Iowa. I hope that you, too, will be inspired by all that you see and hear on Phil's Day. Because Phil is Iowa. And Phil is everywhere. So thanks, Phil, for just being you.

Lynette L. Marshall
President and CEO of the University of Iowa Foundation

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