Gerdin family donates $12 million for new UI Children's Hospital


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University of Iowa President Sally Mason announced the donation of $12 million to the UI Children’s Hospital building fund by a local family Oct. 19. The donation is the largest the hospital has seen to its building fund.

The building fund was created to raise money for the new 480,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility that will be built north of the Pomerantz Family Pavilion. The project needs $50 million and is projected to be finished in 2016. In honor of the Gerdin family’s generosity, the lobby of the new building and the children’s theater will be named after the family.

The Gerdin family has achieved success with their local trucking business, Heartland Express Inc., and through their success, they have been able to give back to the community.

“We feel a debt to the state of Iowa, and we like to give back as much as we can,” Michael Gerdin said.

Gerdin said his family holds a special connection to UI Health Care. When his son was 2 weeks old, he had surgery in the Children’s Hospital. His father was also cared for by the UI Hospitals and Clinics in the later years of his life while battling cancer. Russell Gerdin, Michael’s father, passed away in October 2011.

“The people here just took great care of him and probably extended his life three to five years,” Michael Gerdin said.

The Gerdin family has given to the Children’s Hospital before as well as as several other UI programs, including the Karro Athletics Hall of Fame and the J. Hayden Fry Center for Prostate Cancer Research.

“I want to thank the Gerdins once again for their support, their vision, and their great generosity,” Mason said.

Other speakers included UI Foundation President Lynette Marshall, Jean Robillard, the UI vice president for Medical Affairs, and Tundi Brady, a parent of a child who was born nearly 17 weeks early and was helped by the Children’s Hospital.

“It’s a gift to our children and to our grandchildren,” Robillard said. “It will continue to grow and touch more people for decades to come.”

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