Phil's Day 2013: UI alums give back

BY CASSIDY RILEY | MAY 02, 2013 5:00 AM

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Carl and Claire Stuart met their freshman year at the University of Iowa in 1965. Forty-eight years later, they are still together and choose to remember the place they first met by giving back to it each year.

For more than 10 years, the Stuarts have given back to the Carl W. and Clair Field Stuart College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Excellence and Innovation Fund. Through this fund, faculty in the college can apply for a grant for any new project or class they would like to start.

“It’s not as if it’s a classic scholarship,” Carl Stuart said. “It’s very general, and it’s at the discretion of the dean.”

The UI will celebrate donors such as the Stuarts today in honor of Phil’s Day. The annual event allows UI faculty, staff, students, and alumni to recognize the philanthropic efforts that contribute to the university.

The UI Foundation received $213,994,660 in private gift support in fiscal 2011.

The Stuarts said they have given for so long because the university has given them so much, including an education and lasting memories.

“The people who do not give tend to look at their college experience and university experience as a transaction,” Carl Stuart said. “It’s like if you buy an automobile, you pay for the automobile and drive it off the lot, and that’s the end of it. In retrospect, we found our years at the University of Iowa to be really transformational for the rest of our lives.”

The two were students of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Carl Stuart graduated with a degree in political science, and Claire Stuart’s degree was in elementary education.

Carl said that in the 1960s, the campus was very different from today. As the Vietnam War became increasingly unpopular among students, the campus saw a lot of political activity, and he was heavily involved in it.

“It went from being calm to very turbulent,” he said. “That was an experience that I of course didn’t know at the time really helped develop leadership skills.”

Claire Stuart said being at the UI helped her gain new perspectives.

“I think I was kind of shy before I went to college,” she said. “It definitely opened me up to a different way of being in the world.”

Today, Carl Stuart owns an investment management company and broadcasts “Money Talk,” a radio talk show, once a week in Austin, Texas. Claire Stuart taught elementary education before getting a master’s degree in counseling at the University of Texas. Today, she is retired from her counseling career.

“They’ve been generous as donors, but I think even more so they’ve been well-rounded, active alumni,” said Jeff Liebermann, UI Foundation executive director of development for the liberal-arts school.

Carl Stuart is on the board for the liberal-arts component of the UI Alumni Association, and Claire Stuart is involved in the Dean’s Advisory Board for the college. 

They are both also acting as co-heads for the liberal-arts’ component of the For Iowa Forever More leadership campaign to be publically launched today.

Lynette Marshall, president and CEO of the UI Foundation, said student scholarships, faculty projects, and buildings are only some of the things that benefit from philanthropy.

“We are deeply appreciative of everyone who gives back to the university,” Marshall said. “When we tag all the people and places who have been affected by philanthropy, it’s ubiquitous across the campus.”

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