Guest Opinion: Giving to excellence at the UI


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As a lifelong Iowa resident and University of Iowa graduate, I’ve known for a long time that the UI stands for excellence in higher education. Returning in 1997 to pursue a career at Iowa was one of the best things I’ve done. I’ve grown professionally, and in 2009, I applied for, and received, assistance from the UI Division of Finance and Operations to pursue an executive M.B.A. from the UI Tippie College of Business. I was honored to receive tuition assistance, and I likely would not have been able to pursue my advanced degree without it.

That’s why my husband (also an alum and UI employee) and I decided, long ago, to give back to the university by donating to areas that have meaning to us. We’ve been very fortunate to be afforded a number of opportunities while at the university. It’s our way to “pay it forward” in appreciation of the support we’ve received along the way.

As part of the philanthropic efforts at the University of Iowa, I’m proud to be one of three co-heads for a new faculty/staff giving program:  We are Phil.

You’ve probably all heard the name “Phil” mentioned in relation to private support at Iowa. That’s because the University of Iowa Foundation has adopted the name to refer to not only the people who make philanthropic gifts to the UI but also to all who are beneficiaries of private giving.
Building on that philosophy, who better to ask to contribute, than the people who help make good things happen at Iowa?

Our first-ever giving campaign for UI employees kicked off last fall. My fellow co-heads and I, on behalf of the UI and the UI Foundation, asked our colleagues to find an area in the university — not just where they work but anywhere on campus — that they may be passionate about and give. Our message was about participation — a gift of any size is helpful — and though hundreds of my colleagues already give, we aimed to increase the number of faculty and staff who give back to the university each year. I’m proud to say we are well on our way to reaching our participation goal, with close to 2,400 UI employees who have made gifts to support the university this year.

It’s an honor and a privilege to work for the university, and I look forward to seeing what my colleagues can accomplish — both in our work environments and through our collective giving.

Joni Troester (1987 B.S., 1989 M.A., 2011 M.B.A.)
director, UI Human Resource Services
Organizational Effectiveness/Health and Productivity
2013-14 We Are Phil co-head

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