Third-year program sees progress


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Two years after it was created, University of Iowa officials said the Golden Pledge program continues to be successful after raising millions of dollars to create new scholarships.

When UI President Sally Mason announced the program in October 2012, she said the goal was to increase the number of need- and merit-based scholarships at the UI through private donations and matching funds. The UI agreed to match private dollars to at least $100,000.

Dana Larson, the head of communications for the UI Foundation, said the initiative has been successful, with more than $8.4 million has been committed for the program.

“Donors have clearly responded enthusiastically to the idea that they could establish an endowment and have the income from that endowment matched through 2017,” she said. “It doubles the impact of their support, which is appealing to everyone.”

The Golden Pledge is one part of the larger “For Iowa. Forever More.” campaign, which began in 2008 and will continue through 2016, with the goal of raising $1.7 billion for the various needs across the university.

Lynette Marshall, the president and CEO of the UI Foundation, said Golden Pledge has been a triumph for both the school and students, leading to the creation of 57 scholarship endowments.

Larson pointed to a scholarship designed for students teaching abroad in the College of Education as an example of the program’s success. The scholarship would have normally only gone to two students, but through the Golden Pledge, two more additional students received it last year.

Joseph Brennan, the UI vice president for Strategic Communication, said that in the two years since the program’s creation, 399 students have received $850,000 in aid.

Mary Louise Petersen, along with husband Rand, alumni from the class of 1951, donated $1 million to the program last year because she knew how important scholarships were for the university. 

“Education is the best investment that young people can make for their lives,” Mary Petersen said. “And it is the best investment that we as alumni and concerned citizens of the state can make for the future of our young people and the future of our state.”

Petersen is also the eponym for the new west campus residence hall, which will be opened next fall.  She noted that there are not many things people can invest in and have their money double instantly.

“You make an investment in the stock market, and you get 3 percent or 4 percent return on your money if you’re lucky … but the scholarships for the next several years are going to be matched by the university and that doubles your money,” she said. “You can’t do better than that.”

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