Guest Opinion: PHIL Is The Foundation


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It has been a long time since I was a University of Iowa student. I graduated from the UI in 1949 with a degree in accounting and a solid educational foundation on which to build a successful life.

Even then, as a young man making his way in the world for the first time, I felt a deep sense of gratitude for the education I received. I always felt a responsibility to repay the UI for starting me on a successful path — and that’s why I made my first donation to the UI in 1953. It was a check for $5, and it was as much as I could afford at that time.

I grew up on a farm in Belle Plaine, Iowa, the first generation in my family to go to college. My parents had an eighth-grade education, like many farm kids in their generation. My mother wanted more for me — she told me to “Get off the farm,” so I joined the Army Air Force and served with the 20th Air Force in the Pacific in World War II. After the war, the GI Bill enabled me to enroll at the UI, an opportunity I could not have pursued without that financial help.

I have enjoyed more success and experienced more in my life than I ever could have dreamed when I first stepped foot on the UI campus almost 70 years ago. As my prosperity has grown, so has my philanthropy. I give back to the university as repayment for benefits received — looking back in gratitude for what the university gave me as a young man. Even more meaningful to me, though, is looking forward to the future by supporting students. There is no more rewarding investment for me than donating money to ensure educational access for students whose families don’t have the means to pay for college (such as my parents) and providing resources that help make a UI education exceptional.

UI students, you are not only our future leaders, but also the future philanthropists who will take my place — to make sure that the UI continues to be the outstanding institution that it is. As you think about your goals for after college, I hope you will also have the ambition of becoming a philanthropist, at whatever level you are able.

Being a philanthropist — being “Phil” — is truly one of my proudest accomplishments, and I hope you will follow my example.

Henry B. Tippie (1949 B.S.C.)
UI Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, 2009
Lifetime Honorary Member, UI Foundation Board of Directors
Austin, Texas

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