Powerful Progress

You are the ones transforming our vision into a reality. Thanks to the support of our engaged Bulldogs, dedicated faculty, devoted alumni, and diverse student body—we are making great strides toward our goal. Together with your support, we are leading Drake University into its next great era.

Thermometer jan 24

Drake enters new year of The Ones campaign with strong momentum

  • The University has raised $216 million of its $225 million goal as capital campaign enters 2024
  • $52 million has been committed to new and existing scholarships—both endowed and restricted
  • More than 300 scholarships have been newly created or increased
  • $25 million raised for Annual Giving, which includes The Drake Fund, to directly benefit the University’s operating budget

The Ones campaign has reached $216 million of its $225 million goal. As we enter 2024, we reflect on the generosity of our donors and celebrate their commitment to creating a better future for our University, our region, and our world.

From the opening of Mediacom Stadium and the unveiling of Zimpleman College of Business this past year, to the more than 300 new and expanded scholarships that will benefit students for years to come, the impact of the campaign can be seen and felt across campus, all thanks to donors who believe that together we can transform lives and strengthen communities.

The Ones Who Will Build the Future
A priority of the campaign is to expand opportunities for students of all ages to learn and lead, ensuring a brighter future for current and future students who choose to study at Drake. Living up to our commitment to providing accessible education, more than $52 million has been committed to new and existing scholarships across all seven colleges and schools.

These scholarships play a pivotal role in shaping the academic journeys of our students, providing not just financial support but also empowering them with enriching projects and programs throughout their time at Drake.

To date, of the more than 300 scholarships created or impacted by the campaign, 68 scholarships are supported by endowments exceeding $100,000. These have been created to support students in the Jay N. Darling Institute, Digital Proficiency Platform, The Ron and Jane Olson Institute for Public Democracy, and Changemaker initiatives.

Other Key Campaign Achievements from 2023:

  • The 2023 calendar year kicked off with the unveiling of The Zimpleman College of Business, allowing the college to pursue a range of initiatives focused on corporate social responsibility. The multi-million-dollar philanthropic investment from Larry, BN’73, GR’79 and his wife Kathi, LA’76 Zimpleman is enhancing hands-on learning experiences that connect students to the higher purpose of business, providing additional scholarship support, and being a catalyst for developmental opportunities for faculty to grow and serve as thought leaders in their disciplines.
  • In October 2023, Drake and Des Moines Public Schools celebrated the grand opening of the state-of-the-art Mediacom Stadium, a testament to our commitment to excellence in athletics and community engagement.
  • Construction work began in November 2023 for the revitalization of Morehouse Hall, one of our most historic campus buildings that will serve as a vibrant student center supporting over 150 student-led organizations.
  • The Ron & Jane Olson Institute for Public Democracy was unveiled in November 2023 and reinforces our dedication to fostering civic engagement and public discourse.

Rallying Around a Common Cause

We are immensely grateful for—but not surprised by—the support we've received from our alumni, friends, and supporters who have unified around the goal of transforming lives and strengthening communities. Seventy-three percent of campaign gifts are in cash gifts and pledges, and 27 percent are in deferred gifts. $25 million has also been raised for Annual Giving, which includes The Drake Fund that directly benefits the University’s operating budget.

Working together, we are creating immediate positive change while securing a brighter future for all Drake students. As we enter this final phase of the campaign, we will continue to drive progress as we pursue what a university can and should be—for our students, for our communities, and for a better world.

Recently announced gifts:

Kim White Drost, BN’91, a Drake alumna living in St. Louis, MO, recently documented a planned gift for the Donald V. Adams Leadership Institute. She is a longtime leadership-level donor to the Adams Leadership Institute. Drost was incredibly involved as a student. She served as the Student Body President and received the Oreon E. Scott Senior of the Year award.

Brent, ED’70, and Diane, ED’70, Slay of Grand Rapids, MI, recently made an additional gift of more than $100,000 to The Slay Fund for Social Justice. The Slay Fund offers grants to Drake students, staff, and faculty to engage in the work of social justice and provides assistance for a wide range of projects making a significant impact on the University, the Des Moines community, the nation, and the world.

John, BN’82, and Jan, PH’83, Miller gave $100,000 for the renovation and revitalization of Morehouse Hall. The former residence hall, one of the most beautiful and historical buildings on campus, will transform into a lively student center serving as a gathering place and home base for more than 150 student-led campus organizations. John serves on Drake’s Board of Trustees, and he and Jan live in Lenexa, KS.

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Drake University received $1,175,000 in endowment and operating grants from The Bernard Osher Foundation to strengthen and expand its programming. Previously known as the RaySociety, OLLI’s name change signifies its inclusion as one of 125 lifelong learning institutes on university and college campuses across the country supported by the Osher Foundation.

Jane Kelley, ED’64, made a $50,000 gift to The Ones campaign for the revitalization of Morehouse Hall. She also created the Jane E. Kelley Restricted Scholarship, which supports graduate students in the School of Education. Kelley lives in Clive, Iowa.

Previously announced major gifts:

Bill, BN’60, and Nancy Longfield, ’62, of Mt. Pleasant, S.C., supported The Ones campaign by creating 10 Public Democracy Scholarships with a $1 million gift. The Public Democracy Scholars program provides powerful opportunities for students to engage in the democratic process and prepare for careers in public service. Scholars receive a $5,000 scholarship each year for their participation in the program.

Allied Construction Services and Bob Maddox III committed $50,000 to The Ones campaign for the Student Center in the revitalized Morehouse. Bob, a friend of the University and a resident of Des Moines, was inspired to support the campaign after attending a campaign event at the home of Suzie Glazer Burt, co-chair of The Ones campaign.

Mary Ellen, PH’88, and Stephen Fitzsimonds, BN'87, generously committed $32,000 to create the Fitzsimonds Faculty Fellowships. The Fitzsimonds Faculty Fellowships enable faculty innovation and course redesign to provide meaningful community-based learning opportunities. Over a four-year period, their investment will support up to 16 faculty members who will develop new experiential learning opportunities for more than 400 students each year.

The estate of Joseph Massik, LA’50, and the estate of Carolyn Livingstone, Joseph’s former spouse, has collectively given more than $3.7 million to The Ones campaign. The gifts have supported the overall operation of the institution. Joseph spent 50 years in real estate development in the Boston area.

In June 2023, Drake University celebrated three additional and remarkable gifts to Mediacom Stadium, the new community stadium built in partnership with the Des Moines Public Schools. Three areas of the stadium recognize these well-known companies for their support:

  • The Casey’s Concourse and Plaza
  • The SCHEELS Video Board
  • The Fareway Hillside

L. Suzanne (Jost) BeDell, JO’81, from St. Louis, Mo., funded an endowed scholarship for Digital Proficiency with a gift of $100,000. The Inclusive Scholars of Digital Proficiency program addresses the growing demand for leaders with diverse talents and perspectives in technology careers. This gift will provide a $5,000 scholarship, annually, to a student majoring in math, math education, computer science, data analytics, artificial intelligence, or information systems.

Joe, BN’80, and Leslie, LA’79, Aiello generously contributed $500,000 to support facility updates at the Olmsted Center.

Randy Stolt, LA’73, of Savannah, Ga., created a generous endowed scholarship in memory of his late wife, Valerie. The scholarship will support an undergraduate or graduate student studying science, biology, chemistry, technology, pharmaceutical science, math, and/or computer science.

Tracy, LA’86, and Franklin Codel designated a planned gift toward the University’s endowment and the Tracy and Franklin Codel Excellence in Math Education Scholarship. Their scholarship supports a student who is preparing to teach secondary math. The Codels live in West Des Moines.

Larry, BN’73, GR’79 and his wife Kathi, LA’76 Zimpleman were honored for their extraordinary commitment and decades-long relationship with Drake when the University named the business college the Larry and Kathleen Zimpleman College of Business. 

Sammons Financial Group committed $3.15 million to Drake to support the development of the Sammons Intercultural Center and Sammons Plaza, along with support for two scholarship funds that will create a total of 14 endowed scholarships.

Mediacom Communications helped fund a new stadium that hosts student-athletes from Des Moines Public Schools and Drake University. Mediacom Stadium—named in recognition of the company’s leadership-level support to Drake for the project—opened in fall 2023.

Marshall Flapan, LA’59, from Des Moines, created the Marshall and Judith Flapan Professor of Biology at Drake University. Endowed, named professorships are the highest honor a university can bestow on a faculty member. This $1 million endowed fund will recognize an outstanding faculty member in the biological sciences, empowering them to make significant contributions to Drake University, its students, and the field of biology.

Greg, PH’76, and Cie Johansen have supported Drake in numerous ways over the years. Through The Ones campaign, the Johansens invested in the Meredith renovation project with funding for solar panels, the Knapp Center renovation, and John Dee Bright College. Greg has served on the Drake Board of Trustees since 2015. The couple lives in Cumming, Iowa.

Steven, PH’73, and Connie Kamerling of Kalamazoo, Mich., committed $400,000 through an estate gift to support the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. Their gift will create the Steven G. and Connie D. Kamerling Endowed Scholarship and the Steven G. and Connie D. Kamerling Endowed Student Research Fund. The scholarship fund will be awarded to pharmacy students who are interested in careers outside of community practice during their last two years in the pharmacy program. The research fund will enhance student research in pharmacy.

Four retired federal judges who are alumni of the Drake University Law School united to create an endowed scholarship for Drake Law students. Mark Bennett, LW’75, who serves as director of the Drake Law School’s Institute of Justice Reform & Innovation, spearheaded the idea as he had seen the need for increased scholarship support firsthand through his role on the faculty. His colleagues, James Gritzner, LW’79; John Jarvey, LW’81; and Linda Reade, LA’70, LW’80, quickly agreed to also fund the scholarship.

Michael McGrath, GR’73, of Harrisburg, Pa., was grateful for the support he received as a graduate student in the 1970s and wanted to “pay it back.” He created the Michael McGrath Endowed Scholarship, which will be awarded to undergraduate students from historically underrepresented populations, with a $1 million gift.

Principal Financial Group in Des Moines advanced The Ones campaign with an investment of $750,000. The gift is designated for supporting facility updates at Olmsted Center and the Inclusive Scholars of Digital Proficiency program that will build a diverse pipeline of talent in technology and analytics. The company has given more than $13.5 million to Drake University throughout the years.

Wells Fargo gave $500,000 to the Drake Small Business Clinic. The gift will formalize the partnership between the Drake Small Business Clinic and the Evelyn K. Davis Center for Working Families to provide resources to local entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds as they launch and grow their businesses.

Dr. Richard Deming, a generous doctor and philanthropist in Des Moines, established The Deming Initiative: A Path to Joy through Social Impact at Drake. The Deming Initiative enhances Drake’s Changemaker priority by offering grants for students and faculty whose projects advance social change and, ultimately, create a path to joy for those impacted by the work. He committed a $62,500 cash gift and a $1 million deferred gift.

Darnell, BN’80, and Donna, LA’80, Pettengill honored their families’ ties to rural America and Drake University with a $100,000 gift to the Jay N. Darling Institute. The investment will create a DarlingCorps Scholarship, which provides opportunities for a Drake student to partner with a rural community on a service or research project. The Pettengills, who live in Rio Verde, Ariz., also gave $35,000 to the Institute for Public Democracy to fund a summer youth leadership institute led by the Robert D. and Billie Ray Center. The couple has supported Drake University for many years, including service on the Drake Parents Board. Their children Laura, BN’09, LW’12, and Michael, BN’12, LW’15, are also Drake graduates. 

Building on a history of championing Drake’s entrepreneurial and sustainability programs, John Lorentzen, BN’77, LA’77, and Penney Fillmer of Deer Grove, Ill., made a leadership gift to the Jay N. Darling Institute. Their gift will create a $100,000 DarlingCorps Scholarship and a $30,000 endowed fund to support the institute’s programming in rural America. 

Johnnie, LA’65, and Anne Carson from Reston, Va., generously committed two $100,000 scholarships for the Institute for Public Democracy. The Public Democracy Scholars program will prepare students to be civic leaders through dedicated coursework and immersive engagement. Their passion for the Institute for Public Democracy reflects the Carsons’ strong commitment to democracy and public service, including Johnnie’s leadership as ambassador to Uganda, Zimbabwe, and Kenya.

Drake University Law School celebrated a $3.25 million gift to establish the J. Locke (LW’48) and Harriet S. Macomber Drake Law School Fund that will support the Drake Entrepreneurial and Transactional Clinic. The clinic represents entrepreneurs and innovators located in underserved Des Moines neighborhoods and rural communities who are not able to afford legal counsel.  

Tom Bernau, BN’85, LW’88, president of Bernau Capital in West Des Moines, Iowa, committed a $1 million gift to Drake Law School. Tom serves on the campaign steering committee and the Drake University Board of Trustees.  

Ike Vanden Eykel, BN’71, and his wife, Cathy, contributed $1.05 million to support the operations and long-term vitality of Drake University. Ike serves on the Drake University Board of Trustees and the campaign steering committee. Ike and Cathy live in Dallas, Texas, where Ike is a managing shareholder and CEO at Koons-Fuller PC.  

Steve Nellis, BN’64, contributed a leadership gift to the campaign. His gift will support scholarships for the John Dee Bright College along with renovations around the Drake campus, the annual fund, Drake Athletics, and the University’s live mascot program. Steve serves as an honorary chair of the campaign and is the retired division general manager for Praxair, Inc.  

Sue Wright, retired deputy provost at Drake and professor emerita of sociology, generously contributed $100,000 to create an endowment for the Crew Scholars program. Crew Scholars provides resources proven to help students of color achieve academic success, become campus leaders, and thrive at Drake.  

Marta Codina committed a leadership level planned gift to the Robert D. and Billie Ray Center. The Ray Center is one of the nation’s leading institutes for providing character education for youth from early childhood through college-age. Marta, who is a senior vice president at Wells Fargo Bank, has served on the Ray Center’s board since 2011 and joined the Drake University Board of Trustees in 2021.  

Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino approved three grants to Drake University. They are contributing $275,000 to the Knapp Center renovation, $20,000 to Sprout Garden, which supports student community engagement, and $56,850 to the Robert D. and Billie Ray Center.  

Campaign co-chair and Drake Trustee Suzie Glazer Burt donated more than $8 million to the campaign, including major gifts to the women’s basketball program. As part of her leadership giving to Drake, she and her late husband Gregory Burt helped create the Gregory & Suzie Glazer Burt Boys & Girls Club on the Drake University campus.  

Campaign co-chair and Drake Trustee Mark Ernst, BN’80, and his wife, LeighAnn Davis, pledged $3 million for unrestricted uses, reflecting a strong endorsement of the University and its leadership.  

Peggy Fisher, FA’70, the chair of the Drake University Board of Trustees, and her husband Larry Stelter, pledged $3.325 million to the campaign. Their gift will support a number of the University’s priorities including the revitalization of Morehouse Hall into a lively student center, the Burt Club, the men’s basketball program, and various gifts supporting the University’s annual fund and endowment.  

Paul Schickler, BN’74, GR’83, and his wife Claudia donated $6 million to the campaign. Their contributions will help renovate the Knapp Center, fund the men’s basketball program, and support the Jay N. Darling Institute. The Darling Institute collaborates with rural communities to make them more sustainable, competitive in the global economy, and resilient for future generations. Paul also serves on the Drake University Board of Trustees.  

Karen Shaff, LW’79, and her husband Steven Jayne, LW’78, pledged $1 million to the campaign to support the Drake University Law School Refugee Clinic. Through the Refugee Clinic, second- and third-year Drake Law students provide free legal services to individuals who are applying for asylum in the United States and other forms of humanitarian relief.  

Sheldon Fleck, LW’75, and his wife Terry Fleck, PH’74, contributed $1 million through the campaign to be used by the Drake University Law School to create the Sheldon T. and Terry K. Fleck Endowed Law Scholarship. One Fleck Scholar will be chosen in each Drake Law School class based on demonstrated need, superior academic records, and potential. The scholar will receive full tuition and additional financial support.  

Honorary Campaign Chairs, Bill, BN’57, and Jean Buchanan, enhanced their support for the Buchanan Center with an additional $2 million gift. Housed in the Zimpleman College of Business, the Buchanan Center offers a variety of curricular and co-curricular programming to foster entrepreneurship among Drake students.  

Gary Porter, BN’72, and his wife Melissa Porter invested in Drake’s future with a $2 million estate gift and a $100,000 endowed gift to the Changemaker Scholars program. The Changemakers Scholars program creates opportunities for students to use their talents to create positive change in the world.  

Meredith Corporation (now Dotdash Meredith) and the Edwin T. Meredith Foundation collectively committed $3 million to the renovation and enhancement of Meredith Hall. Meredith Hall is the home of Drake’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication; renovation work is nearing completion.  

The David J. Noble Foundation committed $1 million to the Noble Center in Drake’s College of Business and Public Administration—now known as Zimpleman College of Business—including funds that will provide scholarships to students who are first in their family to attend a four-year institution. In 2014, the late David Noble and American Equity committed $1.5 million to create the Noble Center.

    Powerful Vision

    Our campaign priorities represent a powerful vision that will transform our campus, students, community, and world. To realize the full potential of The Ones, we are seeking support in the following areas.

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    Strengthening Student Access and Opportunity—Scholarship support will help Drake recruit, retain, and engage students whose interests and career aspirations align with our priorities and make the University affordable for the next generation. The Ones contains a defined commitment to expand access for students from underrepresented groups.

    Goal: $60–$70 million

    Enriching Programming—New or evolved programming will provide students with powerful experiential learning that will prepare them for successful futures, including opportunities for internships, travel, service-learning, leadership, and community engagement. It will also advance Drake’s commitment to transform lives and strengthen communities in Iowa and beyond.

    Goal: $25–$35 million

    Supporting Talent—Investments in our faculty and staff through endowed positions, fellowships, research support, and professional development will ensure Drake has the leadership, knowledge, and expertise necessary to implement our campaign initiatives and maintain our exceptional academic environment.

    Goal: $40–$50 million

    Funding Capital Projects—The construction and renovation of buildings will enhance the student experience and elevate teaching and learning. While the University Center and athletic facilities are the most prominent examples, capital support will also refresh classrooms, laboratories, and collaborative spaces.

    Goal: $40–$70 million

    Building Our Collective Strength—Annual gifts to The Drake Fund fuel our mission promise and help Drake deliver a resilient education that lasts a lifetime.

    Goal: $10–$12 million

    Join the ones
    who share the vision.

    By elevating Drake together, we will secure a more vibrant future for those who follow our footsteps. Join the ones who will transform Drake’s vision into a reality by adding your support to the campaign for the brave & bold.

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