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.

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New gifts help The Ones Campaign reach $150 million mark

One year after launching, the University’s comprehensive campaign is making significant progress against its $225 million goal. Recent gifts have brought the fundraising total to $150 million. Donors are helping make the campaign’s mission come to life: harnessing the full power of what the University is capable of while helping to secure a bright future for generations of students to come.

Gifts announced in the last several months include investments that will support service and research projects in rural communities, grant funding for projects focused on social change, advance the University Center project, develop civic leaders, and increase resources for local entrepreneurs.

“As we celebrate the first year of The Ones campaign, I want to thank each of our donors who have answered the call to be part of The Ones—to create change and build a brighter future for the generations that will follow in our footsteps,” said Drake University President Marty Martin. “We are laying the foundation for the University’s future and embracing the collective potential our Drake community has to offer.”

Recent major gifts:

Principal Financial Group Foundation, Inc. has contributed more than $1 million to The Ones: Drake’s Campaign for the Brave and Bold. Their giving has supported the College of Business and Public Administration, the Harkin Institute, Crew Scholars program, the University 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 doctor and philanthropist in Des Moines, has 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. Their 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, Arizona, also gave $35,000 to the Center 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, Illinois have 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, Virginia, have generously committed two $100,000 scholarships for the Center 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 Center for Public Democracy reflects the Carsons’ strong commitment to democracy and public service, including Johnnie’s leadership as United States ambassador to Uganda, Zimbabwe, and Kenya.

Previously announced major gifts:

Drake University Law School celebrates 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 recently 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 recently approved three grants to Drake University: $275,000 to the Knapp Center renovation, $20,000 to the Sprout Garden to support student community engagement, and $56,850 to the Robert D. and Billie Ray Center.

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

Peggy Fisher, FA’70, the immediate past chair of the Drake University Board of Trustees, and her husband Larry Stelter, have pledged $3.325 million to the campaign. Their gift will support a number of the University’s priorities including the University 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 have 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, have 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, have 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, recently enhanced their support for the Buchanan Center with an additional $2 million gift. Housed in the College of Business and Public Administration, 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 have invested in Drake’s future with a $2 million estate gift for the University Center 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. The renovation is underway.

The David J. Noble Foundation committed $1 million to the Noble Center in Drake’s College of Business and Public Administration, 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 for the CBPA 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

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    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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