A Des Moines businessman, who has donated millions of dollars to Iowa’s universities over two decades, has now given the University of Northern Iowa the largest gift in the school’s history. The $15 million donation from Richard O. Jacobson will benefit UNI’s College of Education.
The announcement on the UNI campus today included comments from the school’s Executive Vice-President and Provost, Dr. Gloria Gibson. “This generous gift will help elevate UNI’s reputation so we can attract and retain the very best faculty and continue to provide our students with an excellent education here at UNI,” Gibson said.
Much of the money will go toward improving teacher training in classrooms across the state. “Because of this funding, our preparation of teachers will be greatly enhanced,” Gibson said. “Iowa teachers will become better teachers and thousands of Iowa children will benefit.”
The donation comes nearly one year after UNI officials rolled out a controversial plan that resulted in the closing of the Malcolm Price Lab School – which served as a teacher training program.
UNI College of Education Dean Dwight Watson said part of Jacobson’s gift will fund scholarships for future teachers. In addition, the donation will pay for two endowed professorships in literacy and elementary science education. The money will also fund an annual education summit at UNI.