Editorial: Recognize Iowa State’s underrepresented programs


Iowa State Daily

Catt Hall after snowfall on Central Campus on Dec. 28, 2015.

Editorial Board

Iowa State University, for some time now, has been slyly making its case as the “University for Iowa,” — which, ironically enough, was a recent University of Iowa marketing campaign slogan devised as a means to, presumably, staunch some of the blood it’s been losing in the hotly contested battle for in-state admits.

Iowa State University already has a larger overall enrollment, more in-state students, and, perhaps most importantly, a cheaper in-state tuition than the University of Iowa. The recent gift to the Iowa State College of Liberal Arts and Sciences will only help to spur things along.

It was during a news conference this past Wednesday that Iowa State University announced it had recently received one of its largest donation to date: A $93 million endowment to its “Forever True, For Iowa State” fundraising campaign.

The donation came via an equity stake in Curriculum Associates Inc., an educational consultant firm located in Billerica, Massachusetts, by the kind means of an Iowa State alumni couple who wish to remain anonymous.

The gift will go toward supporting the Iowa State College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and, more specifically, will have a direct impact on the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication, the theater program and programs in data science among others.

This Editorial Board feels it appropriate, in light of such a generous gift to what are some relatively underrepresented programs offered by Iowa State, to highlight the quality and breadth of opportunity at the programs that will benefit from this donation, and that will certainly be expanded upon in the coming years.

Traditionally, it is the University of Iowa that is, and always has been Iowa’s college for the arts. Conversely, Iowa State University has chosen to specialize in its programs in engineering and agriculture. Despite this, the Iowa State University’s Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication has achieved immense success and is only going to grow more capable of doing so as this recent donation allows for the expansion of what is an already excellent program.

These kinds of donations are certainly very rare. They are windfalls for the university, and, relevantly, should be used not as mere funds for paying down past projects or investments. It is especially important that Iowa State continues to expand, and expanding into the sort of territory that this $93 million donation specifies is not only a recipe for just that but also a competitive investment in broadening Iowa State’s market.

As Iowa State continues to grow and continues in its quest toward its goals and mission, it is especially important it recognizes the value in all the breadth of programs it offers. It’s not merely the university’s excellent engineering, agriculture or veterinary programs that have allowed for its recent explosion in growth and success, but all of these other programs that have managed to do so well on such slimmer budgets. Hopefully this new gift will go one step further toward funding some of its future efforts.