Iowa Hosts Annual Athletics Named Scholarship Celebration

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By Rick Klatt
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Arguably one of the annual events that speaks most directly to the special relationship between the intercollegiate athletics program at the University of Iowa and the importance of private support was staged in early December in the Transamerica Student-Athlete Training Center inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

The event was the 18th-annual Athletic Named Scholarship Celebration, and it brought together individuals who have endowed an athletics scholarship at the UI and the student-athletes who are the recipients of that generosity in 2014-15.

To learn more about Hawkeye Visions, our athletics endowed scholarship program, and to view photos from this event and the halftime recognition of our scholarship contributors, please click HERE.

 "Endowed scholarship support has never been more important. You have helped us build our endowment to $47.1 million, with especially significant gains over the last 18 months," UI director of athletics Gary Barta wrote in the souvenir program for the evening.

"That accomplishment is remarkable when put in context with everything else you have helped us build over that same time period. We have renovated, built, and enhanced numerous athletics facilities, while outpacing many of our peers in the Big Ten in the growth of our scholarship endowment. We are truly grateful for your generosity."

The souvenir program for the event shared two examples of fans of the Hawkeyes who have helped secure the UI future by participating in the endowed scholarship program.  Herm and Dianne Reininga of Cedar Rapids, both graduates of the UI, have provided financial support for the Hawkeyes for more than five decades.  The couple established the Herm and L. Dianne Reininga Engineering/Athletic Scholarship.  The fund is used to support a deserving UI student-athlete majoring in engineering.

"My grandmother always said to put something in the offering plate on Sunday, and I do," said Herm. "Dianne is the budget manager at our house, and she finds ways in our budget to support Iowa. It is her direction that determines the amount we provide, and her leadership on finances that has provided the scholarships and support for athletics and the university."

Bud and Georgina Johnson of Monticello -- both lifelong athletes who come from families that placed high value on hard work -- believe in helping student-athletes make the kinds of memories that will last their lifetime.

"Sooner or later, we all put away the bat, ball, and glove," said Bud. "Special people sacrificed to make life-long memories for me 50 years ago, and now we want to do that for others."

The Johnson's have established two endowed scholarship at the UI.  The first benefits the UI's women's basketball program and was established in2004; the second benefits the UI's volleyball program.

"We enjoy helping people, and seeing the effect that we can have," said Bud. "It's all about making your life count for something and impacting as many people as you can."

"As many of you know, student-athletes are fixed on wins and losses," said UI women's basketball standout Ally Disterhoft, speaking on behalf of all of the 650-plus student-athletes at the UI and, in particular, those who are beneficiaries of endowed scholarships.  "We're a competitive group, who compete at the highest level of college athletics and your support goes a long way toward helping us achieve those wins on the playing field.

"At the same time, we recognize what we learned through sports goes far beyond the wins and losses. We learn the value of team work and persistence, to trust your teammates, and how talent alone is not enough to overcome the adversity we'll sooner or later confront in competition or life.  We learn all of these things in large part because of your generosity and support."

"I wish more people had the opportunity to experience this event," said long-time contributor Dr. Sue Beckwith, who has endowed a scholarship for both rowing and women's basketball.

"Each time I interact with student-athletes, hear them speak, or watch them compete, it reaffirms the reasons I support the scholarship program. They are amazingly poised, articulate, and hard-working, and truly appreciate the opportunities they have been given. I know our future is in great hands with young people of this caliber."

Endowments are funds with a minimum balance requirement in which the principal is investing in perpetuity and a portion of the fund's value (payout) is allocated for the donor designated purpose.  Under the UI Foundation's spending policy, annual payout will be increased by the Consumer Price Index (inflation rate) for the prior calendar year.  Historical annual payout over time has averaged 4.5 percent of endowment value.  The investment objective for the UI Foundation endowment is to seek maximum total return consistent with the preservation of principal, diversification, and avoidance of excessive risk. These objectives are designed to provide a steady flow of income for the donor-designated purpose.

Endowed scholarships are a key piece of the budget pie for the UI Athletics Department as it works to pay the expenses associated with the cost of tuition, room and board, books, and fees for approximately 435 scholarship student-athletes annually.  Those expenses will likely climb past $11 million in 2015-16; the UI spent just $7.6 million on this expenses as recently as 2009-10. The UI has 238 student-athletes that were recipients of named, endowed athletic scholarships for the 2014-15 academic year.

There a three levels of participation in the Hawkeye Visions program:  Visionary, Leadership, and Sustaining.  The "Visionary" level allows a named, endowed scholarship for a specific team position to be established. The "Leadership" level allows a named, endowed scholarship for a specific sport to be established.  Lastly, the "Sustaining" level allows a named, endowed scholarship to be established.

*This article was first featured in Hawk Talk Daily, the Hawkeye fans' daily connection to the University of Iowa Department of Intercollegiate Athletics.

Editor's Note: For more information about the Hawkeye Visions program, please contact Sloane R. Tyler at the University of Iowa Foundation at or (319) 467-3410.

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