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Iowa philanthropist Henry B. Tippie remembered

Henry B. Tippie, one of the University of Iowa’s most significant supporters and benefactors, died on Sunday at his home in Austin, Texas. He was 95.

Tippie once said that if he felt he could ever get in a position to give some assistance to those in need of a University of Iowa education, he would try to do something as repayment for all that the university gave him, according to a memorial page on the university’s website.

He made his first donation to the university in 1953, and that unsolicited $5 gift for the Chester F. Phillips Scholarship Fund sparked decades of loyal giving to Iowa. Throughout the years, he and his wife of 65 years, Patricia, supported a wide range of programs benefiting UI students and faculty. During the campaign to raise funds for the business building, Tippie supported a 175-seat auditorium, a student lounge, and Pat’s Diner, named in honor of Patricia.

In 1999, in recognition of the Tippies’ support, the university renamed its business college as the Henry B. Tippie College of Business, marking the first time that a UI academic division was named in honor of an individual.

“Henry pursued his goals with focus and persistence, coupled with patience and certainty of path,” said Amy Kristof-Brown, dean of the Tippie College of Business. “He paid attention to details and had a keen mind for understanding their implications. He had a generous soul that led him to show his thankfulness both financially and through enthusiastic personal support.”

After serving in the Army during World War II, Tippie graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in accounting in 1949 and then helped to lead what is now called Rollins Inc. He helped build it into a $2 billion company, and his innovative leadership is now honored on the Wall of Leaders at the New York Stock Exchange, one of only 16 to be so recognized.

Tippie was an original member of the college’s board of visitors, now the Tippie Advisory Board, and he was a lifetime honorary director of the University of Iowa Foundation, now the University of Iowa Center for Advancement. He was a member of the national campaign committee for Iowa Endowment 2000 and served on the steering committee for UI’s successful $1 billion “Good. Better. Best. Iowa” campaign. He and his wife were also honorary co-chairs of the $1.9 billion campaign “For Iowa. Forever More.”

In 2014, he also helped establish the Tippie Society to recognize those who give $1 million or more to the college. He and Patricia created a $15 million matching challenge that, by the time the university’s comprehensive campaign ended in 2016, resulted in $30 million in gifts to the college.

Henry’s generosity has had a tremendous impact on the University of Iowa. More than 900 University of Iowa students have received a Henry B. Tippie Scholarship. Within the Tippie College, a number of faculty members receive research funding that is either provided by or in honor of Tippie, including six Tippie-related faculty chairs, eight Henry B. Tippie Professorships, and 17 Henry B. Tippie Fellowships.

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