Alumnus and wife honored through art museum naming


The UI is set to honor philanthropic alumnus and wife in the name of the new UI Art Museum.

By Emily Wangen

The new University of Iowa Museum of Art will be named in honor of a UI alumnus and his wife following a $10 million commitment.

The naming of the museum to honor Richard and Mary Jo Stanley was approved Wednesday by the state Board of Regents.

“The Stanley family has made an indelible mark on our university — and on the art world — and we are proud to name the University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art in honor of their gift,” UI President Bruce Harreld said in a press release from the UI Center for Advancement.

Senior Vice President for Finance & Operations Rod Lehnertz said during  the regents’ meeting Wednesday that the funds were committed in November and came from two generations of the Stanley family, with part of the contribution coming from the estate of Richard Stanley’s parents, C. Maxwell and Elizabeth Stanley.

Both were alumni of the university and C. Maxwell Stanley became a Distinguished Engineering Alumni Academy charter member in 1996.

The museum, which will be located on the East Side of campus near the Main Library, is set to open in 2020 and will be the final facility built after the 2008 flood, which destroyed numerous buildings on the UI campus, according to regent documents.

“It will complete a vibrant Arts Campus that serves the university, the community, and on,” Lehnertz said during the regents’ meeting.

Until then, the UI Center for Advancement said the UI art collection will continue to be housed in the IMU, the Figge Museum in Davenport, and museums around the country as a traveling display.

The UI Center for Advancement said the museum will come at a cost of $50 million and will be funded with private support, such as the support from the Stanley family, and bonds.

“When future generations visit the museum and see uplifting art from every corner of the world, they also will be witnessing the philanthropic impact of model citizens in and outside the state,” interim Director of the UI Museum of Art Jim Leach said in a press release from the UI Center for Advancement.

The building was not eligible for FEMA funds because the agency determined that the facility was structurally viable. However, the original facility was unable to be used as an art museum again because of insurance limitations stemming from its proximity to the Iowa River, according to the UI Center for Advancement.

Richard and Mary Jo Stanley have supported the UI in other ways, including Hancher and the College of Engineering.

The Stanley family has been a supporter of the UI Art Museum in the past, with C. Maxwell and Elizabeth Stanley donating one of the country’s finest collections of African art in 1985.

Like his parents, Richard Stanley attended the UI, graduating with a master’s degree in engineering in 1963. He became a Distinguished Engineering Alumni Academy charter member two years after his father.

Richard Stanley died in mid-November.

“Today, our university is stronger because of the Stanleys,” Harreld said in press release from the UI Center for Advancement. “With Dick’s recent passing, the university has lost one of our strongest advocates and supporters. He will be greatly missed.”

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