A Herky statue with a "PHIL Was Here" sash stands on the Pentacrest on Monday, April 24. Beginning in 2012, the UI launched PHIL Was Here to celebrate philanthropy at the university. (The Daily Iowan/Ben Smith)

Guest opinion: Philanthropy helps dreams become reality

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From students to generous alumni, Mark and Leslie Nolte recognize the importance of the UI to all Iowans.

Growing up in this state, I dreamed of one day attending the University of Iowa. On fall Saturdays at Kinnick Stadium, I caught a glimpse of the brick buildings and tree-lined walkways. I knew they led to information, knowledge, and a whole tribe of new minds to connect with. When the day finally came to unpack my few belongings in Quadrangle Hall, I knew I was finally where I had always wanted to be. My years on campus certainly lived up to the anticipation. The classes, professors, friends, and opportunities created a life-changing experience.     

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As a student, one does not always appreciate how much the path was paved by those who have gone before, exercising their ability to give back. Now that Leslie and I have made this community our family’s home, we have a much better understanding of how vital the long-term success of the university is for our entire state. Hancher Auditorium is one shining example that we are proud to support. Not only is this new facility a marvel of world-class architecture and programming, it also strives to make the arts accessible to all Iowans. These experiences spark curiosity and imagination in audiences, young and old, to remind us what it means to be alive in this era of technology and separation.

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Every dollar of support to the UI today returns itself over and over as successive generations of learners have the opportunity to develop the skills they need to save lives, shape minds, and transform our future. One of the values we hope to instill in our children is the understanding of the value of giving back. We are proud to play our small part toward the future of the UI and hope that everyone can find their own way to celebrate Phil.

Mark (98BS) and Leslie Nolte (98BA)

Iowa City

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