UI president Bruce Harreld speaks in an interview with The Daily Iowan in Adler Journalism Building on Wednesday, March 7, 2018. (Lily Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Guest Opinion: The importance of generosity to the UI

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UI President Bruce Harreld encourages the university community to reflect on the positive effect of private donations.

At this time of year, the work of the university really blooms. Students are finishing up papers and projects, many students are preparing for graduation, and the calendar is filling up with many exciting concerts, exhibits, lectures, and presentations before the end of the semester arrives.

As we look back at this academic year, we should also reflect on how philanthropy has played a major role in all we’ve accomplished. On Phil’s Day, we once again set aside time to celebrate and thank those who have helped make our UI experience the best it can be. Let us all reflect on the importance of our private donors’ generosity and the difference they’ve made.

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Gathering the resources for us to achieve the excellence we aim for in all areas has always been a collaborative undertaking. State funding, tuition dollars from students and their families, research grants, and private donations have always been crucial parts of the UI’s funding mix. Today, private giving is playing an increasingly important part among those resources.

As UI students, you all benefit from the vision, goodwill, and resources of the people of our state, but you also are able to enjoy a world-class education thanks to the vision, goodwill, and resources of those who give back to the university through the philanthropic spirit. You may have benefited from a scholarship funded by a private donor. You no doubt have learned from a professor who has been able to conduct the research he or she has shared with you in the classroom thanks in part to private support. You certainly have learned in facilities across campus that were made possible by our generous donors. We have Phil to thank for all of this.

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Phil’s Day is also about reflecting on how philanthropy plays an important role in leading a good life in general. Especially to those students who will walk across the commencement stage in a few weeks, we hope you remember how much philanthropy has played a part in your success here at Iowa, setting the stage for a great career and community life. We also hope that you turn that reflection into action and that you not only remember the benefits of philanthropy but also participate in the world of Phil. Phil’s Day is the perfect time to stop and think about how important Phil has been to your life so far and how you can best show your philanthropic spirit in the future.

-— J. Bruce Harreld

University President

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