The Latest Campaign Update


It’s amazing what our alumni do.

In just the past few months, Drake has celebrated the ground breaking for a state-of-the-art basketball practice facility, dedicated the resource-rich Drake University Archives, launched an innovative program to provide hands-on entrepreneurial opportunities, and created a unique interactive marketing event defined as much by partnership as competition. These exciting additions to the Drake experience demonstrate the impact our alumni’s financial support continues to have as we enter the fifth year of distinctlyDrake.

campaign-chartOf course the Drake experience wouldn’t even be possible without all you do to support the University’s annual operations. Gifts ranging from $1 to $50,000 fuel daily possibilities and add up—day after day—to an enormous impact on our future. Giving to The Drake Fund is one of the easiest ways to make an immediate difference in the lives of students.

Loyalty takes many forms, and our alumni are doing remarkable things to enrich Drake’s impact in the classroom, in the University’s community, and beyond. Mentoring a student, providing a professional internship, participating in DU Good Day, refusing to let April weather dampen your Blue Oval enthusiasm: In so many ways our alumni stay connected, get involved, and make a difference.

You can do something impactful. Together we can do something extraordinary. For more information, contact John Smith, AS’92, GR’00, vice president for Alumni and Development, 515-271-2969,



Putting the Ball in Drake’s Court

It all started with a sizable bag of loose change.

While the coins collected by Tristan Clubb added up to $10, his donation to distinctlyDrake started something much bigger—the fundraising efforts for an $8-million basketball practice facility.

More than a year after Director of Athletics Sandy Hatfield Clubb’s teenage son put the ball in play, construction is in full swing on the state-of-the-art building. Now taking shape on the northeast side of The Knapp Center, the completed facility will feature two 12,000-square-foot practice courts, men’s and women’s locker rooms, a hospitality suite, and top-notch team meeting and film study rooms. Supporters hope the newest digs in the Missouri Valley Conference will give the Bulldogs an added competitive edge.

Those supporters are numerous: 145 gifts of all sizes were made to the project. The largest contributions came from Ron and Beverly Shivers and Suzie and Greg Burt. Both families have a strong connection to Drake.

Suzie Burt’s family has a long history of involvement with the University—both her grandfather and father as well as her mother, Maddie Levitt, supported Drake with their time, talent, and treasure.

“My mom felt it was truly a privilege to take a leadership role in elevating the University to another level of national prominence,” says Suzie Burt, who recently joined the Drake University Board of Trustees. “I look forward to carrying on her legacy and hope that our gift will contribute to elevating the national stature and reputation of Drake’s basketball program.”

The Shivers family has its own history with Drake. Beverly was a longtime receptionist at Goodwin-Kirk Residence Hall, retiring in 2013 after 23 years of employment at the University. The couple’s leadership gift significantly propelled progress
on the practice facility, which when completed will carry the Shivers’ name.

“Our mission is to provide an exceptional learning environment for our students, and this promise extends to our athletics programs,” President David Maxwell said at the ground breaking in November. “This facility will enhance learning for our student-athletes in the same way a classroom renovation improves the academic experience.”

The practice facility won’t just benefit student-athletes. The extra space improves access to additional opportunities for every student: With basketball players drilling in their new space, the gym in the Bell Center will be more readily available for student activities and wellness efforts, and The Knapp Center will be open for more large-scale community events.

University officials hope the echoes of bouncing basketballs and squeaking athletic shoes soon fill the new facility; construction is tentatively scheduled to be complete in fall 2014.



New Pathways to Learning

It’s not every day you enter an elementary or middle school classroom and find students on the edge of their seats, much less tentatively reaching out to feel the fine bristles of a rather large tarantula. But on a fall afternoon at Studebaker Elementary, Insect Zoo—an event put on by Griffin Academy, a new program made possible with a gift from Nationwide Insurance to distinctlyDrake—put these Des Moines youths in touch with their wild side.

Students at both Studebaker Elementary and McCombs Middle School are getting their hands on multilegged creatures, screen printing shirts, participating in an agriculture lab, taking nature walks, and storyboarding with a local artist. The ultimate goal for Griffin Academy—named for a symbol in the popular Harry Potter series that stands for strength and honor—is to help interested students advance their skills in fine arts, science, technology, engineering, and math.

The $250,000 grant from Nationwide allows more than 100 students to attend the weekly labs and activities and has also provided 2,000 popular books to check out.

Faculty, staff, and students in the School of Education; Drake alumni; community organizations and companies; and the Des Moines Public Schools have teamed up with Nationwide to create a unique constellation of partners supporting the Griffin Academy.

One of the uncommon aspects of the grant and project is how it came to fruition. When approached by Drake, Nationwide pulled together a group of its employees—all Drake alumni ranging from senior executives to junior employees—to decide how a gift to the University should be allocated.

“Their process really shows how transformational philanthropy is a part of Nationwide’s culture,” says Paul Secord, director of development at Drake. “We hope this is the beginning of something larger at Drake—that gifts to the University can also support the community and help educate the future workforce.”

School of Education students work alongside faculty to help create the curriculum and serve as mentors to participants. While inspiring young students who might not otherwise have access to such an engaging learning environment, the academy is also enabling aspiring teachers to gain new skills.

“I love working as part of Griffin Academy,” says Jordan Stahlecker, a graduate student pursuing her Master of Science in Elementary Education. “I have learned so much, and I’m gaining tools that I will be able to use someday in my own classroom. Plus, it’s great to see how excited the students get about the different topics.”



Archival Addition

When CEOs, legislators, Iowa’s governor, and other dignitaries gathered in Drake University’s Cowles Library on Dec. 6, 2013, they were celebrating more than just the dedication of a new archive to preserve the past. They were ushering in a new era in which students, scholars, and the general community can freely access valuable collections of local and national significance for study and discourse on key issues.

The 6,000-square-foot archive holds historic documents from Drake’s history dating back to 1881, as well as unique collections donated by Drake’s alumni and friends. These include papers, photos, and artifacts from former Iowa Gov. Robert Ray; Charles Preston Howard, the co-founder of the National Bar Association; the Cowles/Kruidenier family publishing empire; as well as collections ranging from silent movie sheet music to the editorial cartoons of Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist J.N. “Ding” Darling.

The archives will soon acquire papers and memorabilia from U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, covering 40 years of public service, upon the senator’s retirement in January 2015.

Construction began in summer 2013 thanks in part to a lead gift of $1.5 million to the distinctlyDrake campaign from Stine Seed Co. and its CEO, Harry Stine. Today the climate-controlled, high-density, archival quality collection space on Cowles’ second floor includes glass walls, a public viewing space, work areas, and scanners to allow items to be converted to digital formats.

“Like many Iowans, I’ve had a connection with Gov. Ray, Sen. Harkin, and Drake for the majority of my adult life,” says Stine. “The interesting and hopeful thing about this project is that everyone worldwide for years to come will be able to have that same kind of connection that I have. Stine Seed is very pleased to have a very small part in this project—and what it will do for the world and the country.”

Additional funding came from the Polk County Board of Supervisors with a generous $450,000 grant. Tom Hockensmith, the board’s chair, says that the grant was the result of a unanimous vote by the five-member, bipartisan board. “Scholars, students, and the general public deserve to have access to our history. And this center will provide that access.”

To access digitized portions of Drake’s historical collections, visit Drake Heritage Collections at and Drake Archives and Special Collections at



All in the Family

As accessibility and affordability continue to be hot topics in higher education, one Des Moines family is helping Drake students overcome unexpected financial barriers to attending the University.

In 2010 Michael Gartner (storied journalist, businessman, and principal owner of the Iowa Cubs), his wife, Barbara, and their family pledged a gift to distinctlyDrake to create the Gartner Family Scholarship. The fund aims to support current students from the central Iowa area who are suddenly facing difficulties paying for an education due to any number of financial problems, such as a death in the family or a job loss.

“A lot can change over the course of a student’s four years, especially during a volatile economy,” says Tom Delahunt, vice president for admission and student financial planning. “This scholarship addresses a need we hadn’t addressed before. These students are already part of the Drake family, and we want to keep them here.”

To date, 20 Gartner Scholars have benefited from the family’s generosity.

“As a recipient of this scholarship, I am able to concentrate on academics while working a part-time job that relates to my field of study at Wells Fargo Home Mortgage,” says Zach Clement, a junior accounting and finance major and Gartner Scholar. “This scholarship has inspired me to pay it forward. It is my desire to help impact future students at Drake, just as the Gartner family has helped me in achieving my personal goals.”

The Gartner family has a long history of supporting Drake. Gartner received an honorary doctor of law from the University in 2001 and is a member of the National Advisory Council to the Harkin Institute for Public Policy and Citizen Engagement as well as the Martin Bucksbaum Distinguished Lectureship Committee. His son, Mike, spoke at Drake’s annual scholarship luncheon in November.

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