A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, Madeleine Maxwell had a highly successful career as an illustrator, designer, creative director and, ultimately, as the owner of her own boutique creative firm. Maddy came to Des Moines in 1999 when her husband, David, was named president of Drake University. As the University’s First Lady, Maddy works tirelessly to bring the campus and community together in as many diverse and imaginative ways as possible. She has made the President’s Home a hub of Drake activity; to date, more than 10,000 students, faculty, staff, alumni, members of the community and visitors from around the world have attended events, both large and small, at their home. In addition to her extensive involvement in campus activities, Maddy travels on behalf of the University to visit with alumni and friends of Drake, and to attend a variety of Drake events. She is very active in Des Moines, sharing her enthusiasm and talents with a broad range of nonprofit and community-service organizations.
The University recently hosted the Dr. Martin Luther King Commemorative Celebration in recognition of Martin Luther King Jr.’s visit to Iowa and Drake in November 1959. Maddy welcomed the Meskwaki Tribal Council, which also hosted King during his Iowa visit, to the event.
Maddy’s CandelaBRA was the winner of the 2008 Bras for the Cause Artist Choice award. Every $100 generated by Bras for a Cause provides a free mammogram and cervical cancer screening for an Iowa woman who would not otherwise be able to afford the tests. In addition to creating the designer bra, Maddy recently joined the organization’s board of directors.
Maddy and Iowa's First Lady Mari Culver, recognized the winners of the Drake Live Drive competition and commended Drake University students for their role in collecting more than 4,000 items for the food and clothing drive. Drake Live Drive is a new student service organization founded by Drake students who came together to direct meaningful change in the lives of the less fortunate in Des Moines and central Iowa.
Drake hosts the Francis Marion Drake Society dinner each fall to honor alumni and friends who provide generous financial support to the University. Maddy plays an integral role in planning and organizing the event.
Maddy has conducted book discussions with gifted and talented fifth grade girls from Greenwood Elementary. As part of the event, students enjoy tea and conversation in the Maxwells’ home.
A parade winding through the Drake neighborhood kicks off the Drake Relays festivities each year.
Hammers and Heels, the Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity women’s build project, is team of nearly all females working together to build a home for a deserving family. The group is made up of female business leaders, city and state officials, and community volunteers.
Similar to the popular Cows on Parade public art display in Chicago, the Bulldog Parade initially featured seven 50-pound fiberglass canines artistically adorned in a variety of styles. Maddy crafted her Bulldog masterpiece, Spiker, which now stands guard just inside the front doors of Old Main.