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Iowa State B-School Gets $50M & New Name

Debbie and Jerry Ivy of Los Altos Hills, California, have given a new gift of $50 million to Iowa State University’s College of Business, which will be known as the Debbie and Jerry Ivy College of Business pending board approval. Courtesy photo

It is truly a time of transformation in Ames, Iowa. The Iowa State University College of Business just received its largest-ever gift, and will subsequently adopt the name of the donors, making the Debbie and Jerry Ivy College of Business the first donor-named college on the ISU campus.

The Ivys, of Los Altos Hills, California, donated $50 million on September 11 in what Iowa State interim President Benjamin J. Allen called a “transformative” gift — and though it’s their largest, it isn’t their first big gift to Jerry’s alma mater. The Class of 1953 grad and his wife previously established a Debbie and Jerry Ivy Chair in Business at the college, a seat currently held by Patricia Daugherty, supply chain professor.

“Debbie and I value a strong education and feel that Iowa State University and the College of Business provide an exceptional experience for its students,” Jerry Ivy said in a statement released by the school. “We hope this gift will play a role in preparing our next generation of business leaders, and we want to help support students and faculty who will make a difference today, and far into the future.”


Established in 1984, the Iowa State College of Business offers nine undergraduate majors, six master’s programs, and one doctoral program with five areas of specialization. It has a record enrollment in 2017 with 4,921 students.

Iowa State’s full-time MBA was most recently ranked 65th in nation, and its part-time MBA 122nd, by U.S. News & World Report. The full-time program has about 79 students, 38% of whom are female, 29.1% of whom are international, and 59.5% of whom are white Americans. In-state cost is $10,288 per year; out-of-state, $23,600. The part-time MBA program has 63 students and tilts even more male (68%) and white (81%). 

Iowa State’s undergraduate business program, which graduated 1,345 students with bachelor’s degrees in 2016-2017, is ranked No. 78 in the new U.S. News rankings, with $8,420 in-state tuition/fees and $22,256 out-of-state.

Jerry and Debbie Ivy


Jerry Ivy earned his bachelor’s degree in industrial administration from Iowa State in 1953 and is currently president and CEO of Auto-Chlor System, of Mountain View, California, which makes industrial dishwashers and chemical products for more than 75,000 customers nationwide. Debbie Ivy is an active member of the Auto-Chlor executive team.

The renaming of Iowa State’s B-school must be approved by the university’s Board of Regents. The Ivys’ $50 million gift will establish an endowed fund that is expected to provide approximately $2 million annually for short- and long-term priorities. The Ivy gift also will contribute to Iowa State University Foundation’s eight-year campaign, “Forever True, For Iowa State,” which seeks to raise $1.1 billion for the university by July 2020.

“The Ivys’ generosity is a powerful endorsement of the college’s programs, leadership and upward trajectory,” Allen said. “This is a transformative gift that will exponentially expand the college’s commitment to provide leading-edge programs and modern learning environments, compete for world-class faculty, and increase student scholarships and other high-impact educational opportunities.

“As former dean of the College of Business, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to return to Iowa State and be part of this landmark moment in the college’s history.”


Funding from the endowed fund established by the Ivys’ gift will “build on momentum in several areas,” the school said in a news release, “including a groundbreaking entrepreneurship initiative, a supply chain management program already among the best in the world, and a successful new business analytics program — providing scholarships, faculty support, and programmatic funding for these and other areas.”

The Ivys’ gift ranks in the upper echelons of recent donations to U.S. business schools, and that’s not only a reference to the $150 million to Cornell Johnson or the $200 million received by Michigan Ross. Smaller and lower-tier schools have benefited, too: Just two years ago, UC-San Diego’s Rady School of Management got a $100 million gift from billionaire philanthropist Ernest Rady (on top of the $30 million he’d already given to the school), and that same year Boston University received $50 million from retailing giant Allen Questrom and his wife, Kelli, that resulted in Questrom’s name being attached to the school.

The Ivys’ gift will give Iowa State students “a range of practical learning experiences,” the school said, and will “enable faculty to develop dynamic classroom curricula and student mentorship, fortify established programs and develop expertise in emerging disciplines, and offer leading-edge technology and facilities.”

Added College of Business Dean David Spalding: “I’d like to express my gratitude to the Ivys for their visionary gift. The magnitude of their generosity will have a tremendous impact, creating an ongoing resource that will enable us, now and in the future, to strategically invest in current priorities and future aspirations. With all the enthusiasm around our new undergraduate entrepreneurship major and Ph.D. program, we are especially excited to have our college named after such a successful, entrepreneurial family. I am pleased that the Ivy name will be forever associated with the college’s growth and success.”