$25 Million gift ushers in a new era of business education
The newly named David W. Wilson College of Business at the University of Northern Iowa and the campus community are ushering in a new era of transformative education thanks to the historic $25 million donation from David W. Wilson. In 2022 the university launched its largest and most aggressive capital campaign, Our Tomorrow. The goal is large but the mission is simple: ask ourselves what does the world need tomorrow and deliver. At UNI, we’ve never stopped thinking about what our students, state and world need from us. With that in mind we’ve set out to properly provide for tomorrow's generation.
Inspired by this mission, David W. Wilson made a transformative gift to support academic programs and faculty, renew our investment in the people and programs that foster student success, all while keeping an eye on the next generation. Starting today and for years to come, we are broadening our scholarship opportunities for future generations. We are elevating our aim to promote integrity, encouraging future leaders to think critically and make ethical decisions. Third, we are fostering a culture of innovation, where all are encouraged to explore new ideas, push boundaries, and deliver even greater value.
“This gift will truly transform business at UNI, taking our already premiere business programs to new heights,” said Mark Nook, president of the University of Northern Iowa. “We will use these resources to invest in faculty, technology and strategic initiatives to advance our mission of providing a cutting edge business education.”
“This gift will truly transform business at UNI, taking our already premiere business programs to new heights.”
Expanding student access & success
At UNI, we have an unwavering commitment to broaden horizons for students while removing barriers that may stand in the way of them accessing a high quality education. This remarkable gift will play a pivotal role in realizing this vision. Part of the endowment establishes the David W. Wilson Scholars Endowed Fund, which will be used to provide scholarship support, covering tuition, room & board, and fees, for students in Tama County, Iowa, who demonstrate financial need. The first Wilson Scholar will be awarded in the 2024-2025 academic year with the intent that eventually four Wilson Scholars will be funded annually. David grew up in Traer, Iowa, 30 minutes south of Cedar Falls. The Wilson Scholars Fund will offer a path to greater opportunity for generations of Panthers to come.
Elevating integrity & ethics
From our early days as a teachers college to our comprehensive university program today, UNI has sent generations of Panthers out into the world to make a difference in their careers and callings. Wilson credits much of his success to the strong values learned from growing up in small-town Iowa, and the education he earned at UNI. One of those values was a strong sense of ethics and integrity and his personal motto of ‘doing good by doing right’. A second fund established is the David W. Wilson Endowment for Integrity and Excellence to broaden the scope of excellence, elevating ethics and integrity within the Wilson College of Business and across campus. This new fund not only expands on the ethics programs being offered as part of the David W. Wilson Chair in Ethics, but expands those efforts campus wide in partnership with the Department of Philosophy and Religion within the College of Humanities, Arts and Sciences.
In the ever-evolving landscape of business, one fundamental aspect has remained constant: the importance of ethical decision-making. We believe modern business leaders need to be equipped with a mindset that encourages them to live their values and lead with integrity. Critical thinking and ethical decision-making remains central to our mission. Thanks to this endowment we’ll be able expand this mission not just for business but for students across campus.
"We're thrilled that David Wilson continues to recognize the value of ethics education for UNI students," stated Susan Hill, who serves as the head of the Department of Philosophy and World Religion. "Our department is excited about the opportunity to work with Wilson College to expand ethics education across campus."
The David W. Wilson Endowment for Integrity and Excellence fund will also help create a culture of innovation in Wilson College by providing direct funding and opportunity for innovation. We believe businesses and organizations should be encouraged to embrace creativity, explore groundbreaking ideas, and continually push the boundaries of conventional thinking to deliver even greater value.
Wilson recognizes that in today's dynamic and ever-evolving landscape, the ability to innovate is a key driver of success. By providing the necessary resources and support, we hope to empower students, faculty and staff to think outside the box, experiment with new concepts, and develop innovative solutions that can address the complex challenges of the modern world. The endowment will serve as a catalyst for change, encouraging a mindset that champions forward-thinking, creativity, and the relentless pursuit of excellence.
Embracing a brighter future
Both of the Wilson endowments echo the Our Tomorrow campaign’s commitment to academic programs and faculty, renewing our investment in the people and programs that support student success at UNI and beyond, with an eye to the next generation. The Wilson College of Business and the University of Northern Iowa are excited to embrace a new era of education.
"This gift is not just an investment in the College of Business. It is an investment in the transformation of lives for generations to come,” said Leslie Wilson, dean of the Wilson College of Business. “With this gift, we are not merely building a legacy – we are crafting a path for future leaders to thrive and make a profound impact on the world."
Through these endowments, Wilson College of Business and the University of Northern Iowa are excited to embrace a new era of education. Not only are we securing a legacy of excellence but also sparking a transformational shift elevating integrity, innovation and expanding student access efforts. It is a testament to the enduring spirit of progress, boundless opportunity and the power of education to shape a brighter future for all. We look forward to the positive impact these endowments will have not only on Wilson College of Business, but UNI and the broader community in the days and years to come. The future is filled with promise, and this gift is guiding the way toward a brighter tomorrow.
“With this gift, we are not merely building a legacy – we are crafting a path for future leaders to thrive and make a profound impact on the world."