UNI alumni siblings unite to create Tekippe Accounting Scholarship

UNI alumni siblings unite to create Tekippe Accounting Scholarship

TeKippe family photo of six sibling standing on stairs. Back (L to R): Ken TeKippe, Ron TeKippe, Lenny TeKippe Front (L to R): Julia Slaydon, Leta Franklin, Anita Collins.Juila Slayden (Accounting, ‘80), Mae Franklin (Accounting, ‘85) and Ron TeKippe (Accounting, ‘89) are three siblings in the TeKippe family of seven. They had a humble childhood in Rickardsville, Iowa, located in Dubuque County. Their parents didn’t complete high school, and they didn’t have college expectations for their children either, but the children insisted. Eventually, five of the seven siblings attended school as first-generation higher education graduates.

Julia, Ron and Mae paid their own way through college at the Wilson College of Business, graduating with accounting degrees and becoming CPAs. Now they’ve come together to create a scholarship to help more students do the same. The TeKippe Accounting Scholarship, established in 2021, provides $1,500 to a senior or master’s level accounting student who has demonstrated academic excellence, financial need and a commitment to self-support.

“We thought it was important that we all had to pay our way through school,” Ron said. “We were really looking for those kids that were a little bit more like us, and at least had to contribute to their education because we think that’s an important part of the process.”

Julia was the first to attend UNI. She didn’t even think about college until the eighth grade, when a teacher encouraged her to
attend due to her strong academic performance. Her mother was hesitant at first, but because a close family friend attended UNI, she relented, and Julia enrolled the year after graduation. Her siblings followed in her footsteps. Accounting was natural, probably because their father was a numbers guy, serving as the treasurer for their hometown.

Julia, Ron and Mae all split into different career paths, but accounting and UNI was the foundation.

“We went on to get a great education at UNI,” Julia said. “I think it’s a great school, and the accounting program is one of the
best. And we made lifelong friends.”

The idea of giving back and creating a scholarship at UNI emerged as a shared vision among the three siblings a few years ago. Julia, who has been contributing via a scholarship of her own since 2018, started giving back when the college offered a “Dollar of the Year Club” back in the 1980s, aimed at encouraging alumni to contribute small amounts right out of college.

“It definitely feels good to help another student, somebody that’s making their way themselves,” Mae said. “It also provides another connection back to the school.”

Julia agrees, and said it was a special moment to give back by partnering with her siblings. “I’m really excited, even if I did pull them in a little bit,” Julia said with a laugh. “It’s just really neat, and I’m glad it has evolved into more than one scholarship”

The TeKippe Accounting Scholarship, now renewed for another five years, embodies the siblings’ commitment to giving back to the institution that played a vital role in their personal and professional development.