Henry B. Tippie, namesake of the University of Iowa business college, dies at 95

‘He was a plain man who achieved great things’

Henry B. Tippie, namesake of the University of Iowa business college, dies at 95

Iowa native, Henry Tippie, gives a tour and conducts business in his Austin, Texas office on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017.

IOWA CITY — The namesake of the University of Iowa’s Henry B. Tippie College of Business — and numerous other funds, societies, scholarships, boards, faculty chairs, professorships, fellowships, and facility rooms — died Sunday at the age of 95.

Tippie — who grew up on a farm in Belle Plaine, served in the US Army during World War II, attended UI on the GI Bill, and made his way to Wall Street, where his business acumen propelled the wealth he’d use to launch endless philanthropic endeavors — passed at his home in Austin, Texas.

“Optimism, conditioned on reality, was ever present with Henry, and he really believed that ‘every day is a new day,’” Gary Fethke, dean emeritus of the UI business college, said of the man he worked closely with — the man he called, “an Iowa success story.”

“He was a plain man who achieved great things, thoroughly enjoyed his life, appreciated his friends, loved his wife, and made the world a better place,” Fethke said.

Tippie left a literal mark across the UI campus and state of Iowa.

  • Among funds he donated to what would become the UI Tippie College of Business, he supported a 175-seat auditorium, student lounge, and Pat’s diner, named after his wife Patricia;
  • Tippie helped endow the Henry Fund, along with Henry Royer, allowing students to manage real-world investments;
  • He served on the UI board of visitors, later named the Tippie Advisory Board;
  • In 2004, he helped establish the Tippie Society, recognizing those who make a philanthropic impact on the university with a gift of $1 million or more;
  • His giving has established six Tippie-related faculty chairs, eight Tippie professorships, and 17 fellowships;
  • He’s created several endowed scholarships for student-athletes;
  • Tippie gave the naming gift for the Tippie All-American Room in the Stew and LeNore Hansen Football Performance Center;
  • And in 2017, he established the Henry B and Patricia B. Tippie Director of Athletics Chair, the first endowed position in the UI Department of Intercollegiate Athletics.

But Tippie’s impact stretched far beyond those entities, positions, and awards that bear his facilities name to the people earning them, employed by them, and working and learning in and through them.

As of the 2021 budget year, the Tippies had provided more than 900 scholarship awards for UI students.

“I felt that if I could ever get in a position where I could give some assistance to those in need of a University of Iowa education, then I would try to do something as repayment,” Tippie once said.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Vanessa Miller covers higher education for The Gazette.

Comments: (319) 339-3158; vanessa.miller@thegazette.com

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