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CONTACT: ANDY PIRO
Director of Development
Intercollegiate Athletics-Endowment
UI Foundation News
500 Levitt Center for University Advancement
Iowa City IA 52242
Phone: (319) 335-3305 or (800) 648-6973

Release: Dec. 13, 2000

Dubuque couple funds named scholarship for Hawkeye basketball program

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- A passion for Hawkeye basketball and dreams of seeing the state of Iowa in the national spotlight have led a Dubuque, Iowa, couple to establish a fully endowed scholarship for the University of Iowa men's basketball program.

The Ron and Carol Kirchhoff Men's Basketball Scholarship, created by the Kirchhoffs' $125,000 gift to the University of Iowa Foundation, provides a scholarship for a deserving student-athlete. Athletic Director Bob Bowlsby says the Kirchhoffs' commitment helps provide the financial resources Coach Steve Alford needs to boost Iowa's program to the next level.

"With this gift, Ron and Carol are helping us build permanent, competitive scholarship support for recruiting exceptional players, including talented high school students from our own state. This endowed scholarship is a powerful resource that will help our program stand out to prospective players in this exciting era of Iowa men's basketball," Bowlsby said.

Ron Kirchhoff, who earned a UI business degree in 1980, is currently president and chief executive officer of Kirchhoff Distributing Company, an Anheuser Busch distributor and third-generation family business serving Dubuque, Jackson and Clinton counties. His wife, Carol, also works for the company in its custom sign-making department. Ron Kirchhoff has served on the boards for several trade organizations and is currently a leadership chair for the America's River project, a riverfront revitalization effort aimed at promoting tourism in Dubuque.

The Kirchhoffs hold season tickets for Iowa men's basketball and football, and Ron says their gift reflects not only their love for Hawkeye sports but also their desire to promote their home state as a great place to learn and live.

"There are no professional sports teams in Iowa, so a competitive, nationally visible program is great not only for the UI, but for Iowa overall. People are concerned about brain drain -- smart, young people who leave Iowa in search of greener pastures -- but this state is a great place to work, raise a family and just visit. If a top-rated basketball program at Iowa can advertise those benefits and get people to ask, 'What's the state of Iowa all about?' it helps all of us," Kirchhoff said.

Beyond recruiting assistance, Ron Kirchhoff says creating the scholarship 20 years after his UI graduation was a way to show appreciation for his education and also to help Iowa's student-athletes understand that fans care about them as individuals. Since most college basketball players don't go on to play professionally, UI student-athletes need to be prepared to start a working career when they graduate, Kirchhoff notes. "An Iowa degree gives them options, and Carol and I are pleased to have a role in helping Iowa basketball players get a great education," he said.

The Kirchhoffs' gift is part of the Hawkeye Visions Endowment Program, which seeks to endow scholarships for all starting positions in men's and women's athletics at Iowa and secure a strong and competitive future for UI sports. For more information about how to establish a named scholarship, contact Andy Piro, the University of Iowa Foundation's director of development for intercollegiate athletics-endowment, at (319) 335-3305 or toll-free at (800) 648-6973.

The UI Foundation is the preferred channel for private contributions to all areas of the university. Foundation staff work with alumni and friends to generate funds for scholarships, professorships, facilities improvements, equipment purchases, research and other UI initiatives.