Guest Opinion: What does it mean to ‘be Phil’ at Iowa?


The Daily Iowan; Photos by Ben S

A Herky statue with a “PHIL Was Here” sash stands on the Pentacrest on Monday, April 24. Beginning in 2012, the UI launched PHIL Was Here to celebrate philanthropy at the university. (The Daily Iowan/Ben Smith)

What does it mean to “be Phil” at Iowa?

My inspiration and motivation to give is based on a deep passion and caring for the University of Iowa and its people. I know we have heard this stated many times, but the UI truly is a “gem,” thanks to its academic programs; campus location; gifted and diverse body of students, faculty, and staff; and other amenities, such as Hancher, the Voxman Music Building, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, and Kinnick Stadium, to name just a few.

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Personally, I received a quality education from the UI College of Nursing — one that would have allowed me to travel anywhere in the world and immediately secure a position in health care. However, I chose to stay in Iowa City, and at the University of Iowa, and this has allowed me to pay forward and give others the opportunities I’ve had. I hope this will help them enjoy all of the same UI benefits that my family and I have enjoyed for many years — and will for years to come.

In addition, I have had the good fortune of interacting with donors in the UI College of Nursing who have chosen to give back to lighten current students’ financial burdens. The pride these supporters have in the profession, and in this institution, is gratifying to hear about and feel. Their joy in giving back is truly evident when they have the occasion to meet the recipients of their scholarships. In turn, the students’ gratitude — and the joy they feel about visiting with their scholarship donors — is palpable.

Passion, pride, and paying forward are, to me, what it is to “be Phil.”

– Liz Swanson

Associate Professor and Director, External Relations

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