The Daily Iowan

Guest Opinion: Small gifts can make a big difference

Chris Laubenthal of the Carver College of Medicine shares his testimony about how important philanthropic donations are to current and future UI students.

Thomas A. Stewart

Thomas A. Stewart


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The small things can make the biggest difference.

As I approached my freshman year at the University of Iowa many years ago, the cost of my education weighed heavily on my mind. Though tuition was much less back then, the task of accounting for the financial cost was real. That reality looms larger today for most undergraduate and graduate students at Iowa.

As an in-state resident, I was fortunate to receive an incoming freshman year tuition-only scholarship at the UI. That first-year assistance made a big difference and ultimately gave me the confidence to complete my undergraduate and graduate degrees at Iowa.

RELATED: Guest Opinion: Why not be Phil?

I am Phil because I have experienced tremendous value — both intrinsic and external — from my education at the UI, and I want to give back to others something similar to what I received in pursuing my own education. The UI is fortunate to have faculty talent across many disciplines, and I was honored to experience this depth and breadth of talent in the arts & humanities and the health sciences — two areas I remain passionate about that were cultivated by UI faculty.

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I believe it is the small things that make the biggest difference. This belief inspired me to set aside a small amount of “I am Phil” funds each month that eventually could become that small thing in someone else’s future, such as partial scholarship funding or assistance with educational materials. Philanthropy is important because it is that small thing that can make the big difference.

— Chris Laubenthal,

(’89 B.A., ’91 M.B.A.)

Clinical Department

Administrator,

UI Carver College of Medicine

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