Tippie College of Business celebrates 20 years with Tippie name

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Tippie College of Business name change, members of the university gathered to express their gratitude to the man who accelerated the College of Business’ success.


Wyatt Dlouhy

The Pappajohn Business Building is seen on November 12, 2018.

Rachel Steil, News Reporter

The man who gave his name to the Tippie College of Business 20 years ago started his education in a one-room schoolhouse in Belle Plaine, Iowa.

Henry B. Tippie’s rural Iowa beginnings present a striking contrast to the sprawling, 187,000 square-foot Pappajohn Business Building that houses the University of Iowa’s business school today.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Tippie College of Business. The UI community celebrated this milestone and honored Tippie, the eponym of the business school, Thursday afternoon in the IMU Iowa Theater.

“We have an incredible institution, and we have so many great things yet to come because of the foundation that Henry has created,” UI President Bruce Harreld said.

Tippie, 91, has retired to Austin, Texas, with his wife Patricia, but the Hawkeye has a long history of giving to the UI.

He helped fund the construction of the Pappajohn Business Building, and in 1999, he donated $30 million to the university in order to support research and scholarships, Tippie Dean Emeritus Gary Fethke said.

“It was the largest gift made to the University of Iowa by an individual,” said Lynette Marshall, the CEO and president of the UI Center for Advancement.

In 1999, the university officially renamed the business school the Tippie College of Business to commemorate Tippie’s prominent effect on business students and faculty.

“Henry is an inspiration to a lot of ordinary folks a living example of the American Dream,” Harreld said, quoting former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad.

Tippie expressed his gratitude to the university for giving him his education and experience.

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“I am the one that owes the university; the university does not owe me a thing,” Tippie said.  “I was the beneficiary of getting my foundation, which I was able to do something with.”

Tippie then gave a bit of his own advice to the audience. He said the focus of a business needs to start small, and advised against going for the “big bucks” right away.

“You want to start with the crumbs, and that will lead to maybe a slice,” Tippie said. “Then maybe you’ll get a half of a loaf.”

Tippie graduated with a bachelor’s of science in accounting from the UI in 1949. After that, he became a certified public accountant in Des Moines.

He went on to work for the consumer and commercial services company John W. Rollins and Associates, which is now known as Rollins Inc. At Rollins, Tippie helped orchestrate the buyout of Orkin Exterminating Co. He is now the lead director at Rollins Inc., RPC Inc., and Marine Products Corporation.

“I’ll bet there’s no other guy on the [New York Stock Exchange] Wall of Fame that has stood in a cow pasture,” said Daniel Collins, the Henry B. Tippie research chair in accounting. “He’s very proud of his Iowa roots, and he’s very proud of being a University of Iowa alumnus.”

The business school has grown throughout the years and changed a great deal from when he graduated 70 years ago, Tippie noted, expressing optimism about the future.

“We are in a world of change,” Tippie said. “The best is yet to come.”