Nationwide Insurance donates $1 million to Tippie for new scholarship program

Nationwide Insurance recently donated $1 million to the University of Iowa Tippie College of Business in honor of the organization’s retiring CEO Steve Rasmussen.


Katie Goodale

The Pappajohn Business Building is seen on March 11, 2019.

Kelsey Harrell, News Reporter

Nationwide Insurance aims to give back to students seeking careers in finance and insurance through a major donation to the University of Iowa Tippie College of Business.

To honor retiring CEO Steve Rasmussen, a UI alum, Nationwide recently gifted Tippie $1 million to create a scholarship in his name.

Rasmussen announced his retirement at a reception in Des Moines in August, the same time that the Nationwide Board of Directors announced its donation to Tippie in his name.

The fund will provide financial support for aspiring business students in Tippie, and the Tippie Society will induct Rasmussen as recognition for the gift, Nationwide associate vice president Joe Case wrote in an email to The Daily Iowan.

“He and Nationwide feel strongly about giving back to the communities and institutions where we live and work,” Case said.

The Board of Directors allowed Rasmussen to decide how the money is used at the university, Senior Associate Dean Amy Kristof-Brown said. The funds will go toward scholarships for first-generation and diverse students, she added.

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Once Rasmussen officially retires, he will take more charge of the funding and criteria and may decide to specify the scholarship go to students studying finance and insurance, Kristof-Brown said.

The scholarships will be available to undergraduate students, but the college may discuss the possibility of expanding it to graduate students with Rasmussen, Kristof-Brown said. The funds may also be used for diversity initiatives within Tippie involving the development of programming and mentorship, she said.

“Anytime we have [alums] who want to give back and find a way to be appreciative of the educational experiences that they received at Tippie, it’s a wonderful way for them to pay that forward so that new students can have some of those same advantages,” Kristof-Brown said.

There’s been a recent push to bring new people into the insurance industry, she said. Nationwide has worked on its own diversity initiatives, Kristof-Brown said, so this scholarship might be seen as a way to do that at the collegiate level.

While Rasmussen was a student, one of his mentors was Emmett Vaughan — eponym of the Vaughan Institute, a Tippie insurance risk-management group — said Shelly Mott UI Center for Advancement director of development.

Nationwide has been supportive of the Vaughan Institute in the past, and Mott has worked with them in the gifting process, she said. The organization has previously supported faculty within the Vaughan Institute, she added.

The relationship Tippie has with Nationwide is beneficial for students since they could hire graduates of the college, she said.

Even though Rasmussen is not directly donating the money, he will be able to participate like other donors and meet with students who receive the scholarship, Mott said.

“Having that relationship, having that support, that connection with people within a lot of the insurance companies, is very important because that’s ultimately where students are needing to be employed within the industry,” Mott said.

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