Joseph and Sally Harper Medical Scholarship
Sally Harper grew up in Kalona, Iowa, the daughter of Ferd and Velma Skola. The Skolas were strong Hawkeye supporters who transferred their love of all things related to the University of Iowa to their daughter. Fall meant football, and Sally shared her family’s unbridled enthusiasm for the Hawkeyes.
In 1964, Sally met Joe. When she married the former Marine and avid hunter from Ankeny, Iowa, he quickly realized that his hunting hobby would have to take a back seat to Sally’s devotion to Iowa football. (Sally has only missed a handful of games since the late 1950’s.)
Joe and Sally Harper of Davenport, Iowa, have both enjoyed demanding yet rewarding careers, as well as a long and happy marriage. Joe retired after 25 years with Caterpillar Tractor in Davenport, only to be asked by a friend to help him rebuild their company, Group O Companies in Milan, Illinois, where he is now Senior Vice President. Sally began her career in the Human Resources department of Eagle Signal and then worked for Deere & Company for 24 years before retiring. Throughout their life together, both Joe and Sally have strived to always leave things better than when they found them. Since her retirement, Sally has dedicated her time to fundraising and supporting the work of Gilda’s Club Quad Cities, and has chaired one of the most successful event committees in the group’s history.
When Joe became a heart patient, the Harpers were exposed to the extraordinary work of Genesis and Trinity Medical Centers in the Quad Cities and University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City. Joe has been in several UI experimental medical programs and is enjoying a healthier life as a result.
Initially, the Harpers had concentrated their scholarship support in Hawkeye Athletics, but Joe’s heart problems—and the excellent medical care he received at Iowa—made them turn their attention to supporting medicine at Iowa as well. The dedication and knowledge of the doctors, nurses, and rehab staff during Joe’s hospital care have impressed upon the Harpers the importance of “paying it forward” by supporting excellence in medical education.
University of Iowa sports have brought enormous joy to the Harper’s lives—and the UI academic medical center has helped enrich and lengthen their time together. In appreciation for those things, they have established numerous medical and athletic scholarships in their estate.
The Harpers have also decided to make a difference in the life of a medical student today, while they are still living and able to witness the impact of their gift. By assisting a young person in achieving his or her goal to become a physician, the Harpers take comfort in knowing the student will go on to improve and save countless lives.
Congratulations on receiving the Joseph and Sally Harper Medical Scholarship