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Wells Family Establishes Fund to Provide Scholarships for University of Iowa Students from Van Buren County

February 23, 2015

Gift from the Wells family will benefit students in the UI Henry B. Tippie College of Business for generations to come

The family of Wayne and Jean Wells has established a new scholarship fund for University of Iowa students from Van Buren County who are pursuing a business degree. The gift provides an endowed fund that will pay out scholarships annually in perpetuity, helping generations of Southeast Iowa students.

The scholarship fund was established by siblings Jeffrey, Linda, Jennifer and David Wells in memory of their parents, Wayne and Jean. Harold “Wayne” Wells grew up on a family farm in Cantril, Iowa, and enrolled at the University of Iowa in 1941, holding down numerous jobs to support himself while in school. In 1942, he joined the U.S. Navy and three years later returned to the university with help from the GI Bill. Wayne’s brothers Dwight and Van also graduated from UI while their brother Donald continued to farm in Van Buren County. Wayne graduated with a degree in accounting from the UI College of Commerce in 1948 and moved to New York City to launch a successful career in accounting and finance, meet his future wife, Jean, and start a family. Wayne and Jean later moved to St. Louis, where they lived for almost four decades.  Wayne died in 2013, with Jean following in 2014.

“My parents’ success, and in turn our own, was built on the foundation of hardworking farm life and great educational opportunities,” said David Wells. “The University of Iowa and Van Buren Country are two key pillars in this legacy.”

The first scholarship (s) from the Wayne and Jean Wells Memorial Scholarship Fund will be awarded for the 2015-2016 academic year to one or more students from Van Buren County with financial need who intend to enroll in the UI Henry B. Tippie College of Business. The award is renewable to qualified students.

The Wayne and Jean Wells Memorial Scholarship Fund is part of the university’s Golden Pledge: A Presidential Partnership for Student Success program. Through the program, the dollars awarded from the Wayne and Jean Wells Memorial Scholarship Fund will be doubled through December 2017. This will allow the university to either award more scholarships, or to increase the amount of an individual award.

“This scholarship fund is a beautiful tribute to Wayne’s legacy of hard work and success, and his love for Iowa,” said Lynette Marshall, University of Iowa Foundation president and CEO. “Wayne and Jean’s children are creating opportunities for Southeast Iowa students to receive a world-class education here in their home state. We are thankful to Jeffrey, Linda, Jennifer and David for honoring their remarkable parents in such a generous way.”

About the University of Iowa Foundation

The University of Iowa Foundation’s mission is to advance the University of Iowa and fulfill the aspirations of those it serves. The university’s dedicated contributors fund a broad array of needs, from student scholarships, breakthrough research and life-changing health care to innovative facilities, community outreach and global education.

The UI and UI Foundation are conducting a historic comprehensive $1.7 billion fundraising campaign, For Iowa. Forever More: The Campaign for the University of Iowa, which will secure the UI’s status as a world-class institution for future generations.

The University of Iowa Foundation is the preferred channel for private contributions that benefit all areas of the University of Iowa. For more information about the foundation and the campaign, visit the foundation website.

MEDIA CONTACT: Dana Larson; executive director, communications and marketing; the University of Iowa Foundation; 319-467-3661; mobile 917-345-9841;