“If it hadn’t been for the University of Iowa, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I seriously doubt I would have been successful and had the desire to succeed if it wasn’t for Iowa. I feel it is time to give back. The value of my education and pride I have for the University of Iowa are traditions that will never die.”
As a young farm kid growing up outside of Knoxville, Iowa, William Liike (1955 B.S.Ch.E.) knew his parents had lofty goals for him and his brother. “My parents wanted us to graduate from college,” said Liike. “Those expectations made me work hard and certainly motivated me to do well in high school.”
While Liike knew he was expected to go to college, he hadn’t considered the University of Iowa—or any institution, for that matter—until a local career fair. That’s where he met Karl Kammermeyer, who was head of the Department of Chemical Engineering, and the experience changed his life.
“Karl was very impressive when it came to describing the University of Iowa, its chemical engineering degree, and the career opportunities it could afford,” said Liike. “He’d been there less than a year, but he sold me on the program. I never considered going to another university.”
While at the University of Iowa, Liike was able to develop organizational skills through numerous student activities and student groups—including Theta Tau fraternity, student council, Memorial Union Board, Independent Men’s Association, and as chairman of the 1953 Homecoming parade and program committee. Those experiences gave him a leg up when he graduated, and he continued to build on those talents as a single man while working for E. I. DuPont Company in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where he worked for 30 years in sales and technical assignments.
“Karl’s guidance enabled me to have a successful career at DuPont and a very rewarding life,” said Liike. “He supported my activities wholeheartedly and helped me develop a foundation for my career. Without Karl, I probably wouldn’t have been an engineer, and I definitely wouldn’t have graduated from the University of Iowa.”
To honor his mentor, Liike—who is a University of Iowa Presidents Club member—created the Karl Kammermeyer Educational Fund and provided a gift to name a laboratory in honor of Kammermeyer. He has the William L. Liike Engineering Scholarship, an endowed scholarship that he supports with an annual gift. In 2004, Liike also established a charitable remainder trust to support the UI College of Engineering Excellence Fund and the UIAA Vision Endowment Fund. The charitable remainder trust provides Liike with income each year for life, and he received a charitable income tax deduction at the time he created the trust.
“The charitable remainder trust is a good form of retirement income,” said Liike. “If it hadn’t been for the University of Iowa, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I seriously doubt I would have been successful and had the desire to succeed if it wasn’t for Iowa. I feel it is time to give back. The value of my education and pride I have for the University of Iowa are traditions that will never die.”