Ronald W. and Arlene M. Holden have given so generously of their time and resources that they fall in the category of rare and true special friends of the University of Iowa.
Ron Holden hails from a family of visionaries; his father, Roland, founded Holdens Foundation Seeds in 1937. The company, which specialized in research development and production of parent seed corn, became the primary supplier of inbred seed corn for the many independent seed corn companies serving the Corn Belt. In 1971, Ron took over the companys operations from his father, successfully running the business until selling it to Monsanto in 1997. Holdens Seeds continues to operate as a self-contained unit within Monsanto.
After Roland died of cancer in 1995, the Holdens turned their passion and commitment toward finding a cure for the disease that has so deeply affected their lives. In 1998 and 2000, the family made substantial gifts to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC) through the Ruby and Roland Holden Foundation, first creating the Roland W. Holden Family Program for Experimental Cancer Therapeutics, and eventually establishing the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center (HCCC).
Today, the HCCC coordinates all cancer-related research, education, and patient care by faculty from 38 departments in six colleges throughout the university and at UIHC. Bringing world-class research and cancer care to Iowa, the Midwest, and beyond, the center delivers hope to thousands of patients every year. The HCCC has been listed by the National Cancer Institute as an NCI-designated cancer center, joining fewer than 60 centers in the entire country (as of July 2000) that have received this honor in recognition of excellence across the areas of cancer care, research, and education.
Beyond their financial generosity, the Holdens have liberally given their time and expertise to the University of Iowa. They served unflaggingly as lead volunteers on both the Health Sciences Campaign Steering Committee and the National Comprehensive Campaign Steering Committee for the UIs recent successful $1 billion campaign, Good. Better. Best. Iowa: The Campaign to Advance Our Great University.
In addition, Arlene Holden serves on the UI Foundations board of directors, is a member of the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center advisory board, and the founder of the Caring Clown program for cancer patients at UIHC. The Holdens are recognized as steward-level supporters of the UIs Carver College of Medicine. Both ardent Hawkeye fans, the Holdens contributed to the renovation of Kinnick Stadium.
Lifelong Iowa residents who make their primary home in Williamsburg, Ron and Arlene are deeply involved in that community, where they have contributed greatly to the quality of life in numerous ways, including building an elementary school, a family aquatic center and sports complex, a nine-hole golf course, and an independent and assisted living retirement facility. They are also an integral part of the planning committee for the towns sesquicentennial event in July 2007.
For their remarkable combined record of support, involvement, and achievement, Ron and Arlene Holden are certainly among the best friends that the University of Iowa could have.