Lloyd G. and Betty A. Schermer may not have graduated from the University of Iowa, but for more than three decades, they have shown remarkable generosity to this institutionand particularly to the School of Journalism and Mass Communication in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
The couple has carried on the philanthropic efforts of Betty's late father, Phillip D. Adler, a well-known journalism pioneer and philanthropist who earned his bachelor's degree in English from the UI in 1926 and became one of the first recipients of the Distinguished Alumni Award in 1966.
Lloyd Schermer is the retired president, CEO, and chairman of Lee Enterprises, a Davenport-based company with 45 daily newspapers in 18 states, as well as numerous specialty publications. During his publishing career, Lloyd was known as an innovator with a talent for predicting the future of the industry, leading Lee Enterprises to invest in computers and nontraditional media long before many of his industry peers were doing so. It is only fitting that he and Betty, also an active philanthropist, would choose to continue investing in the future of journalism in Iowa by making a substantial contribution to the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
In 2002, the couple made a transformative $3 million gift to the UI to name the Philip D. Adler Journalism and Mass Communication Building as a part of the University's Good. Better. Best. Iowa campaign. In addition to helping defray capital expenses, the Schermers had the vision to designate a portion of their gift to assist with long-term expenses related to technological advances in the field of journalism. Today, the UI School of Journalism and Mass communication is considered among the top ten programs in the nation, and the Schermers have been partners with the university in helping to achieve that distinguished ranking.
Even before making this milestone gift, the Schermers had a long-established relationship with the university—and their generosity certainly has not waned since. Both Lloyd and Betty are members of the UI Foundation's Presidents Club, which recognizes the university's most generous contributors. For more than 15 years they have supported the annual Adler Luncheon in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences' Department of Religious Studies, which was established by Philip and Henrietta Adler to recognizer the accomplishments of the department's students, faculty, and staff. In 2005 they created the E.P. Adler Lecture in Religious Studies in recognition of Betty's grandfather, who was a founding member of what was then the School of Religion Board of Fellows.
It is not every day that the UI has the opportunity to recognize supporters who have such a substantial family history of friendship with the university. Recognizing Lloyd and Betty Schermer as Distinguished Friends of the University not only acknowledges their generosity—it also pays tribute to the philanthropic example of their role model, Philip D. Adler.
The University of Iowa is profoundly grateful to Lloyd and Betty Schermer and proud to present them with this award in honor of their dedication and commitment to this university, its students, and the field of journalism.
The Schermers are members of the UI Foundation's Presidents Club.