Earl M. Yoder, is a name synonymous with "Friend" on campus, in Iowa City, and around the state of Iowa. A successful businessman, civic leader, and former state representative, Yoder has demonstrated a generosity and devotion toward the UI that goes beyond mere boosterism.
Born in Weatherford, Oklahoma, Yoder has spent most of his life in Iowa. A veteran of the US Marine Corps, he has been the driving force behind the start-up and success of several prominent Iowa City businesses, such as Earl Yoder Construction Co. and Iowa City Ready Mix, Inc. He has owned and managed a variety of businesses, including an auto dealership, building supply firm, construction company, property development firms, and hotels that together have employed hundreds of area residents and boosted Iowa's economy.
Although he does not hold any UI degrees, Yoder had proven his deep and abiding affection for the University if Iowa. Over the years, his boundless enthusiasm has left a positive and enduring influence on campus landmarks, programs, and students. He has shared his success with the UI by contributing very generously to a variety of university programs, including the Iowa Endowment 2000 Campaign, Hancher Auditorium, the Hardin Health Science Library, the Library, the Iowa Opportunity Fund, and most recently, the new Levitt Center for University Advancement.
With his belief that athletics serve as a positive public relations tool for the entire university, Yoder has been a tireless volunteer and enthusiastic contributor in supporting intercollegiate athletics at Iowa. He has worked hard to raise awareness and funds for the Hawkeye Horizons Campaign and has served as a national member for the Carver-Hawkeye Arena/Recreation Campaign. For his efforts, Yoder was named "Hawk of the Year" in 1985 by the National I-Club. One of the UI Foundation's most willing and active volunteers, Yoder is also an honorary UI Letterman.
Yoder has given unselfishly of his time and resources to the community and to the university. His volunteer, professional, and civic accomplishments are broad and numerous. From the United Way, Goodwill Industries, and the Ronald McDonald House to the Small Business Association and the Iowa Housing Finance Authority, Yoder has generously supported the cause.
Earl Yoder stands as a shining example of the type of relationship between "town and gown" that is frequently aimed for, but rarely achieved. Through his philanthropy-time, money, and love-Yoder understand the interrelationship between the UI and the surrounding community, and he cares deeply about both.
A member of the UI Foundation's President's Club, Yoder was elected a lifetime honorary director in 1991.