Doug True, 71BS, has a head for numbers and a steady hand, and he used these talents to expertly guide the University of Iowa for 27 years—most notably through the devastating flood of 2008.
Throughout his exceptional career, True played a crucial role in managing the university’s finances and advising four presidents and three interim presidents. He also provided leadership and counsel to thousands of UI employees and helped new collegiate deans effectively navigate the campus culture.
“There was no better employer than the UI,” says True. “Where else can a person serve students, patients, and faculty, all in one place?”
He managed to do all of that—and more—during his UI tenure. After graduating from Iowa with a degree in chemistry, True earned a master’s degree in business administration from Drake University. He then worked for the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, before returning to the UI campus in 1988 as treasurer. True quickly rose to the position of vice president for finance and operations in 1991 and senior vice president and university treasurer in 2005.
“For Doug True, stepping onto campus always felt like coming home,” says UI Foundation President Lynette Marshall. “He eagerly anticipated each new project and relished the opportunity to advance the university through innovative initiatives.”
This was especially true of his work in the aftermath of the flood of 2008, one of the most challenging economic periods in UI history. He was instrumental in helping to rebuild campus and partnered closely with insurers, as well as state and federal officials, to advance major building renovations and replace those facilities damaged by the floods.
“Doug earned the deepest respect from his colleagues during the crisis of the flood in 2008,” says P. Barry Butler, former UI executive vice president and provost. “His subsequent oversight of the recovery has resulted in the UI having one of the finest campuses in the country.”
True also helped guide the UI Foundation, becoming a charter member of the joint UI and UI Foundation development committee and serving on the search committee for UI Foundation President Lynette Marshall. He is a generous UI philanthropist, and following his retirement in 2015, the chemistry department named its building’s entrance in his honor.
After his retirement, True accepted a special one-year assignment as an advisor for UI flood recovery and investments. This position allowed him to assist university leaders in transition.
“Doug has provided the UI with decades of fiscal integrity, informed vision, essential continuity, and unmatched commitment,” says UI President Emerita Sally Mason, who worked closely with True during Iowa’s flood recovery efforts. “He has deep institutional knowledge, a sharp mind, and wise counsel.”
Thanks to his innate wisdom, financial acumen, and exceptional loyalty, Doug True helped the University of Iowa flourish during a time of great challenge and opportunity.
True is a member of the UI Alumni Association’s Old Capitol Club and the UI Foundation’s Presidents Club.