A Family Tradition of Giving: Mary Louise Petersen

Rand and Mary Louise Petersen have supported numerous university programs. They also created the Dr. Walter and Margaret Anneberg Scholarship Fund in the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and the Mary Louise Petersen Chair in Higher Education in the College of Education.
Mary Louise Petersen, pictured, has supported numerous university programs. Mary Louise Petersen is the former president of the Iowa Board of Regents and a lifelong Hawkeye.

As a child, Mary Louise Petersen soaked up her parents' passion for education and the University of Iowa. Her parents, Dr. Walter and Margaret Anneberg, were devoted and loyal Iowa alumni.

"When the University of Iowa Alumni Association was first organized, my parents were among the first to join," she said. "They were actively involved in raising money and donating money for the University of Iowa. I grew up around people who not only loved the Hawkeyes, but also had a passion for serving and for giving back."

"My father once said, 'Don't wait to give back for your education until you can afford to give. You start right away because it will be the habit of a lifetime.'"

- Mary Louise Petersen

Following in the footsteps of her parents, Mary Louise Petersen started at Iowa in 1947. Her first year as a Hawkeye is a time she will never forget.

"My husband, Rand, and I met our freshman year," she said. "Our very first date was a Coca-Cola date at Whetstone's, which was one of the popular places at the time. That was the beginning of our Iowa story."

Much like her parents, Mary Louise Petersen says her time at Iowa shaped her life. It's why she continues to give back to the university. Her initial contribution was small but significant; it was in keeping with a family tradition that has now lasted for nearly a century.

Watch: Mary Louise Petersen

"My family has been deeply influenced by this university," she says. "From one generation to the next, the University of Iowa continues to be committed to providing an educational experience that ensures a lifetime of success. I've been a Hawkeye for as long as I can remember, and I'll be one forever."

Today, Mary Louise's four children—Steve, KAP, Allen, and Lynn—are all Iowa graduates and have given back to the university. The entire family is instilling those same values in their next generation of Hawkeyes—five of whom are UI graduates.

Watch: Women and Philanthropy
This video features Mary Louise Petersen and several other remarkable women.
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