Firths refocus gift to UIU

Betty and Bob Firth

Longtime UIU benefactors Bob and Betty Firth are refocusing their 2007 gift to Upper Iowa University to directly help UIU students and to advance STEM education at UIU.

The Firths donated $526,650 in 2007 to endow the Upper Iowa Business Development grant (UIBD) with the mission to help businesses open, expand, or relocate to Fayette, Iowa. The grant was awarded to four business, serving as a catalyst for the ongoing revitalization of downtown Fayette.  The UIBD businesses themselves generated more than $1.3 million in sales and created some 30 jobs.

The Firths are now redirecting the $526,650 in the endowment to more directly support the University and its students — $226,650 to create a Firth Family Scholarship Fund and $300,000 to endow the Churbuck Dean’s Fund in the School of Science and Mathematics.

“The University is very grateful to Bob and Betty for the original endowment that spurred enhancement of our surrounding campus community, which is so important to the well-being of the University,” said Upper Iowa University President William R. Duffy.  “We are pleased with the impact this effort has had on our downtown, and now are excited to see a positive and direct impact on our students as well as our School of Science and Mathematics.”

“Bob and Betty Firth are great friends to the University,” said Scott Figdore, Dean of the School of Science and Mathematics.  “The scholarship fund and gift to the Churbuck Dean’s Fund both reflect an outstanding commitment to the success of our students and our institution.”

Upper Iowa University is currently fundraising to endow the four other Dean’s Funds at UIU – School of Business, School of Liberal Arts, Betty’s Team Fund supporting the Andres School of Education, and the Cabby Fund for the Office of Student Development.  80 percent of any gift to a Dean’s Fund goes into the respective fund’s endowment and 20 percent is available to meet immediate needs.  The goal is to endow each Dean’s Fund at a minimum of $250,000 with earnings used annually to support the respective missions of each fund.

For further information on any of the funds or to donate, go to

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