AMES, Iowa – The Iowa State University Athletics Department announced Thursday that it has received a $5 million gift from Richard O. “Dick” Jacobson, a long-time and generous ISU supporter and Des Moines area businessman. Jacobson’s gift, the largest ever made to the Iowa State Athletics Department, will help finance renovations to Jack Trice Stadium pending approval from the Board of Regents, State of Iowa.
Jacobson has a lengthy record of philanthropic giving to Iowa State and, in 1993, his $1.5 million gift named the athletics department’s administrative building. That was the largest gift in the history of the athletics department at that time.
“We can’t begin to thank Dick enough for his continual support and belief in the vision we have created for our athletics program,” Iowa State Director of Athletics Jamie Pollard said. “His generosity will allow us to move forward with renovations to the east side of Jack Trice Stadium which will include the creation of the Jacobson Plaza.”
Jacobson Plaza will be located on the east side of the stadium and serve as the stadium’s main entrance. The athletics department envisions using the Jacobson Plaza for outdoor social events and other athletics department functions. It will also include a memorial tribute to Jack Trice, the first African-American student-athlete in school history.
“I am pleased to help the Iowa State University Athletics Department with the continued renovation of Jack Trice Stadium,” Jacobson said. “I like their vision and have encouraged the athletics department to continue to think big. I hope my gift sparks others to step forward and I challenge Cyclones everywhere to help make these visions reality.”
A native of Belmond, Iowa, and a graduate of the University of Iowa, Jacobson has been a long-time supporter of higher education and intercollegiate athletics in the state of Iowa. In 2004, he was named an Honorary Alumnus of Iowa State University, the highest honor bestowed to non-graduates. He founded the Jacobson Companies in 1968. One of Jacobson’s most recent business ventures is with Hawkeye Renewables, one of the largest producers of ethanol in the United States.
The athletics department recently completed a $19.5 million renovation to Jack Trice Stadium – which reshaped and added premium seating options and significantly upgraded concourse amenities on the west side – and wants to add another $11.5 million upgrade to the east side of the stadium by the start of the 2009 football season.
“Fans on the east side of the stadium would then have access to similar amenities made available to the fans on the facility’s west side beginning in 2009,” Pollard said. “This new construction would create new restrooms and concession stands plus a nearly twice-as-wide concourse, similar to what is on the west side.”
The department also has plans to eventually bowl in the south end zone at Jack Trice Stadium, including the addition of an upper deck that would raise capacity to more than 60,000. The cost for the south end zone renovation is estimated to be $55 million.
The athletics department has already raised funds to complete more than $53 million in new facilities and renovations during the past three years. Those projects include the Rod and Connie French Academic Center located in the $10 million Hixson-Lied Student Success Center, $19.5 million in renovations to Jack Trice Stadium, an $8 million men’s and women’s basketball practice facility, $4 million in improvements to Hilton Coliseum (scoreboards, sound system and seating) and now $11.5 million in additional renovations to Jack Trice Stadium.
With the Jacobson gift, ISU Athletics has now received gifts and commitments of $59.1 million toward its Campaign Iowa State goal of $77 million.