Donor Profile: David Orth
AMES, Iowa – Being able to coordinate Iowa State spirit rallies would be a lifelong dream for any diehard Cyclone fan. For David Orth, that dream turned into reality.
Working for the ISU Alumni Association, Orth was in charge of coordinating events that brought together some of the biggest fans to the biggest stages. One memory that will last in Orth’s memory was the 1999 NCAA women’s basketball tournament, when the Cyclones were set to play No. 1 seed Connecticut in a shot for the Elite Eight.
Although the game was to be played the next day, over 300 fans attended the pregame festivities in Cincinnati, along with the pep band and coach Bill Fennelly.
“We had our Cyclone rally downtown in an establishment called the Holy Grail,” said Orth. “I don’t think they (owners) realized how many fans were going to be there. Not only were they wondering why so many people had made the trip from Iowa to Cincinnati, they wanted to know how they could fit everybody in, as it was packed from wall to wall.”
Orth worked for the Alumni Association for seven years, finally hanging up his shoes in 2004. He worked with the athletics department and organized such events as spirit rallies and road trips. He even got to travel with the team to Big 12 basketball tournaments.
“I have many fond memories of Big 12 tournament games in Kansas City and Dallas,” Orth exclaimed. “Sometimes we had rallies and games for both the men’s and women’s programs on the same day. Those were really some fun and exciting events.”
But Orth wasn’t a fan because he worked for the university, he has been one almost his whole life.
He remembers going to wrestling matches with his father in the 1970s, especially when Hilton Coliseum would fill more than 14,000 seats against their rivals from Iowa.
Orth also remembers when he met his future wife. The two had met while working as ushers at Hilton Coliseum. Both attended and graduated from Iowa State, David in 1987 with a degree in journalism, and Bonnie in 1988 with a degree in biochemistry. Now the couple has two children, William, age 7, and Elizabeth, age 5. David currently works for Special Olympics Iowa, as a director of individual and major gifts, and Bonnie as a physician for McFarland Clinic.
Since both have become Iowa State alums, the Orths have donated an annual gift to the Cyclone Club, the department’s fundraising unit. The Orths, current Victory Level donors, have season tickets for women’s CourtCYd Club, wrestling and football.
“With costs escalating everywhere, it is important to put your money where your mouth is. Don’t look at philanthropy as giving money away; it is making an investment in the future,” said Orth. “It’s always a fun time to be a Cyclone, no matter what team you are following or when it is.”
There is no place the Orth family would rather live than Ames, Iowa, right in the heart of Cyclone Country.
“It was pretty easy to become a big Cyclone fan,” said Orth. “I went to Iowa State for school and had lots of good memories, most of those memories being sports related. It has been a big part of my life, and obviously my children have begun to attend events and enjoying the success that is Cyclone athletics.”