Donor Profile: Erb and Marge Hunziker
AMES, Iowa- In the early 1940s, Erb Hunziker was one of many students at Iowa State University who held a part-time job to support himself financially. At the time, the side job at a local Ames restaurant seemed temporary. But when the same Ames establishment was put on the market, Hunziker jumped at the opportunity. He used a loan from his grandfather to purchase the restaurant. It was a purchase that would serve as the catalyst to Hunziker’s unequivocal success in the real estate business.
Because the Ames community has been so accepting of his business, Hunziker has chosen to give back time and time again through donations to Iowa State University. Today, Hunziker and his wife Marge are being recognized for helping the athletics department “Take the Next Big Step” with their generous donation of $1.2 million to the athletic facilities campaign.
“We like Ames and the community has been very good to us,” Hunziker said. “We just feel like this is an opportunity to give something back to not only the community, but Iowa State University.”
The 1943 architectural engineering graduate met his wife Marge, a fellow Iowa State student, at the restaurant where they both worked. The two started attending Cyclone athletic events together and haven’t stopped supporting the cardinal and gold since.
“I started going to games when I was in school here which was in the early 1940s,” Hunziker said. “I doubt that my wife and I have missed very many home games since that time. We just took a liking to not only football but all sports at Iowa State.”
In addition to this most recent gift, the Hunzikers have been very generous to the National Cyclone Club, and have supported many other athletics projects including the Jacobson Building and Student Success Center campaigns. The 125 seat auditorium in the Jacobson Building is named the “Hunziker Auditorium” in their honor.
The Hunziker’s loyalty to the Cyclones is now a family affair. Of their six sons, three graduated from Iowa State. A number of the Hunziker’s grandchildren have also attended ISU.
Countless interactions with Iowa State have left the Hunzikers with some fond Cyclone memories.
“We’ve had a lot of fun going to out-of-town games,” said Hunziker. “We’ve traveled with the teams several times which was very enjoyable. Going to other Big 12 schools has led to some nice experiences. All in all, our connection with the university has been really good and we’ve enjoyed everything.”
Their ongoing positive encounters with Iowa State University have given the Hunzikers a continuous urge to give back.
“We do what we can and will continue to do what we can for everything, not only athletics,” said Hunziker. “We’ve given money to other parts of the university too. It’s been a really good experience for us and we feel good about it.”
Q: When did you attend your first ISU event?
A: I went to my first football game in the fall of 1942, while attending ISU.
Q: Do you have any memorable games?
A: That basketball game when we played against Wilt Chamberlain and Kansas. He was “Mr. Big” and Gary Thompson outscored him in the victory.
Q: Do you have any favorite road trips?
A: Traveling down to Texas A&M in 2005 when we beat a team we weren’t supposed to in football. That game was exciting for both (Todd) Blythe and (Bret) Meyer.
Q: Any favorite players you enjoyed watching?
A: Seneca Wallace was one that I loved to watch a few years back.
I really like the fact that Marge and I have had season tickets for basketball almost in the same section every year