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Drake announces $500,000 gift to new Ray Center

November 25, 2014

Drake University has received a $500,000 anonymous gift in support of the University's new Robert D. and Billie Ray Center.

Drake University President David Maxwell announced the $500,000 gift on Nov. 24 during a special reception to honor the establishment of the Center, which will focus its efforts globally on applied research and programming in leadership, ethics, and civility.

A large portion of the gift will create an endowed fund to support programming at the Ray Center; the other portion of the gift is designated to the Center’s construction.

Drake will acquire the Iowa-based nonprofit Character Counts In Iowa as a foundational element of the Center, which through its name and activities will honor the legacy of former Drake University President and Iowa Governor Robert D. Ray and his wife, Billie, both of whom are Drake alumni.

The Center is slated to be housed in the recently announced School of Education and Mathematics and Computer Science building. Construction of that and one other new building could begin as soon as summer 2015 as part of a $65 million STEM@DRAKE initiative to enhance Drake’s instruction in science, technology, education, and mathematics.

The Ray Center will continue and expand upon the work of Character Counts In Iowa with students, parents, athletic teams, corporations, nonprofits, government organizations, and municipalities. The Center will conduct research, provide programming and training, and publish scholarly works focusing on leadership, ethics, and civility.

The reception at which President Maxwell announced the gift was attended by Gov. Ray and Billie Ray, community leaders, members of the Drake University Board of Trustees, supporters of Character Counts In Iowa, Drake faculty and staff members, and other friends of the University. A brief program included remarks by President Maxwell, Character Counts In Iowa President Scott Raecker, and Randy Edeker, president, CEO, and chairman of Hy-Vee, Inc.

University leaders previously announced that Hy-Vee has committed $1 million toward capital development of the Ray Center.