New gifts to The Ones—Drake’s comprehensive campaign—help reach $141 million milestone

Areas impacted include a business law clinic for underserved communities, John Dee Bright College, The Ray Center, and scholarship program for minority students

Drake University announced today that The Ones: Drake’s Campaign for the Brave & Bold has raised $141 million against its $225 million goal.

“Our donors believe in Drake’s vision for the future, and we are extremely grateful for their support,” said Drake University President Marty Martin. “These gifts will enhance the exceptional learning environment that all Drake students enjoy and advance our inspiration of transforming lives and strengthening communities.”

Newly announced major gifts:

Drake University Law School celebrates a $3.25 million gift to establish the J. Locke, LW’48, and Harriet S. Macomber Drake Law School Fund that will support the Drake Entrepreneurial and Transactional Clinic. The clinic represents entrepreneurs and innovators located in underserved Des Moines neighborhoods and rural communities who are not able to afford legal counsel. This Des Moines couple’s estate awarded more than $45 million to eight Des Moines organizations.

Tom Bernau, BN’85, LW’88, president of Bernau Capital in West Des Moines, Iowa, recently committed a $1 million gift to Drake. Tom serves on the campaign steering committee and the Drake University Board of Trustees.

Ike Vanden Eykel, BN’71, and his wife, Cathy, contributed $1.05 million to support the operations and long-term vitality of Drake University. Ike serves on the Drake University Board of Trustees and the campaign steering committee. Ike and Cathy live in Dallas, Texas, where Ike is a managing shareholder and CEO at Koons-Fuller PC.

Steve Nellis, BN’64, contributed a leadership gift to the campaign. His gift will support scholarships for the John Dee Bright College along with renovations around the Drake campus, the annual fund, Drake Athletics, and the University’s live mascot program. Steve serves as an honorary chair of the campaign and is the retired division general manager for Praxair, Inc.

Sue Wright, retired deputy provost at Drake and professor emerita of sociology, generously contributed $100,000 to create an endowment for the Crew Scholars program. Crew Scholars provides resources proven to help students of color achieve academic success, become campus leaders, and thrive at Drake.

Marta Codina recently committed a leadership level planned gift to the Robert D. and Billie Ray Center. The Ray Center is one of the nation’s leading institutes for providing character education for youth from early childhood through college-age. Marta, who is a senior vice president at Wells Fargo Bank, has served on the Ray Center’s board since 2011 and joined the Drake University Board of Trustees in 2021.

Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino recently approved three grants to Drake University. They are contributing $275,000 to the Knapp Center renovation, $20,000 to Sprout Garden, which supports student community engagement, and $56,850 to the Robert D. and Billie Ray Center.

About The Ones
The Ones: Drake’s Campaign for the Brave & Bold is a comprehensive fundraising campaign empowering the University’s inspiration to transform lives and strengthen communities. The campaign reimagines Drake’s commitment to its students and society with ambitious priorities that will meet pressing challenges with innovative solutions. Those priority areas include: Every Bulldog a Changemaker, Center for Public Democracy, Digital Proficiency Platform, University Center, Jay N. Darling Institute, University for All, and Pursuit of Excellence. Learn more at

About Drake University
Drake University is recognized as one of the finest national liberal arts universities. A distinctive and distinguished private university in Des Moines, Iowa, Drake enrolls nearly 3,000 undergraduate and more than 1,800 graduate students. Students choose from more than 70 majors, minors, and concentrations and 20 graduate degrees offered through seven colleges and schools. In addition, Drake offers a range of continuing education programs serving working professionals, community members, and area businesses. Drake recognizes the importance of its location in Iowa’s capital city and seeks to connect its teaching and learning to the wealth of cultural, recreational, and business resources it provides. At the same time, it weaves global thinking and intercultural learning into everything it does, preparing students to lead in an increasingly interconnected world.