Drake University announces $28M gift commitment

The Ones: Drake’s Campaign for the Brave & Bold passes goal of $225 million

Drake University announced today that alumnus and Board of Trustees member Greg Johansen, PH’76, and his wife, Cie, are committing a transformative gift of $28 million to the University. This historic commitment is the largest gift to The Ones campaign to date, pushing the campaign beyond its $225 million goal to $247 million. When fully realized, it will be the largest single-donor gift in Drake’s history. The Ones campaign will continue with significant momentum until October 2024. 

Through current leadership gifts and a legacy-creating estate commitment, the Johansens’ generosity will have a significant impact across Drake’s campus. A portion of this gift is enabling the completion of the revitalization of Morehouse Hall into a vibrant student center. With the Johansens’ support, the University will complete the project debt-free with an expected completion date of January 2025. To recognize this powerful contribution, the student center will be named the Johansen Student Center.  

Watch Video: Drake University revealed at a press conference today a historic $28 million gift commitment to The Ones campaign. When fully realized, it will be the largest single-donor gift in Drake’s history. Watch the full celebration event.

The Johansens’ comprehensive gift commitment is also supporting:   

  • The College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences   
  • John D. Bright College  
  • Drake Athletics with an emphasis on Women’s Basketball  
  • Sustainability efforts, including the installation of solar panels on the recently restored Meredith Hall  
  • The Drake Fund  

“We are truly honored and thankful for the Johansens’ visionary support and commitment to advancing our mission,” said Marty Martin, Drake University president. “Greg’s generous commitment is an expression of his unwavering confidence in the power of the Drake Experience and will play a pivotal role in driving progress and transformation across our institution—from giving our students a space to connect and create in the Johansen Student Center to fostering continued innovation in students’ academic experience. 

“This gift commitment is a statement of gratitude to Drake University for the education I received here beginning more than 50 years ago. The opportunity I was given to receive a Drake education was a gift to me and now I am here to return the favor,” said Johansen. “We are thankful for all the things that Drake does for students and the community and we are confident that the Johansen Student Center will enhance the experience for all students. Preserving and repurposing Morehouse Hall and adding to the sustainability of the campus is very satisfying for us. The additional commitment to the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, John Dee Bright College, Drake Athletics and the Women’s basketball program are all areas that are incredibly meaningful to us.”  

Greg and Cie Johansen pose with Griff II and members of the Drake Women’s basketball team.  

About Greg Johansen  
Johansen is a 1976 graduate of Drake’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. He has had a successful career in pharmacy operations and a long history of philanthropic support to the University and to his profession. He and his wife, Cie, live in Cumming, Iowa.   

Johansen obtained his first pharmacy job at McLuen Drug in Indianola, while still a student at Drake. He continued his pharmacy career by eventually co-founding and leading GRX Corporation and then GRX Holdings, LLC, which operated 22 Medicap Pharmacies throughout the state of Iowa, as well as creating the Midwest Compounding brand. Johansen sold GRX Holdings, LLC in 2021. Johansen also served as senior vice president of operations for Medicap Pharmacies and senior vice president of pharmacy solutions for Medicine Shoppe International.  

Greg also serves as Vice Chair and lead director of Central South Bancshares and Peoples Bank, Director of OneroRx, Inc, and a member of the Advisory Board of The Wittern Group.  

Through all his professional accomplishments, Greg has remained firmly committed to supporting his community. He has served on the Drake University Board of Trustees since 2015 and on Drake’s Pharmacy National Advisory Council from 2011 to 2018. He and his wife have shaped pharmacy students’ learning experience through numerous gifts to Drake, including a STEM@DRAKE gift that established the Johansen Research Lab in Drake’s Science Connector Building. He made two leadership-level gifts to distinctlyDrake, the University’s $216 million fundraising campaign completed in fall 2015. One gift funded the Johansen Skills Assessment Laboratory in the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in 2013 and a second gift created an endowed fund that supports international study experiences for pharmacy students.   

Johansen’s generosity and commitment to his profession has been recognized with a number of accolades, including the Lawrence C. and Delores M. Weaver Medal of Honor in 2018, the 2018 CPHS Alumni Achievement Award, and the Iowa Pharmacy Association’s 2022 Legislative Champion Award.   

In addition to his service to Drake, Johansen has contributed to causes close to his heart. He has served as president of the board of directors of Prevent Blindness Iowa, the state’s only health and safety organization dedicated to preserving sight and preventing blindness; and the Iowa International Center, a nonprofit organization that provides access to international resources to Iowans, new Iowans, and international visitors to Iowa. He supports his professional field as a member of the National Community Pharmacy Association and Iowa Pharmacy Association and has been a fellow of the American College of Apothecaries.  

President Marty Martin presents Greg Johansen with a unique, handblown glass baton to recognize his significant commitment to the University.

Key Campaign Achievements: 

Since its inception, the $247 million in gifts contributed through The Ones thus far have created life-changing opportunities for students, faculty, staff, and neighboring communities. Some of the major outcomes of the campaign to date include:  

  • More than $52 million committed to scholarships, generating more than 300 newly formed or expanded scholarships to date.  
  • The Zimpleman College of Business, established in 2023 with a mission to be a force for good in the world thanks to the generous support of Larry and Kathleen Zimpleman.  
  • The unveiling of the Ron and Jane Olson Institute for Public Democracy in October 2023, making Drake the school of choice for politically minded students everywhere.   
  • Capital projects, such as Mediacom Stadium, which are transforming the landscape of campus and strengthening the Des Moines community.  
  • The restoration of Meredith Hall which was completed in 2023.  
  • The Knapp Center renovation has enhanced gameday experience, seating options, and sports medicine resources for student-athletes.  
  • The Gregory & Suzie Glazer Burt Boys & Girls Club on Drake University’s campus is enriching the lives of hundreds of children in Central Iowa.  
Watch the full celebration event announcing Greg and Cie Johansens’ transformative commitment.