Iowa Wesleyan University Announces Gift to Strengthen Student Success Initiatives

Mount Pleasant, IA – November 9, 2021 — Iowa Wesleyan University announced a $240,000 gift from Steven ’83 and Jill Howe to fund initiatives to support the Student Success Center.  The Center will be named the Steven and Jill Howe Student Success Center in recognition of their generosity.

The Student Success Center is a crucial component of Iowa Wesleyan University’s continued efforts to positively impact the higher education landscape in Southeast Iowa. Over the past two years, Iowa Wesleyan has devoted significant staffing and financial resources to expanding university-wide student success initiatives.  

“As Iowa Wesleyan welcomes an increasing number of first-generation and economically and ethnically diverse students, our Student Success Center has become the cornerstone of our work to increase retention and graduation rates,” President Christine Plunkett stated. “We are grateful to Steven and Jill for their generous support of this program, and we are proud to name our Center in their honor. Their commitment represents an investment in our students and allows us to enhance our efforts to influence and shape future generations.

Katie Aranda, Associate Dean of Student Success Initiatives, stated, “I’m excited for our students to have additional support services, and this gift will enhance what we’ve already been building. When I started in the spring of 2017, we had a staff of three; we worked around the clock to connect with students and give them the support they needed. It’s inspiring to see how the staff has grown, and this gift will help support that growth and lead to other resources for students.” The Center now boasts a full-time staff of eight, all focused on supporting students from the day they make their enrollment deposit through their academic journey at IW.

Steven and Jill Howe are passionate about student learning and supporting all students with their unique needs. Steven Howe stated, “When we heard about the intention behind the Student Success Center and the good work already being done there, we were moved by the deep sense of caring it represents for students. The Student Success program provides the kind of resources that give them the very best chance of getting the most out of their experience in higher education.”

Steven Howe is the son of Stan and Helen Howe ’81, who have been dedicated and instrumental philanthropic partners of IW. The Howe Student Activity Center on IW’s campus is named in their honor. Stan and Helen received honorary doctorates from Iowa Wesleyan in 1978 and 2010, respectively.

The Steven and Jill Howe Student Success Center will enhance the University’s ability to impact the lives of its students. “We have created a strong community in our Center, and it’s a place for our students to feel at home,” said Aranda. “This gift will help support those endeavors.”