Steve Harms, Upper Iowa University alum who recently committed $7.5 million to transform the University’s football stadium complex, thanks the crowd during groundbreaking ceremonies Friday, October 14. Tossing the first "ground" are, from left, sophomore defensive back Tom Nesvik of West Union; Diane Harms, class of 1973 and co-donor; Steve Harms, also class of 1973; UIU President Alan G. Walker; football coach Tom Shea; Athletic Director David Miller; Board Chair Bob Firth; Trustee Bernie Pattison; Trustee Betty Firth; and Wendell Snodgrass, vice president of advancement, development and alumni relations.
FAYETTE, Iowa (October 14, 2011) – It was perfect football weather as Upper Iowa University took the field Friday, October 14, to break ground for the University's new stadium complex in Fayette.
The stadium transformation was made possible by a $7.5 million gift to the University from UIU alumni, Steve and Diane Harms of West Des Moines, Iowa. Both 1973 UIU graduates, Steve Harms played football for four years as a student and Diane Harms was a cheerleader for three years.
"Other college presidents tell me with envy that UIU 'sure has the big 'MO' (momentum) going on,' and a lot of the credit for that momentum goes to Steve and Diane," said UIU President Alan G. Walker. "What we're doing here today is not just about football, but it's also about UIU athletics and the University as a whole. This will be another great venue at the University that will attract a variety of different events, drawing in visitors from all around northeast Iowa. Through this latest project, the ascension of Upper Iowa continues, and I'm looking forward to next year's opening game in the new football stadium complex. None of this would be possible without the generosity of our alumni, and Steve and Diane are now part of the UIU legacy of giving back to their university."
Following a standing ovation, Steve Harms spoke for both himself and his wife, Diane, saying he was pleased to be able to say, "Yeah, we can do that," when they were first contacted about the possible gift by UIU. "It's exciting to be part of the momentum of this University and to see what is coming down the road. It's exciting to be part of Dr. Walker's vision for what UIU can become," Harms said. "I see Upper Iowa being in the top tier of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, so we need to have top-tier facilities so that we can consistently be a top-tier performer. Football is in my family's blood, and we are proud to be Peacocks. We are pleased to be back and part of the UIU community. Dr. Walker talks about the ascension of this University, and we're happy to be part of the ride."
Other speakers at the event were UIU Board Chair Bob Firth; Wendell Snodgrass, vice president of advancement, development and alumni relations; and Tom Nesvik, sophomore defensive back from West Union, Iowa, who each expressed gratitude to the Harms.
Plans for renovation of the UIU football field and stadium include an all-weather turf surface, which was installed this year, as well as field lighting, significantly increased seating capacity, a professional grade scoreboard with a large-screen video, and a large multi-use press box. The stadium is expected to be completed in time for the start of the 2012 football season.
UIU's last game in the existing stadium will be played on Saturday, October 15, against Minnesota State University, with kick-off at 1 p.m. The final two UIU home games this season will be played on the North Fayette High School field in West Union on November 5 and 12.
For more information or to donate to the UIU capital campaign online, go to www.uiu.edu/transforming.
Monica Bayer Heaton
Executive Director of Communications and Marketing
About Upper Iowa University
Founded in 1857, Upper Iowa University is a private, not-for-profit university providing undergraduate and graduate degree programs and leadership development opportunities to more than 6,800 students—nationally and internationally—at its Fayette campus and learning centers worldwide. Upper Iowa University is a recognized innovator in offering accredited, quality programs through flexible, multiple delivery systems, including online and independent study. For more information, visit www.uiu.edu.