Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
June 14, 1996

Iowa State receives $7 million gift for new engineering complex

by Skip Derra
The single largest cash donation to Iowa State, excluding estate gifts, is part of a recent $7 million gift to the university.

The gift, announced June 6, is a donation by Stanley M. and Helen Howe of Muscatine. Their $6 million cash gift will be supplemented by $1 million in furniture from HON Industries, the Muscatine company Stanley Howe guided for almost five decades.

The donations will go to the Engineering Teaching and Research Complex, a set of buildings that will advance engineering education at ISU into the 21st century.

"This is truly an important milestone for Iowa State," said President Martin Jischke. "The generosity of Stanley and Helen Howe will benefit not only Iowa State, but all of Iowa and anyone who has an interest in science and engineering in the future. This gift, and what it will build, is a testament to Stanley and Helen Howe's vision."

"The gift from the Howes and HON Industries will change forever Iowa State's College of Engineering," said Engineering dean James Melsa. "With their support, we will be able to change the way students learn, the course of research and how professional engineers continue their educations throughout their careers."

Stanley Howe is chairman emeritus and a member of the board of directors at HON Industries, a manufacturer of metal and wood office furniture and prefabricated fireplace units. On May 16, he retired as chairman of the company, a position he held since 1984.

Howe earned a B.S. degree in 1946 from Iowa State and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, Cambridge, Mass. He then returned to Muscatine to help C. Maxwell Stanley, a friend and mentor, turn the fledgling Home-O-Nize Co. into a leading manufacturer. Sales were nearly $900 million in 1995.

In 1958, Howe was named to the company's board of directors. He became president in 1964 and was chief executive officer from 1979 to 1991.

Howe has been active in civic affairs including the Muscatine Development Corp., Community Health Foundation and the Boy Scout Advisory Council. He is past chairman of the Iowa Business Council and the Iowa College Foundation. He has served on the Iowa Technology Transfer Council and Iowa Research Council. He has been an ISU Foundation governor since 1989.

Helen Howe studied general science while at Iowa State, leaving in 1949. She earned a B.A. in business administration from Iowa Wesleyan College, Mount Pleasant, in 1981. Helen Howe has been an active member of the Muscatine community, especially in the Wesley Methodist Church. She also has been a long-time member of Meals on Wheels and is a board member of the Muscatine Community College Foundation.

The Engineering Teaching and Research Complex is a futuristic set of buildings that will be used to help teach students the engineering principles of tomorrow. The $60 million complex will be funded by a mix of federal, state and private funds.

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