Allen College

UnityPoint Health - Waterloo Announces $3.1 Million for Allen For You Campaign Gift Directed to Allen College

Edward W. Jesse Estate Gift Creates Endowed Scholarship Fund

WATERLOO, Iowa — UnityPoint Health — Waterloo and Allen College officials are announcing the receipt of the largest donor gift in the history of the nursing and health sciences education institution.

The estate of Edward W. Jesse, Jr., a Jesup area farmer, is donating a total of $3,063,099.13. The gift comes in the form of an endowed scholarship fund that will provide scholarships for Allen College students well into the future.

The gift goes toward the Allen College initiatives portion of the For Allen For You capital campaign that is raising $19.8 million for three distinct projects. To date, $11,068,913.68 has been raised or pledged toward that overall campaign total.

In addition to endowed scholarships, the Allen College initiatives include securing and renovating buildings for expanding programs.

Edward William Jesse, Jr., died in 2013, at the age of 78. He had been a longtime farmer in Black Hawk and Buchanan counties and was a life-long member of Zion Lutheran Church. Jesse had also donated land in Jesup in 2008 for UnityPoint’s Jesup Clinic. His total lifetime giving to Allen is nearly $3.26 million.

Jesse’s nephew, Brad Jesse, is also an area farmer. He said Ed Jesse’s sister, Margaret Brust, graduated from Allen College and his father, Edward Jesse Sr., also gave generously to Allen. Two nieces, Margaret Jean (Woods) Russell and Ramona Jesse and grandniece, Alissa (Fehl) Barron, also graduated from Allen College. 

“We are fortunate to have friends of Allen like Ed Jesse and his family,” said Pam Delagardelle, President and CEO UnityPoint Health – Waterloo. “This extremely generous gift will help many area students be able to afford their dream of entering the healthcare field and to begin important and satisfying careers – many of them right here in the Cedar Valley. It will also aid Allen College in its efforts to increase enrollment at a time when nursing shortages remain a concern all across Iowa and the nation.

Brad Jesse remembers how his uncle would often bring watermelons from his garden to neighbors and family. He said his uncle’s estate grew through working hard, saving and investing in the stock market.

“He wasn’t one to spend money on himself; he was real frugal,” Brad said. “He was a well-informed, intelligent man who worked hard. He followed the news closely and made good investments.”

In talking about the importance of the Jesse gift, Allen College Chancellor Jerry Durham also referred to the shortage of healthcare professionals.

“Our college focuses only on nursing and health sciences,” he said. “Because there is a shortage, and there will continue to be a shortage for some time, it’s vital that we increase the number of graduates.”

Durham also touched on the significance for individual students.

“So many of our students have considerable financial aid needs,” he said. “The Jesse gift is a blessing for the college and for many of our students. It’s going to greatly increase our capacity to award scholarships to those students who need them.”

Campaign organizers have noted that the average Allen College undergraduate debt load at graduation has reached nearly $30,000.

Depending on how the market performs, the college should be able to distribute about 10 significant scholarships per year, beginning in the next academic year.

While he never went to college himself, Ed Jesse’s gift will go a long way in helping others reap the benefits of higher education and to get started in their careers.

“Mr. Jesse’s selfless gift is greatly appreciated by the college and will be appreciated by future students,” Durham said.

The Edward W. Jesse Estate Endowed Scholarship will be presented annually to students based on financial need, personal qualifications and signs of academic success. A preference may be given to applicants who graduated from Black Hawk County or Buchanan County high schools. Further information will be available on the Allen College website.

In addition to the Allen College initiatives, the other two major For Allen For You projects are UnityPoint Health — Prairie Parkway, the new comprehensive medical home in Cedar Falls; and renovation of Allen Hospital’s Birthing Center/Neonatal Intensive Care and Pediatric Units.