UD Receives Largest Single Estate Commitment in the University’s History

Feb 17, 2017

DUBUQUE, Iowa – University of Dubuque President Jeffrey F. Bullock announced today a $60 million investment in students – the largest single estate commitment in UD’s 164 year history. Bullock made the announcement at a campus gathering in Steffens Hall in the Charles and Romona Myers Center.

The investment, an estate gift from the late Trustee Edward A. Babka (DHL ’98) and his spouse, Shirley, will be allocated to the University’s endowment and will support the Ed and Shirley Babka Scholarship Fund. The two-part commitment, $37 million of which has already been received by the University, will bring UD’s endowment to over $150 million – a major mile marker on the road to a base endowment of $250 million.

“It’s hard to adequately describe the impact of Ed and Shirley’s investment in UD students,” President Bullock said. “In the many conversations I had with Ed and Shirley, they were committed to keeping the University a place of hope, opportunity, and promise for today’s students and future generations. The Babkas understood that endowment is the bedrock of financial stability for the University, as well as the foundation for the University’s Mission of transforming students’ lives, one student at a time. I am both humbled and grateful for Ed and Shirley’s generosity and their belief and faith in our Mission.”

Edward Babka passed away June 20, 2016. He was 88. Babka was a treasured member of the UD family. He served on the UD Board of Trustees for more than 43 years, beginning his service in 1973. Serving as wise counsel, Babka and his wife left an indelible mark on UD through philanthropic initiatives including funding the Babka Bookstore and renovation of the third floor in Peters Commons, the Babka Computer Center in Dunlap Technology Center, the Babka Blackbox Theatre in Heritage Center, a student apartment building in Park Village on campus, and numerous financial scholarships for students in need.

“Ed Babka was a faithful and wise member of the Board,” President Bullock said. “The task before us now is to bring to the Board women and men who have the same passion and commitment to UD as did Ed. He and Shirley are truly second century founders of this University.”

The Ed and Shirley Babka Scholarship Fund will help support the $15.5 million in institutional scholarships that the University provides annually.

“My father’s love for and commitment to the University of Dubuque is certainly evident today, and it’s a wonderful and generous example of who he was as a person,” said Frank Babka, Edward Babka’s son. “He had a strong and unwavering desire to help the University provide opportunities for students who may not otherwise have a chance to pursue their dreams. To be able to be here today and share with you what was important to him, is for our family, very gratifying.”

Babka, founder of Babka Publishing Company, extended his philanthropic efforts beyond UD. He served on numerous community boards such as the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Dubuque, Carnegie-Stout Public Library, Dubuque Museum of Art, UnityPoint Health-Finley Hospital, and many more. Babka and his wife, Shirley, received the 46th annual Telegraph Herald First Citizen award in January 2016 for their service to the community.

“The Babkas’ investment is monumental and is an extension of the University’s commitment to every student who comes here seeking to fulfill their educational hopes and dreams,” said Joe Chlapaty, chair of the University’s Board of Trustees. “To be able to provide this assistance to UD students will immensely help them with their educational journey, and on behalf of the University’s Board of Trustees, I want to thank the Babkas for their commitment to, and belief in, the University of Dubuque.” 

Watch the Babka Announcement