Over the next five years Drake University will receive $2.5 million from the Principal Financial Group for international initiatives through the distinctlyDrake campaign. With this gift coming in, the Center for Global Citizenship will gain a new name –The Principal Financial Group Center for Global Citizenship– and Principal will give students an opportunity to work side-by-side with Principal employees and executives.
The Principal gift was first announced at a distinctlyDrake event on Jan. 14 where Larry Zimpleman, the chairman, president and CEO of The Principal was present. Zimpleman, who is a co-chair of the distinctlyDrake campaign and a Drake graduate, made the initial announcement to Drake alumni and friends.
“We are excited about this partnership with Drake for many reasons,” said Zimpleman in a press release to the public. “Drake graduates who come to work at The Principal are some of the most talented, creative and well-prepared people at our company, yet another example of Drake’s innate culture of excellence.”
The Principal Financial Group was founded in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1879 and has about 9,000 employees from the Des Moines area.
“Supporting our communities here and abroad is a precedent at the Principal,” said Mary O’Keefe, president of the Principal Financial Group Foundation in the same press release.
Junior Joe Frake, an International Relations major, said he knows the importance of international initiatives on Drake’s campus. He spent five months studying abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina, through a program he learned of through the university’s Center for Global Citizenship.
“It’s a big cultural experience,” Frake said.
A key component of Drake’s mission statement is global citizenship. While the exact definition of global citizenship is loosely defined in the mission statement, Frake said he believes that it is a “two-way” process.
“It [global citizenship] is being respectful of other cultures, exploring other cultures, and not so much trying to influence other cultures, but also showing the American perspective on things,” said Frake.
He said he hopes that the money brought in from The Principal can go towards building a new building and scholarships for students who will be studying abroad. Currently, students can use all of their federal aid to and only half of their Drake financial aid to study abroad, which can put a damper on students’ plans.
“We have high study abroad rate, but that would really eliminate those hinderances to students,” said Frake.
In fact, that is where part of the money will be going. Not only will Principal sustain support for scholarships, but it will also help support an actuarial science chair as well as operating funds.
One department that will be affected by the gift will be Drake’s World Languages and Culture program. Director of WLC Dr. Marc Cadd and Administration Assistant, Christen Bain, already have a few programs and ideas in mind for what they could do with their portion of the $2.5 million.
In a statement made to The Times-Delphic from the WLC department they said: “We anticipate collaborating with other departments and programs across campus to put this new funding to good use in globalizing the Drake campus.”
Drake University President David Maxwell said in the recent press release that this gift was not only generous, but will help “achieve our mission goal of preparing students to be responsible global citizens.”
With this latest gift, the distinctlyDrake campaign has raised $83 million, with $1 million of that coming from Zimpleman and his wife.
“Go abroad,” said Frake. “The cost is high, but it is totally worth it.” With this new gift, more students will be able to have the chance to take Frake’s advice and become global citizens.