Making philanthropy a “lifestyle”: John and Mary Pappajohn

The generosity and service of John and Mary Pappajohn are widely evident in Iowa and far beyond. From facilities and centers at universities to scholarships for disadvantaged and minority students, from the Pappajohn Sculpture Park in Des Moines to the myriad organizations Mr. Pappajohn has served as a board member, they live their philosophy that philanthropy “is not just money; it’s a lifestyle.”

An entrepreneur in health care and medical technology, Mr. Pappajohn has visited campus to talk with DMU students. The couple have been advocates for and supporters of the University for nearly two decades. They have been pioneers in building, from its inception, DMU’s the Glanton Fund, which provides scholarships for minority students under-represented in the health professions and supports multicultural programs and benefit all students. Increasing the fund is among the priorities of the Campaign for Des Moines University.

At the annual event that raises money for the fund, the University recognized the couple as the 2018 Glanton Fund honorees.

“We are so grateful that John and Mary Pappajohn have been generous supporters of DMU’s Glanton Dinner and the Glanton Fund since its beginning,” says University President and CEO Angela Walker Franklin, Ph.D. “They have served and enriched our community in numerous other far-ranging and inspiring ways, too.”

Mr. Pappajohn emigrated from Greece at the age of nine months and grew up in Mason City, Iowa. When he was 16, his father passed away, so he became the head of the household and a tireless worker. He alternated working and attending college with his brothers. After earning a business degree from the University of Iowa, he went on to establish companies in insurance, financial consulting and venture capital. He has been involved in more than 100 start-ups and more than 50 initial public offerings, and he has served as a director of more than 40 public companies.

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