by: Dan Sandersfeld

Stead Family Children's Hospital diagram

The Gerdin family of Solon, Iowa, has made a $12 million gift commitment to the University of Iowa to support the new UI Children’s Hospital. The gift, from the Gerdin Family Foundation, is the largest to date for the Children’s Hospital's $50 million building campaign. In recognition of this contribution, the lobby and children’s theater in the new hospital will be named for the Gerdin family.

UI President Sally Mason announced the gift during a special event at UI Hospitals & Clinics on Friday, October 19. Joining President Mason were members of the Gerdin family, UI Health Care Vice President for Medical Affairs Jean Robillard and UI Foundation President and CEO Lynette Marshall.

"This visionary and transformative gift from the Gerdin family will help us create a truly special environment for health care—one in which our nationally recognized faculty, staff, and programs can better meet the current and future needs of Iowa’s children and their families," says Robillard. "The new facility is essential to building a true statewide system of care."

Currently, care and services provided by UI Children’s Hospital are spread throughout the larger UI Hospitals & Clinics complex. However, providing care and treatment for infants and children often requires specialized facilities. In addition, the needs of Iowa’s youngest patients are growing beyond the capacities of the university’s hospital.

When it is completed in 2016, the new hospital will be a 14-story, 195-bed facility specifically designed to meet the health-care needs of children and their families. The 480,000-square-foot building will be located north of the Pomerantz Family Pavilion on Hawkins Drive, adjacent and linked to UI Hospitals & Clinics.

"The Gerdin family once again has demonstrated an extraordinary level of generosity and commitment to the University of Iowa," says President Mason. "We certainly are fortunate to have friends and community leaders such as the Gerdins, who share our vision and priorities."

The Gerdins are among the state’s leading philanthropic families, and they are longtime friends of the UI. The family previously has made gifts to the UI to fund the Russell A. and Ann Gerdin Athletic Learning Center, the UI Athletics Hall of Fame and Visitors Center, the J. Hayden Fry Center for Prostate Cancer Research, athletic scholarships and the renovation of Kinnick Stadium. They have also supported the Russell and Ann Gerdin American Cancer Society Hope Lodge in Iowa City.

"Our family is proud to continue to support the University of Iowa community," says Mike Gerdin, president and chief executive officer of North Liberty-based Heartland Express Inc. "Nothing is more important than the health of a child, and we’re looking forward to seeing the development of this new, state-of-the-art facility dedicated to delivering the best health care available to the children of Iowa and the nation."

U.S. News & World Report ranks UI Children’s Hospital as one of the nation’s best. Last year, nearly 56,000 children received care at UI Children’s Hospital, which also has an extensive statewide outreach program in collaboration with community-based physicians, schools, and other organizations across Iowa.

To learn more about UI Children’s Hospital, or Iowa First: Our Campaign for Breakthrough Medicine, visit

The UI acknowledges the UI Foundation as the preferred channel for private contributions that benefit all areas of the university. For more information, visit