May 9, 2008
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Mark Jennings, associate athletics director for donor and patron services at the UI Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, has been named the Fund Raiser of the Year, University Division, by the National Association of Athletic Development Directors (NAADD). Jennings will receive his award at the national organization’s 15th Annual Convention next month in Dallas.
A native of Hanlontown, Iowa and a 1973 graduate of the University of Iowa, Jennings has worked at the UI for more than 25 years. His first appointment was as the University of Iowa Foundation’s director of development for the College of Law.
In 1987, Jennings was named director of development for intercollegiate athletics, a position that also carried the responsibilities of executive director of the National I-Club. In 2002, he assumed his current role as the UI Athletics Department staff member responsible for overseeing fund-raising, ticket operations and the Varsity Club.
Jennings has helped raise more than $200 million in support of the men’s and women’s intercollegiate athletics programs at the UI. Included in that total is more than $15 million of support for the $93 million renovation of historic Kinnick Stadium. He was also responsible for the creation of Hawkeye Visions, the endowment fund for UI intercollegiate athletics and is currently involved in the planning for the multi-million dollar enhancement to the UI’s award-winning Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“This has always been, for me, a labor of love and a team project. Anyone who is in the fund-raising business knows you can’t do it well if you don’t believe in what you go to work for each day and you certainly can’t do it alone.”
“This award is proof that if you stick around long enough they’ll eventually give you a trophy,” laughed Jennings, a life-long Hawkeye who was a team manager for the UI football team as an undergraduate student.
“Seriously, I’ve always said and truly believed our coaches are our best fund-raisers. I’ve had the benefit of working with some of the very best coaches in this business. I’ve also benefitted from having the opportunity to work with some of the very best directors of athletics and development professionals in the business.
“This has always been, for me, a labor of love and a team project,” Jennings continued. “Anyone who is in the fund-raising business knows you can’t do it well if you don’t believe in what you go to work for each day and you certainly can’t do it alone.”
In his current position Jennings serves on the seven-member senior management team under the direction of UI Director of Athletics Gary Barta and is responsible for the Hawkeye Express, the UI Athletic Department’s “Train to the Game” program.
“Mark’s contributions to the University of Iowa and our intercollegiate athletics program are both numerous and significant. I know I am one of literally hundreds of friends of the UI and fans of the Hawkeyes who are delighted to congratulate Mark on this well-deserved honor,” said Barta.
“It is always very meaningful when you are singled out by your peers for extraordinary work. Mark is a true professional and a true Hawkeye through and through,” he added.
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