“I feel fortunate to have had the opportunities I did. Being able to give back to the place that has given us so much is an honor.”

Iowa City, Iowa

It all started with a walloping snowstorm and a sturdy Saab, bravely forging a path from Boston to a new home on the Midwestern plains.

John S. Strauss journeyed to Iowa City through a howling blizzard to begin his new job as head of the University of Iowa Department of Dermatology. However, this icy arrival actually marked the beginning of a lasting and warm UI relationship for both Strauss, and his wife, Susan.

The longtime couple made their first gift for Iowa in 1979, which sparked a passion for giving that has spanned more than three decades and will end with a remainderman interest for the University. Now, the Strausses are among the University’s most generous contributors. They are Platinum members of the
Presidents Club and have contributed to areas as diverse as the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, including the UI Department of Dermatology and the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center; Hancher; the School of Art and Art History; the Old Capitol Museum restoration project; WSUI and KSUI; Carver-Hawkeye Arena; and the Ronald McDonald House.

In 2007, their interest in Hancher spearheaded the Joffrey Ballet’s statewide tour in celebration of Hancher’s 35th anniversary, and they made charitable gifts to help Hancher and the UI Museum of Art in the wake of the Flood of 2008. This year, they were major supporters of the Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s free performance in Iowa City.

“It’s a pleasure to invest in these sorts of projects with a few extra dollars that can go wherever they’re needed most,” says Susan Strauss. This determination to help wherever they can has shaped the Strausses’ community involvement—and John Strauss’s work for the University. A graduate of Yale University, he was widely influential in the field of dermatology—and a source of inspiration for colleagues and students alike.

“I feel fortunate to have had the opportunities I did,” says John Strauss. “Being able to give back to the place that has given us so much is an honor.”

Though John Strauss retired in 2000, the couple currently are members of the Campaign Committee for Iowa First: Our Campaign for Breakthrough Medicine and continue to support the UI through gifts of time and resources.

Together, the Strausses have helped ensure that their Midwestern community—and its remarkable University—remain as warm and welcoming as ever.