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Best-selling author Robert Waller gives seven-figure gift to alma mater

May 17, 2012

Ben Allen, UNI president, 319-273-2566,

Lindsay Cunningham, Office of University Relations, 319-273-6728,


CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- Robert Waller, former dean of the University of Northern Iowa College of Business Administration and best-selling author, has given a high level seven-figure gift to his alma mater.

Waller graduated from UNI in 1962 with a Bachelor of Arts in business education-marketing degree and a Master of Arts in marketing in 1964. He taught in UNI's College of Business Administration for more than 20 years, serving six of those years as dean. He has lectured and published widely in the fields of problem solving and decision-making, and has worked as a consultant around the world.

"UNI allowed me to explore my intellectual interests and my tastes, as a student, a professor and a dean," said Waller. "As a professor, UNI provided me room to experiment with courses and course content; and as the first dean of the business school, to have some influence on the direction of the university. I am pleased to lend support to my alma mater and to help it grow as a first-class university."

Waller's gift has been directed to multiple areas including the Robert James Waller Scholarship in Economics, an annually funded full tuition and fees scholarship for a student majoring in economics; the Charles T. Leavitt Scholarship in Economics; the Robert James Waller Professorship in Economics; Robert James Waller College of Business Faculty Enrichment fund; support for jazz scholarships; the Honors Program; and the Rod Library will receive royalties from his books.

"Robert's generous gift will have an immediate and significant impact on current and future generations of UNI students and faculty," said UNI President Ben Allen. "We are grateful to see an alumnus, former professor and dean give back to the university in such a significant way. We also appreciate the way that Dr. Waller continues to challenge all of us at UNI with his own rigorous scholarly work. Robert's gift provides support for our students and the example he sets inspires us to always strive for excellence in our academic programs."

Waller is the author of "Bridges of Madison County," which sold more than 12 million copies and was made into a major film and theatrical productions in a number of countries. He also published numerous books and recently completed a manuscript, "The Summer Nights Never End…Until They Do: Life, Liberty and the Lure of the Short-Run," which has been published by Traders Press.

The Waller gift is part of UNI's Imagine the Impact campaign, which supports scholarships and programs. For more information about the campaign, visit