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Timing is Everything – Graether Family Fund for Climate Science Advancement

Author: awood | Image: awood

Dr. John Graether, retired ophthalmic surgeon from the Wolfe Eye Clinic in Marshalltown, Iowa, generously donated funds to create a climate science major at Iowa State.
Dr. John Graether, retired ophthalmic surgeon from the Wolfe Eye Clinic in Marshalltown, Iowa, generously donated funds to create a climate science major at Iowa State. (Paul Gates Photography)

For the past few years, the faculty and staff in the Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences have sought to develop a new major for undergraduate students focused on climate science. The challenge was determining how to offer a new, robust program with no additional funding.

During this same time, Dr. John Graether, a retired ophthalmic surgeon from the Wolfe Eye Clinic in Marshalltown, Iowa, who is deeply concerned about climate change, was contemplating ways in which he could impact climate science education.

In February 2020, Graether discovered that Bill Gutowski, professor of atmospheric sciences, was speaking about climate change at Marshalltown Community College. Graether attended Gutowski’s talk and set up a later lunch meeting with Gutowski and others from Iowa State to discuss how he might financially assist the university with raising climate change awareness.

After finalizing details for several months, Graether formally donated $2.2 million to Iowa State to create the Graether Family Fund for Climate Science Advancement. The fund, established through the Iowa State University Foundation, will support the Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences to grow interdisciplinary climate science programming that will encompass several areas of study across the university, including statistics, sustainability, computer science, sociology, communication, design and more.

You can read the full story at the Link Magazine.