John H. Witte, Jr. Foundation Approves Million-Dollar Lead Gift for SCC Building the Dream Capital Campaign


West Burlington, IA – Southeastern Community College recently launched a capital campaign to support its Building the Dream campus expansion and renovation project.  Building the Dream includes the construction of the Health Professions Center and the Hall of Sciences at the West Burlington campus, and the Industrial Technologies Training Center at the Keokuk campus.

SCC’s President, Dr. Michael Ash, says that the College began meeting with prospective donors in October 2014 and has secured funding pledges of over 60% of the campaign goal to-date. “We’re so grateful for the support being shown.  Already a number of donors have made significant dollar commitments for the projects, and our growing group of volunteers is busy meeting with more prospects.”

Building the Dream is the largest, most comprehensive infrastructure investment undertaken by SCC since 1995, with an estimated total project cost of $27 million. It is being funded by a combination of SCC’s existing bonded levy funds and the capital campaign. Fundraising goal for Building the Dream is $12 million.

The first lead gift to the Building the Dream campaign is a $1 million pledge from the John H. Witte Foundation, which is managed by U.S. Bank in Burlington. It is the single largest pledge by the Witte Foundation since it was established back in the early 1960’s.

Terri Dowell, Vice President, U.S. Bank Private Client Group and SCC Foundation Board Chair, says that John H. Witte, Jr. was a pharmacist who owned a chain of drug stores and a paint company in Burlington. “He valued education and the sciences long before ‘STEM’ became a common term and would be thrilled today to know that his legacy is helping support science education at SCC.”

This is not the Witte Foundation’s first gift to the college. The organization’s generosity to the college began over 60 years ago with a gift of $100,000 to SCC’s predecessor institution, Burlington Junior College to refurbish of the basement of the former Saunderson Building for re-use as a library. In 1989, another $100,000 gift supported the construction of the first two residence halls on the West Burlington campus, resulting in one being named “Witte Hall.” In 1995 another $35,000 grant made it possible to furnish and equip the Witte Biology Labs in the then new Trustee Hall.  The Witte Foundation also provides regular support for SCC’s MPowerU leadership development program for local high school juniors.

“The John H. Witte Foundation has stepped forward yet again, leading the pack with a gift of $1 million,” says SCC’s Executive Director of Advancement Becky Rump. “It’s come full circle and our SCC Foundation Board is ecstatic.”

Building the Dream campaign chair Mike Shinn echoes Rump’s appreciation. “It would be hard to raise all $12 million from individual donors alone. This is the biggest gift the Witte Foundation has ever given. That alone is a powerful endorsement for the project. I think this’ll make it easier for others in the community to support the effort.”

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For information about the Building the Dream campaign, contact campaign Becky Rump at (319) 208-5065 or at

For campaign updates, project details and videos of our progress, visit

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