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About John & Mary Pappajohn

John and Mary Pappajohn"We are inspired by the institute's collaborative, interdisciplinary, entrepreneurial and university-wide dimensions. Those who stand to gain the most from this world-class research enterprise will be generations of patients nationwide and around the world.
—John Pappajohn

The John and Mary Pappajohn Biomedical Institute and the John and Mary Pappajohn Biomedical Discovery Building are named in honor of John and Mary Pappajohn, whose philanthropy made possible both the institute and the magnificient building in which it is housed.

John Pappajohn, a highly successful Iowa venture capitalist and philanthropist, and his wife, Mary, are among the university’s most generous supporters. Their philanthropy for the University of Iowa’s academic medical center led to the naming of the Pappajohn Pavilion at UI Hospitals and Clinics and the John and Mary Pappajohn Clinical Cancer Center. Their generosity also created the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Centers at the UI and at four other Iowa colleges and universities.

The Pappajohns have provided significant philanthropic support for several other UI areas, including Hawkeye Athletics, Hancher, the Pomerantz Career Center, the UI museum of Art, and UI Libraries.

John Pappajohn immigrated to Iowa from Greece as an infant. At age 16, after his father’s death, he began managing his family’s grocery store in Mason City, Iowa. He earned a bachelor’s degree in commerce from the UI in 1952 and went on to become one of the university’s most accomplished alumni. A 1995 recipient of the Horatio Alger Award, Pappajohn was awarded an honorary doctoral degree from the UI in 2010. He is owner of Pappajohn Capital Resources, a venture capital fund, and founder and president of Equity Dynamics Inc. Mary Pappajohn received her bachelor’s degree in related art from the University of Minnesota. She has served as a trustee of the Des Moines Art Center and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. The Pappajohns also are generous supporters and proponents of the visual arts and volunteers for leading arts organizations nationwide. They have been recognized with the prestigious National Award for Philanthropy in the Arts.