Bruce Rastetter Provides $1.75 Million for ISU Agricultural Entrepreneurship Program

September 12th, 2007

AMES, Iowa — Iowa entrepreneur and businessman Bruce Rastetter has made a $1.75 million commitment to the entrepreneurship program in Iowa State University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

"This wonderful gift is a significant addition to our portfolio of educational experiences to spark students' entrepreneurial spirit," said Wendy Wintersteen, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. "This commitment means a lot coming from Bruce Rastetter, one of Iowa's most successful business leaders and someone who understands the expanding role agriculture and renewable energy plays in the future of our state. He definitely is a role model in entrepreneurship for our students."

Rastetter's generosity will enable the college to establish an endowed professorship in entrepreneurship and to renovate space in Curtiss Hall to house the entrepreneurship program.

Bruce Rastetter is CEO of Hawkeye Renewables, an ethanol production company he helped found in 2003. Hawkeye Renewables is the fourth largest ethanol producer in the nation.  The company is headquartered in Ames and has ethanol plants in Iowa Falls and Fairbank, and is building additional plants in Menlo and Shell Rock that begin production in 2008.

Rastetter has been a long-time entrepreneur, having created, financed and managed several national agricultural ventures. In addition to Hawkeye Renewables, Rastetter also founded Heartland Pork, one of the largest pork producers in the nation. He grew up on a farm near Alden, Iowa, and is a graduate of the University of Iowa.

"I am proud to make this gift to Iowa State University and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences," said Rastetter. "This is an exciting time for the agriculture industry in Iowa and beyond. The number of opportunities available for agricultural entrepreneurs is expanding every day. I am hopeful this support will help many young Iowa entrepreneurs who are interested in agriculture and its future."

The College of Agriculture and Life Science's Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative was established in 2005. The program offers many educational experiences, including internships, fellowships, classroom activities and professional development programs to train and develop students and faculty in entrepreneurship. The program also supports faculty efforts to enhance entrepreneurial offerings in new curricula.

Contacts: 

Rich Bundy, ISU Foundation, (515) 294-9088, rbundy@iastate.edu
Nicholas Ryan, The Rastetter Foundation, (515) 282-3000
Ann Wilson, ISU Foundation, (515) 294-9608 awilson@foundation.iastate.edu
Brian Meyer, ISU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, (515) 294-0706, bmeyer@iastate.edu

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