Gift for ISU's Curtiss Hall renovation will name auditorium


The renovated auditorium in Curtiss Hall will be named for a retired Linn County farmer whose $2 million gift supported the project. Larger image. Photo by Robert Elbert.

AMES, Iowa — A $2 million gift commitment from a retired Linn County farmer will support the renovation of Curtiss Hall at Iowa State University.

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences will recognize the philanthropy of Leonard Dolezal of Cedar Rapids by naming the building’s auditorium in honor of him and his late wife, Evelyn.

“From this year forward, the Leonard and Evelyn Dolezal Auditorium in Curtiss Hall will be a touchstone in the education of tens of thousands of future students,” said Wendy Wintersteen, endowed dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “We are indebted to Leonard Dolezal for helping to ensure that we are well-equipped to serve students, enrich their education and make their experience on campus one they’ll remember their whole lives. This gift will be part of the Dolezals’ legacy of generosity and commitment to education.”

In addition to naming the space, a plaque will be installed in the auditorium honoring the late Evelyn Dolezal, with a welcome and words of counsel from the Dolezals for future generations of students.

Dolezal’s gift is part of $9 million raised privately for the $14.4 million renovation of the 104-year-old Curtiss Hall. Early phases of the work began in 2007, with the past two years bringing the most dramatic changes, including a new student services wing. This summer, construction continues on a student commons on the east side of the building.

Named for Charles Curtiss, Iowa State’s dean of agriculture from 1902 to 1932, Curtiss Hall is one of the most recognized and distinctive landmarks on Iowa State's central campus. Each semester, thousands of students stream into Curtiss Hall to attend classes, get advice from mentors, sign up for international trips and get prepared for job interviews. The building houses administrative staff for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station and Extension to Agriculture and Natural Resources, plus several other departments, centers and programs.

Dolezal provided support that in 2003 established an endowed faculty position, the Leonard Dolezal Professor in Agricultural Law, in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.