Donor Stories

John Butler Story

John E. Butler, a 1961 UW-River Falls graduate, knows paying for college can strain a student's budget. Butler is one of seven children raised by parents with only grade school educations. By himself, he could not have afforded to attend a major state university, but UWRF's affordability made it possible for him to earn a degree. 

"UWRF gave me a start for a successful career at a price I could afford," Butler said.

Although he worked his way through college, Butler knows it's not always possible for today's students to do the same. He feels strongly that someone has to help.

In 2012, he endowed the J.E. Butler Molecular Biology Scholarship with a very generous initial contribution. The scholarship covers half the cost of in-state tuition plus research and conference expenses for a biology major interested in eukaryotic research. 

"I wanted to see others who came from my background have the same opportunity," Butler said. "I took advantage of the federal policy of rolling-over my IRA required minimum distribution to a charitable organization without the penalty of income tax." 

UWRF is also scheduled to receive additional funding from tax-free annuities and from the sale of his home upon his death — a great boon to scholarship funds.

Butler hopes his contributions will stimulate others to endow other scholarships, or simply to contribute to scholarship programs.

Butler received his Ph.D. from Kansas University and is an international leader in research on the antibodies and antibody genes of cattle and swine, mucosal immunology and solid phase immunoassay. A recipient of a two distinguished veterinary immunologist awards, he has published more than 40 articles; 29 of them between 2011 and 2013. Butler lives in Iowa City, Iowa, where he recently retired as a professor of immunology and microbiology at the Carver College of Medicine at the University of Iowa.

John Butler
John Butler, '61

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