Rich and Carm Greenlee


Like many couples who met at Iowa State, Rich and Carm Greenlee have great memories of their college days. They shared a group of close-knit friends, and are still in touch with many of them.

Carm, a Minnesota native, was a member of the Kappa Delta sorority and graduated in child development in 1965. Rich, a 1966 graduate in construction engineering, was a member of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity.

Rich grew up in Des Moines and came to Iowa State because "that's where you go to be an engineer." He started in the architectural engineering program, but was intrigued by Professor Tom Jellinger's teachings, which focused on construction engineering and were new to Iowa State at the time.

After jobs in Texas, Iowa and Minnesota, both realized that they "couldn't just work for someone" and their entrepreneurial sprits took over. Rich opened his own engineering consulting firm, and Carm created a business partnership as a manufacturer's representative with a fellow Iowa State alumna and friend.

Rich has since retired, but continues to consult with his most recent company, Engineering Partners, and Carm now works part-time as a buyer for a small gift shop.

The Greenlees have three children and nine grandchildren. All live nearby in the Twin Cities. Their youngest son, Greg, followed in his parents' footsteps at Iowa State, earning a degree in civil engineering. He is now a principal at his dad's company, Engineering Partners.

In 2008, the construction engineering program began planning for its 50th anniversary. Part of the celebration included a fundraising effort to create and name a laboratory in honor of Rich's old professor, Tom Jellinger. Rich wanted to honor the man who helped define his career path, and the Greenlees made a pledge to support the Tom and Ro Jellinger Laboratory in Town Hall.

After talking with representatives from the ISU Foundation, the couple "figured out a way we could do something meaningful." They decided to create the Greenlee Lectureship in Construction Engineering. They wanted to support something that would benefit students, but weren't interested in creating a scholarship. They liked the idea of an annual lecture series to bring well-known speakers to campus and to help bring prestige to Iowa State's construction engineering program.

The Greenlees decided to establish a charitable gift annuity to fund their lecture series. With this type of gift, they qualify for an income tax deduction for part of their initial investment, and also receive fixed income from the annuity for both of their lives. The proceeds from the charitable gift annuity will one day create an endowed fund for the Greenlee Lectureship, ensuring that the lecture continues for many years to come.

In addition to their annuity, Rich and Carm decided to make an annual cash gift right away, so that the lecture could get started more quickly. The first lecture will likely happen next spring, to coincide with the annual banquet in construction engineering.

Rich and Carm share a passion for Iowa State, and are eager to get things moving with their lecture. "We had a very good education at Iowa State," Carm said. "It was time for us to give back."