Meet the Ivys
Debbie and Jerry Ivy
On September 11, 2017, Debbie (’19 honorary alumna) and Jerry Ivy (‘53 industrial administration) announced their historic $50 million gift, which named the Ivy College of Business. It was the largest gift in the history of the college and paved the path for ours to be the first named college at Iowa State University.
This isn’t the couple’s first donation to the school. They also funded the Debbie and Jerry Ivy Chair in Business.
The Ivy’s commitment is a powerful endorsement of the college, our programs, leadership over the years, and vision for the future. Their gift will establish an endowed fund that will eventually provide almost $2 million annually to the college for short and long-term priorities. Most immediately, it builds on momentum in several growing areas at the college, including entrepreneurship, business analytics, and supply chain management. The Ivy gift provides scholarships, faculty support, and programmatic funding for those and other areas.
It’s only fitting that we are named after such successful entrepreneurs. Anyone who knows Jerry knows he was an entrepreneur before that became a buzz word.
After an Iowa State experience he called “totally wonderful, academically and socially” and time served in the Navy, Jerry purchased an Auto-Chlor franchise. He learned the business from the ground up. He hired Debbie, the first woman in the company, and they soon became partners in life and in business. Together, they grew their business knowledge, purchased additional Auto-Chlor franchises, and eventually purchased the entire Auto-Chlor business.
Today, Jerry is president and chief executive officer of Auto-Chlor System in Mountain View, California, where Debbie and son, Ed, are also active members of the executive team. Debbie, Jerry, and their team have successfully grown Auto-Chlor into a national brand with more than 75,000 customers nationwide. The company provides cleaning solutions to the foodservice, healthcare, and lodging industries.