The Debbie and Jerry Ivy College of Business

At the Debbie and Jerry Ivy College of Business, we bring together world-class faculty, staff, programs, and facilities to deliver business education for a rapidly changing world.   

We prepare students for a future of progress — giving them the vision and skills to go out and make a difference in the world. We combine quality curriculum, internationally known faculty, and a welcoming atmosphere to create an unmatched business education, whether students are seeking degrees at the bachelor, master, or PhD level.  

For students seeking a professional master’s degree on campus, online, or a combination of both, we have a portfolio of programs to help them advance their career. Our part-time programs allow students to take advantage of online and evening classes at our downtown Des Moines location in Capital Square.  

We believe good communication is a skill that is learned with practice. To help our students develop this skill, we created the Ivy Communications Center with the intent to integrate communication instruction and practice throughout the student’s undergraduate experience both in and out of the classroom. It is a free service to support Ivy students.  

We don’t just educate our students. We help them get internships and jobs. Our Business Career Services staff, at the undergraduate and graduate levels, connect students and alumni with employers by providing programs, services, and outcome information. We continuously create partnerships to meet the needs of an evolving, global workforce. Our career coordinators are all located in the Gerdin Business Building, making it convenient for students to get the support they need.  

We also offer more than $1.25 million annually in student scholarships. As you can see, we go the extra mile to support our students.

We continuously evaluate our programs, innovate, and add new opportunities that fit current market demand and anticipate future business needs. Examples include the launch of an undergraduate degree in entrepreneurship, the first at a public university in Iowa, and PhD in entrepreneurship — only the eighth program in the nation. We also added undergraduate majors in actuarial science, business analytics, and minors in business analytics and business technology consulting. We also launched a professional sales certificate that is available to any Iowa State University student.   

We are a college on the move. 

We help our students explore the world of business in meaningful ways, both inside and outside of the classroom, including internships, classroom projects, and hands-on experiences. Our students have multiple opportunities to meet and learn from top leaders in business. Many choose to study abroad and expand their global understanding of business. 

At the Ivy College of Business, we are committed to offering a high-quality education in a way that prepares students for their real-world experiences. Our students explore their passion, identify their purpose, and pursue meaningful careers to impact the world of business around them. 

Debbie and Jerry Ivy

On September 11, 2017, Debbie 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 Ivys 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 Ivy and son, Ed, are also active members of the executive team. The Ivys 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. 

Our Facilities

At the Ivy College of Business, you’ll get an outstanding education in our state-of-the-art facility. The college is housed in the Gerdin Business Building on central campus, which was just expanded to make more room for business students.  

Gerdin Business Building

A much-needed expansion to the Gerdin Business Building opened in fall 2020. The 45,000-square-foot addition started in February 2019 and concluded in November 2020. Classes were first held in the new space beginning in January 2021. 

The $28 million, four-story addition was designed with students in mind. It includes 40 percent more space, seven team rooms, a central common area available as a student study space, a state-of-the-art sales suite, 35 faculty office spaces, and five additional classrooms. 

Since opening, the team rooms have been the most popular places for students. Check them out!  

The expansion was made possible thanks to a $7 million commitment from the Gerdin Charitable Foundation, as well as other generous donors. BNIM of Des Moines and Story Construction of Ames were the design-build team for the addition, which was constructed on the east side of the Gerdin Business Building, facing Wallace Road. 

In addition to the Gerdin Business Building, business students also have access to these learning spaces:  

Iowa State University Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship

Located in Iowa State University’s Research Park, the Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship serves as a bridge among the university’s entrepreneurship courses, real-world experience learning opportunities, and venture creation resources. The primary mission is to support and to develop entrepreneurs in Iowa. Here, you will find programs and services that broadly reach and connect students, community entrepreneurs, business professionals, and alumni. The two primary goals for the center are: 

  • to create a culture that encourages entrepreneurship and innovation 
  • to provide the tools necessary for building and improving Iowa’s businesses 

This is the place to get involved in one of many programs, such as: CyBIZ Lab, Women Who Create, Entrepreneurship Club, CYstarters, and more! The Pappajohn Center is a modern, collaborative space that is perfect for team work and learning how to start something. You can easily access the center with a short trip on CyRide.

Student Innovation Center  

Come create your identity. Chase new ideas. Take risks. Innovate.  

From the moment you enter the Student Innovation Center on central campus, you’ll be surrounded by students, faculty, and staff from all corners of campus who are creating, designing, fabricating, testing, and demonstrating new ideas. Classrooms, student organization spaces, and co-working suites are intermingled with fabrication labs and design studios. There’s something for everyone, whether you’re looking to study, network, collaborate, build, or grab a hot coffee at the end of the day 

Ivy College of Business students definitely have a place here, too. Check out the HNI CyBIZ Lab and Entrepreneurial Suite on the third floor! It’s a 5-minute walk from the Gerdin Business Building.

photo by Lilly Wyatt

Our History

Business education has been taught at Iowa State University since the early 1920s, well before the College of Business was officially established in 1984. The first courses were held in the Department of Economics, back when Iowa State was called Iowa State College and students paid a nickel to ride the train to get from town to campus. 

Times have changed!  

Throughout the decades, the business department continued to grow and adapt to meet the needs of our students, building our foundations on the commitment to educate the best business leaders and entrepreneurs of tomorrow. Accredited by The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) since 1991, the College of Business has a history of high-quality education through excellence in research, innovation in teaching, and diversity that broadens perspectives. 

Throughout the years, we have grown from a school, to a college, to a named college. No matter what year our business students graduated, they are all part of the Ivy family.  

Today, we serve more Iowa high school graduates than any other 4-year business program in the country. After more than 100 years of business education, the future of business has never been brighter at Iowa State. 

Key Dates in Our History