From the deep connections he’s forged as a student at the University of Iowa and working in the local community to his family’s longstanding ties to the Amana Colonies, Aaron Schaefer knows that having a strong foundation is crucial to being successful both personally and professionally. It’s one of the reasons he decided to become a member of the UI Libraries Advancement Council (LAC).
Schaefer recently completed his one-year term as chair of the LAC, which actively champions the Libraries and provides guidance and feedback to help the UI Center for Advancement’s effort to increase support through fundraising, advocacy, and engagement.
The group gathered on campus and virtually for hybrid meetings in November 2022 and April 2023. According to Schaefer, it’s been a privilege to work with members of the LAC and Libraries team members.
“My time as chair as well as my entire time on the Council has opened my eyes to the many ways the Libraries engage with students and faculty and what a vital resource it is not only to campus but also to the larger community and beyond,” says Schaefer.
And the resources provided by the Libraries are also something he experienced firsthand while earning a Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Business Administration from Iowa. Schaefer is currently serving as the senior vice president, investment officer lead, trust and wealth management at Hills Bank and Trust Company in North Liberty, Iowa—and he, his wife, Shana, and two boys, August and Orson, recently renovated and moved into his grandparents’ home in Amana, Iowa. Schaefer’s family has deep roots in the area dating back to the late 1800s, and he knows that learning from and celebrating the past and present, while looking towards the future, is an important component for success at any stage in life.
“The UI Libraries is place to connect and create with fellow students and colleagues. It’s also a place where one can learn about the untold stories of the university and the state of Iowa that are so critical to understanding who we are and where we came from and how much we have grown as a community,” says Schaefer. “I think it is important to support the Libraries because the resources it provides has the power to light a fire in a student or researcher. Our support is the tinder for that fire. We don’t want it to go out.”
Jane Roth from Leesburg, Virginia, is now serving as chair and Christie Krugler, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is vice-chair. Schaefer will continue as member of the LAC and says he’s looking forward to continuing to help the group advocate for the Libraries.
The Council’s next meeting is scheduled for November 2023. Current members include Virginia Eichacker, Las Vegas, Nevada; LeAnn Lemberger, Ottumwa, Iowa; Krugler; Roth; and Schaefer.
The Council thanks Susan Annett, Timothy Benson, Sandra Reuben, and Griffin Sweeney for their service as members of the LAC. The four have completed their terms and become emeritus members of the group, who are available to provide counsel to the group as needed.
The LAC unveiled that Inspiration and Translation—Botanical and Horticultural Lithographs of Joseph Prestele and Sons was purchased for Special Collections in honor of Schaefer’s service as chair of the LAC. It features several lithographs bound in a custom box created by University Conservator Giselle Simón.
Curator of Rare Books and Maps Eric Ensley explained to Schaefer and the LAC that Joseph and his son William Henry Prestele are renowned lithographers and some of the best-known documentarians of American plant life. Joseph immigrated to the Amanas from Germany where he set up his business. William Henry went on to do a very influential series of lithographs for the USDA in the late 19th century.
“It was an incredibly thoughtful gift,” says Schaefer. “There is very little more important to me than my connection to the Amana Colonies and to be honored with lithographs that are connected to the history of that community was amazing.”
The lithographs were purchased by the Friends of the University of Iowa Libraries.