Noted benefactor gives $1.25M to Heidelberg drive

James F. Dicke II has been generous to Heidelberg University over the past decade; Dicke’s latest gift will show a profound impact.

Dicke has donated hundreds of pieces of artwork, an original sculpture and funds the university used to purchase the historic Octagon House adjacent to campus.

President Robert Huntington announced Dicke has given the largest single cash gift from a non-alum or non-Heidelberg family in the history of the school. The gift, totaling $1.25 million, is being designated for professional development activities for faculty and academic staff.

The donation, Huntington said, is being be used for Heidelberg’s $75 million Academic Comprehensive Campaign for Excellence. The Dicke Faculty and Staff Professional Development Fund will be established to support and strengthen Heidelberg’s faculty and academic staff. The gift will be seen immediately with his first $250,000 contribution.

Dicke also will create a permanent $1 million endowment over the next five years and provide an additional $50,000 annually over five years, Huntington said.

“Heidelberg is committed to enhancing the student and faculty experience,” Huntington said. “We are grateful that Dicke has joined us in our mission. Our faculty and their distinguished teaching and research are the lifeblood of the institution. This gift will benefit their work on behalf of our students for many years. Mr. Dicke’s significant generosity is at the center of our entire ACCE plan.”

An artist, photographer and business executive, Dicke is a graduate of Trinity University in San Antonio. He became familiar with Heidelberg through lifelong friend and Heidelberg trustee Rev. Ralph Quellhorst.

Dicke is chairman and CEO of Crown Equipment Corp., a family-owned operation in New Bremen. The company is a global leader in lift truck manufacturing.

Dicke said he was drawn to Heidelberg’s family atmosphere and an opportunity “to do something that wouldn’t happen otherwise.”

“Colleges have an understandable challenge in spreading resources in a way that enhances students’ experiences when there are always so many other priorities,” he said. “The sorts of things that have been priorities for Heidelberg were not likely to happen unless a philanthropic gift made it possible.”

Huntington said Dicke’s gift directly addresses the overarching priority set forth in the ACCE campaign.

“This gift is a show-stopper, it is off the charts,” Huntington said. “Academic staff will be able to stay on top of their game and be able to be refreshed.”

ACCE, the largest fund-raising initiative in Heidelberg’s history, is the second phase of the university’s overall strategic action plan. The first phase, completed last fall, involved the renovation and construction of five facilities on campus.

With the Dicke gift, the university has received about $40.5 million in cash, pledges and estate designations toward the $75 million ACCE goal, according to a release provided by the university. The campaign will run through June 2016.