BVU honored with Iowa Lakes Corridor chairman’s award

Wednesday, November 20, 2019
Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation CEO Kiley Miller, left, joins Corridor Board Chair John Tatman, right, in presenting Buena Vista University President Joshua Merchant with the Chairman’s Award.
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Buena Vista University earned the Chairman’s Award from the Iowa Lakes Corridor Corporation in recognition of several achievements the University experienced throughout the past year.

BVU President Joshua Merchant, on behalf of the University accepted the award, which came during the organization’s Annual Business Recognition Luncheon at the Clay County Regional Events Center in Spencer on Wednesday.

In the past calendar year, BVU launched the Institute for Agriculture, Food, and Resource Management, which gave rise to academic majors in agricultural science and agricultural business. The heightened interest among students and residents across Iowa paved the way for the new Donald F. and Charlene K. Lamberti Center for Rural Entrepreneurship. Additionally, an anonymous benefactor contributed $1 million to establish the Invest in Rural Iowa Scholarship to benefit 60 Northwest Iowa students dedicated to return from BVU to make a difference in growing their communities.

BVU, in concert with the Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation, won a $175,000 grant from Google to aid in the implementation of educational programming aimed at matching current business owners with up-and-coming entrepreneurs.

After formally opening a renovated Dr. Harold Walter Siebens Forum, the result of a $15.1-million effort funded entirely by BVU benefactors, the University announced a second phase of the renovation, a $4.3-million project to reshape Ballou Library, the Center for Academic Excellence, and more.

Together, these developments, which also included a resurrection of the marching band program, helped boost freshman enrollment by 15 percent for the 2019-20 academic year and poised the University, and, by extension, Northwest Iowa, to reach even greater heights in the future.

“While we’re excited about all the growth we’ve seen at BVU in the past year, we’re eager to keep moving forward for the outstanding people who make Northwest Iowa a wonderful place to live and work,” says Merchant. “We’re humbled to receive the Chairman’s Award, and grateful in the knowledge that our achievements represent a shared success; shared wholly with our students, our staff and community members, and incredible partners like the Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation—an organization we’re thrilled to have with us as we work in tandem to keep building across Northwest Iowa.”

“Buena Vista University is rightly known as an intellectual center for Northwest Iowa, but it is also a force for economic vitality and community cohesion,” says Kiley Miller, CEO of the Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation. “With the Chairman’s Award, the Corridor celebrates both Buena Vista University’s tremendous recent successes and its very bright future.”

The Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation’s goal is to promote and aid economic growth in the four-county region including Buena Vista, Emmet, Clay, and Dickinson county. The recognition luncheon is chance for local business leaders to recognize their peers for the success they have obtained throughout the year.

“Economies are built through hard work, innovation and relentless discipline,” Miller concludes. “The Corridor’s annual business recognition awards celebrate individuals and companies in our region who exemplify those characteristics. We all benefit from their achievements.”