Des Moines University will honor the achievements and impact of longtime central Iowa developer, entrepreneur and philanthropist William “Bill” C. Knapp at the University’s 11th annual Glanton Minority Scholarship Dinner on Thursday, Oct. 9, at the Meadows Events and Conference Center, Prairie Meadows, Altoona.
The dinner raises funds for scholarships for minority students — under-represented in health care — at Iowa’s largest medical and health sciences university. The annual event, attended by hundreds of corporate and civic leaders from central Iowa and beyond, also celebrates a select individual who has been a leader in creating opportunities for all individuals. Prairie Meadows has been a longtime sponsor of the Glanton Dinner.
Raised on an Iowa farm during the Great Depression, Knapp served in the Navy and worked in manufacturing and the restaurant business before finding his true calling in real estate. He founded Iowa Realty in 1952 and built it into the state’s largest real estate company. He later formed Knapp Properties and is now its chairman emeritus.
Knapp has been a key player in transforming central Iowa with innovative projects ranging from the downtown Des Moines skywalk system to rejuvenation of the neighborhood around Drake University. He has given generously to many organizations, including Drake, Homes of Oakridge Community Center, the Iowa State Fair, Bethel Mission, Tiny Tots Day Care Center and the YWCA.
An Iowa Business Hall of Fame inductee named the “most powerful man” in the city by The Des Moines Register in 1990, Knapp has received numerous awards for his business achievements, philanthropy, service and commitment to the community. In 2011 he became only the 21st person to receive the Iowa Award, the state’s highest citizen honor.
The Glanton Minority Scholarship Fund was created in 2004 in honor of Willie Stevenson Glanton, J.D., and the late Judge Luther T. Glanton Jr., J.D., civic leaders and longtime members of the DMU Board of Trustees. He was the first black judge in Iowa; she was the first black female assistant county attorney and the first black person from Polk County to serve in the Iowa Legislature. Judge Glanton joined the DMU Board of Trustees in 1979. When he died in 1991, Mrs. Glanton took his place on the board and became its chair in 1999. She retired from the board in 2013.
Individuals and organizations may attend and sponsor the Glanton Dinner, which includes a reception at 5:30 p.m. and dinner at 6:30 p.m. All proceeds support the Glanton Minority Scholarship Fund. For more information, call 515-271-1387 or visit www.dmu.edu/glanton.