DMU names longtime Des Moines family the 2016 Glanton honorees

This fall, when Des Moines University celebrates the impact that its Glanton Fund has on students and the health professions, it also will highlight the impact the Hubbell family, longtime Des Moines citizens and leaders, had on DMU’s very existence.

The Glanton Fund supports inclusivity and diversity initiatives at the University, including scholarships for minority students who are under-represented in health care. The annual Glanton Dinner is a major fundraiser for the fund and an opportunity for the University to honor individuals who have inspired and opened doors for others. This year’s dinner, presented by Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, will take place on Thursday, Oct. 6, at the Meadows Event and Conference Center in Altoona, IA.

Frederick M. Hubbell
Frederick M. Hubbell
F.C. Hubbell
Frederick C. Hubbell

In 1898, Des Moines real estate magnate Frederick M. Hubbell — founder of Equitable Life Insurance Co. of Iowa and said to be the state’s wealthiest man — supported the osteopathic practice act, which encouraged the founding of an osteopathic school in Iowa. S.S. Still College, now DMU, was founded that year. In 1909, he supported a proposal in the Iowa House of Representatives that would remove the exemption from taxation for hospitals that discriminated against any school of medicine or healing.

Members of the Hubbell family also were among the city leaders that stepped in to help the college in its rough-and-tumble early days. In 1905, Frederick C. Hubbell — son of Frederick M. — and others formed a new corporation under the name Still College of Osteopathy. Its new articles of incorporation authorized the acquisition of necessary buildings and equipment to operate the school, including its original facilities on Locust Street.

In 1909, the college, through Frederick C., purchased the Iowa Sanitarium and Hospital at 603 East Twelfth St., which was remodeled and refurnished as the 100-bed Still College Hospital and Sanitarium. The Osteopathic Physician, a Chicago-based publication, in September 1909 praised the college’s “very successful financial basis” and credited the Hubbell family for their support of the institution. “I am told that no slight suggestion of the needs of Still College has ever been made to the Hubbells that they have not been willing to contribute as largely of their personal resources as the college was willing to accept,” wrote the editor.

That became evident again in 1911, after Abraham Flexnor had issued a scathing report on medical education nationwide and Still College struggled with financial and administrative problems. Rumors circulated that it would close. Frederick C. Hubbell, then vice president of Still College, took on damage control, assuring students in a speech from the front porch of his home that the institution would remain open. It again reorganized and emerged with stronger finances and leadership in place.

“Des Moines University thanks the city of Des Moines and the Hubbell family,” says DMU President Angela Walker Franklin, Ph.D. “Its members were among the community leaders who supported our institution with critical support that helped make possible our survival, success and the stellar reputation we have today.”

About the Glanton Fund

Civil service was a way of life for Willie Stevenson Glanton, J.D., and the late Judge Luther T. Glanton Jr., J.D., a wife and husband who had a passion for helping others succeed. He was the first black district court judge in Iowa; she was an attorney, the first black female assistant county attorney and the first black individual from Polk County to serve in the Iowa Legislature.

The couple shared a fierce devotion to DMU, too. Judge Glanton joined the University’s Board of Trustees in 1979. When he passed away in 1991, Mrs. Glanton took his place on the board, became its chair in 1999 and served until 2012.

To honor their service and passion, Des Moines University created the Glanton Fund in 2004 to provide support for initiatives relating to one of DMU’s core values, inclusiveness. Since then, the fund has generated $1.4 million for those initiatives.

For information on the Glanton Fund and this year’s dinner, visit or call 515-271-1463.

About Des Moines University

Founded in 1898 in Iowa’s capital city, DMU is dedicated to improving lives in our global community by educating diverse groups of highly competent and compassionate health professionals. Its three colleges offer eight graduate degree programs in medicine and the health sciences. Full- and part-time enrollment is approximately 1,600 students.

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