Save the date: DMU’s Glanton Dinner, Oct. 16

Des Moines University established the Glanton Fund to address two important needs in health care: to diversify its workforce by generating scholarships for minority students, who are under-represented in the field, and to enhance all students’ cultural competency through multicultural programs.

The Glanton Dinner, the annual fundraising event for the fund, will mark its 16th anniversary this year on Oct. 16. This year’s presenting sponsor is Bankers Trust, Iowa’s largest privately owned bank, headquartered in Des Moines.

“Inclusion and commitment to the communities we serve have been among our core values since we were founded in 1917. We also know our outstanding and diverse employees who are dedicated to customer service set us apart,” says Don Coffin, the company’s president and CEO. “Those qualities align well with DMU and the Glanton Fund, which benefit our increasingly diverse society and seek to build highly skilled health care teams committed to compassionate patient care. We’re proud to invest in those goals as this year’s presenting sponsor.”

In addition to promoting cultural competency among tomorrow’s health care professionals, the Glanton Dinner also allows the University to honor individuals who have promoted opportunity and inclusion in the community. This year’s Glanton honoree is Shahbaz Ahmed Merchant, chairman and CEO of Merchant Investment Trust, which operates Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches and Java Lava Coffee Inc.

S. Ahmed Merchant, 2019 Glanton Honoree
Shahbaz Ahmed Merchant

A Glanton Fund contributor for many years, Merchant has long demonstrated his commitment to opening doors for others through education. Currently he is a member of the Des Moines University Board of Trustees and the Des Moines Area Community College Board Foundation. He also has served as president of the board of directors of the Miami-Dade Community College Alumni Foundation; as a member of the board of William Rainey Harper College Foundation in Chicago; and as a member of an advisory council of Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa.

“I want to help underprivileged and minority people to get an education that will help them be active members of the community,” he says.

A business graduate of Barry University in Miami, FL, Merchant has received the National Business Council Leadership Award from Congress and the Passport to Prosperity Award from the Iowa International Center.

The Glanton Fund is named in honor of the late Willie Stevenson Glanton and Luther T. Glanton Jr., both lawyers and civic leaders in central Iowa. It also is part of Purple & Proud: the Campaign for Des Moines University, a $25 million fundraising effort the University publicly announced in December 2018. It is set to conclude in December 2020.

For more information on the Glanton Fund and the 2019 Glanton Dinner, visit its website, call 515-271-1387 or email

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