A Bold Vision Made Real


That word came to mind this summer as I stood on Des Moines University’s new campus at 8025 Grand Ave. in West Des Moines.

Yes, we are still “Grand,” just like we were for more than 50 years at 3200 Grand in Des Moines, and still are, in fact, with the DMU Clinic continuing to serve patients at that location.


As I contemplate what hundreds of DMU leaders and employees, external partners, contractors, vendors and construction workers have built from the ground up on 88 acres of former farmland. More than buildings, landscaping and an extension of Grand Avenue along the campus’s southern border, we have built the medical and health sciences university of the future.

Actually, it would be more accurate to say the medical and health sciences university of today. The first cohort of students in the entering physician assistant studies class started classes here June 2, 2023, just 15 hours after the city approved occupancy of our new home.


I’m filled with awe given all we’ve accomplished since March 2019, when I first shared our plan to move with the campus community. Back then, some people said it couldn’t be done. But we found an ideal parcel of land. Some people said we couldn’t afford to build a new campus. But we focused our resources and made the numbers work, thanks in large part to successful fundraising efforts. Not even a global pandemic halted our progress.

Surreal ... but we are HERE. A dream fulfilled ... an opportunity to transform how we prepare the next generation of health professionals ... with great vigor, excitement and energy.

I am deeply grateful to all our employees, alumni and friends who helped realize our outrageous ambition. We have been bold in our vision, innovative in our plans and passionate about our “why”! DMU is transforming medical and health sciences education to build a better health care system for all.

Des Moines University President and CEO Angela L. Walker Franklin, Ph.D. poses for a photo in the Innovation building.

Top 5 Things To Know

  • 1 The new campus site was shaped thousands of years ago by the Wisconsin Glacier’s edge of advancement, and it sits in the area West Des Moines called the innovation corridor. That inspired the names of the Edge of Advancement and Innovation buildings.
  • 2 A large cafeteria, two ponds, miles of walking paths and an outdoor Council Ring are among the many features that foster interaction with the outdoors.
  • 3 A new home care lab, designed as a small apartment, allows for immersive scenarios ranging from emergency fall situations to home health patient rehabilitation.
  • 4 The Health and Wellbeing building includes the Swift Gymnasium, Doughty Family Activity Pool, meditation and game rooms and a teaching kitchen with seven cook stations.
  • 5 Supporting the new campus’s technology are 9,160 components that comprise its audio-video systems and 1.1 million feet of cable, enough to stretch from Central Iowa to Kansas City.
Jefney Ongeri, M.S.P.A.S.’25, tries on his new white coat.

Dressed and Ready for Success

Members of the physician assistant studies Class of 2025 were the first students to break in the new campus. Above, Jefney Ongeri, M.S.P.A.S.’25, tries on his new white coat.

Photo 1: Next to arrive were second-year physical therapy students including Joseph Weber, John Young, Sydney Steinkellner and Hannah Amhof.

Photo 2: PA students Nicholas Harris and Faiza Ibrahim chat before orientation begins.

Photo 3: Harris and Joseph Kacur pose in style to launch their physician assistant training.

“We Want You All to Succeed”

Wallace Boeve, Ed.D., PA-C, DFAAPA, dean of the College of Health Sciences, tells the incoming physician assistant class that DMU’s PA program doesn’t have the mindset of “look to your left, look to your right — only one of you will succeed.” “That isn’t the case at DMU,” he says. “We want you all to succeed.”

President Franklin takes a break with students in the cafeteria of the Innovation building.

PA students Grace Laudenbach and Sydney Martin enjoy a sunny stroll along the second-floor pathway that connects the Innovation and Edge of Advancement buildings.

Future’s So Bright — But So Is the Present

PA students Grace Laudenbach and Sydney Martin enjoy a sunny stroll along the second-floor pathway that connects the Innovation and Edge of Advancement buildings. Lighting throughout the campus mimics natural sunlight even in interior spaces and contributes to the campus’s healthy learning environment.

Hear President Franklin discuss DMU’s move to a new campus on the Plexuss Presidential Podcast series.

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