The Heavy Lifters

The New Campus Steering Committee Raised Dmu’s Vision

Vickie Harper-Halverson was an administrative assistant in DMU’s business and finance department when Mark Peiffer, M.B.A., CPA, senior vice president and chief financial officer, invited her to join the university’s first meeting with RDG Planning and Design to discuss the new campus on March 25, 2019.

“I thought Mark wanted me to just take notes,” she says.

Instead, she joined Peiffer; DMU President and CEO Angela L. Walker Franklin, Ph.D.; Stephanie Greiner, M.S., vice president, University Advancement; and John Harris, director of facilities management, as members of a committee that would oversee, plan and advance DMU’s vision for its new campus.

The new campus has been a labor of love for committee members. Peiffer recalls the excitement of purchasing the 88-acre site.

“We had considered other sites, most of which were flat. [DMU’s late attorney] Bill Lillis showed Dr. Franklin and me the West Des Moines property, which had much more character, with trees and a rolling landscape,” he says.

Making DMU’s vision real for the new campus was a compelling driver.

“We had so many conversations about building the health care university of the future, to be completely co-curricular and collaborative,” Greiner says. “By the time we had the groundbreaking, those concepts were already in our minds. That helped us think out of the box.”

Watching the site transition from cornfields to campus has been rewarding, committee members agree. Now a business operations analyst, Harper-Halverson says, “A milestone for me was walking through the spaces that for months had been just pencil drawings.”

From the Ground Up

Professional headshot of Des Moines University President and CEO Angela L. Walker Franklin

“DMU is transforming medical and health sciences education to build a better health care system for all.”

— Angela L. Walker Franklin, Ph.D.
President and CEO

Mark Peiffer, Senior Vice President & Chief Financial Officer at Des Moines University

“This site fulfilled our vision for building a campus into a hillside, which provides great views from our buildings.”

— Mark Peiffer, M.B.A., CPA
Senior Vice President andnd Chief Financial Officer

John Harris, Des Moines University Facilities Management

“We transplanted saplings from the other campus to symbolically pick up our roots and establish them here.”

— John Harris
Director of Facilities Management

Stephanie Greiner

“The most exciting aspect for me was selecting all the amenities of the campus and seeing them come to life.”

— Stephanie Greiner, M.S.
Vice President, University Advancement

Vickie Harper-Halverson, Des Moines University Accounting

“If I knew then what I know now, would I still want to be on the steering committee? One hundred percent!”

— Vickie Harper-Halverson
Business Operations Analyst

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