Lively leaves $1.3 million gift to Cornell endowment

MOUNT VERNON — A $1.3 million living trust from an Iowa native will establish a Cornell College endowed scholarship fund for students who attended high school in and around Marshall County, Iowa.

john_lively.JPGextraopps_inline.gifJohn Lively, a 1955 Cornell graduate and longtime volunteer, said he wanted to give something back to Cornell College, and to others who knew the heart of central Iowa as he did.

“The spark for my idea came from a long-time banker, Fred Gilbert, in my hometown of State Center, Iowa, who, when he died, gave a scholarship to Cornell College,” said Lively. “Like him, I wanted to leave something to my alma mater, and to the town where I grew up.”

After graduating from Cornell and leaving the Army, Lively worked for five years at KFJB radio in Marshalltown, before spending three years at WHO in Des Moines. He then spent the next 28 years in public relations working for 3M in St. Paul, Minn. and in New York City, before retiring in 1994. Currently, he lives in Edina, Minn., and Palm Springs, Calif.

“ Central Iowa will always be special to me. I worked summers there in radio while I was in college and full-time in news after that,” he said. “It was radio for what we called the ‘Heart of Iowa.’ So I decided to open up a Cornell College scholarship to the surrounding counties, to anyone who could hear KFJB radio.”

The scholarship will provide aid to students from West Marshall High School – the successor to the school from which Lively graduated – or to students from other high schools in and around Marshall County with an interest in English, business or economics.

“We are extremely grateful to John for his generous financial commitment to this campaign and his longstanding service to the Hilltop,” said Cornell College President Les Garner. “This gift will enable Cornell to make important strides toward building the College’s endowment and will benefit Cornellians for generations to come.”

John Lively’s gift is part of Cornell College’s comprehensive campaign Extraordinary Opportunities: The Campaign for Cornell College which will continue through December 2009. The campaign will enhance the Cornell experience by increasing the college’s endowment, upgrading its facilities, and enhancing the academic program.

For more information about the campaign or making a gift, visit