Facilities Connected With the Cowles Family at Drake University

Kruidenier Reading Room

Opperman Hall and Law Library, constructed in 1992, includes a soaring reading room on the north end of Opperman Hall. Made possible through a gift of $500,000 from David Kruidenier and Elizabeth Kruidenier, the Kruidenier Reading Room provides the focal point for the library.

Kruidenier Courtroom

In 1975, Cartwright Hall was constructed as the new home for law classes. An innovative part of the building was the construction of a full-sized courtroom. Funded by a $300,000 gift from the Cowles Foundation, the David Kruidenier Courtroom is named in honor of David Kruidenier, who received his undergraduate degree in 1906 and his law degree in 1909 and was a trustee of the University for 26 years.

Rosati Sculpture

When Drake built a new Fine Arts Center in 1971, Florence Cowles Kruidenier commissioned a major sculpture by New York artist James Rosati. The untitled work, made of Corten steel, and painted a bright orange, is the centerpiece of the outdoor sculpture court in the Fine Arts Center.

Scott Chapel

The Oreon E. Scott Memorial Chapel and Medbury Hall were constructed in 1955 as a home for the Divinity School. Designed by Saarines and Associates, the chapel features a four-sided dome. At the time it was built, it was the only such dome in the country.

Harvey Ingham Hall

Named for the longtime editor of the Des Moines Register and Tribune, Harvey Ingham of Science was built with a gift of $255,525 from the Cowles Foundation and an additional $24,000 from the Register and Tribune and members of the Cowles family. Ingham was recently renovated when the new Pharmacy and Science Hall was constructed in 1993.

Master Plan and Residence Halls

After World War II, Drake hired the architectural firm of Saarinen and Associates. The father-and-son team of Eliel and Eero Saarinen developed a master plan for the campus expansion and designed eight buildings on campus. Eero Saarinen went on to become one of the leading practitioners of modern architecture in the international style. The Cowles Foundation made a crucial $175,000 gift and the Register and Tribune contributed another $150,000. Those gifts, coupled with a $1 million government loan, enabled the University to begin work on the project in 1952.


In 1954, when the student dormitories and dining hall were nearing completion, the Cowles Foundation commissioned Stuart Davis, one of American’s leading artists, to paint a mural for the dining hall. The work, “Allée,” is a 33-by-8 foot abstract mural. In 1983, the Cowles Foundation funded a complete restoration of the work at a cost of $28,000. The mural was moved to Olmsted Center in order to protect the work, which was increasing in value as Davis’ stature grew. It was a key part of a major retrospective of Davis’ work held in 1991-92 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Cowles Library

Funded by a $185,000 gift from the Cowles Foundation—the largest that the foundation had made—and dedicated at commencement in 1937, Cowles Library had been Drake’s central learning resource center for nearly 60 years. A major addition to Cowles Library was built in 1967, expanding the library to three-and-a-half times its original size. Gifts from the Cowles Foundation totaled $1.3 million for the expansion. The library is now undergoing a major renovation.