Thursday, February 13, 2020

Kirk and Mary Ferentz to receive character award from Drake University's Ray Center

Sarah Kay LeBlanc, The Des Moines Register | Published 4:35 p.m. CT Feb. 12, 2020 | Updated 4:37 p.m. CT Feb. 12, 2020

Two well-known Iowans have been named recipients of the Robert D. Ray Pillar of Character Award. 
Kirk and Mary Ferentz will receive the honor April 17 in West Des Moines. Kirk has been the University of Iowa's head football coach for 21 years, and Mary is the co-founder of the Iowa Ladies' Football Academy, which donates funds to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital. 

Kirk and Mary Ferentz at their home in Iowa City on Sunday, Jun 30, 2019. Kirk and Mary are the recipients of the Robert D. Ray Character Award. (Photo: Stephen Mally)
The award is presented annually by the Robert D. and Billie Ray Center at Drake University to a person or people who reflect former Gov. Ray's commitment to character development, according to a news release from the university. The award was first given in 2003 to the governor.
“Mary and Kirk Ferentz are exemplars of the values that underlie the Robert D. Ray Pillar of Character Award,” said Drake University President Marty Martin in a statement. “Their philanthropic leadership, commitment to service, and dedication to the character development of youth — on and beyond the playing field — has had a profound impact on countless lives. Mary and Kirk demonstrate what it means to put exemplary character into action every day.”
Previous recipients include Shawn Johnson, Ashton Kutcher, Hayden Fry and Dan Gable.
Tickets for the event, presented by Hy-Vee, range from $125 for young professionals under 35, $250 for an individual ticket, and between $2,000 and $6,000 for a table of eight.
Sarah LeBlanc covers trending news for the Register. Reach her at 515-284-8161 or

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