St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands
While Martha Robes earned her bachelor’s degree from DePauw University and her Master of Education from Antioch New England University, she undeniably bleeds cardinal and gold.
Robes and her husband, Dana ’67, have generously invested in Iowa State University over the years with gifts of time and treasure – including scholarships, faculty and programmatic support for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Since 2008, more than 1,100 scholarships have been awarded from the Fred Foreman Scholarship for Growth in Leadership Participation, the Dean’s Study Abroad Scholarship and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Dean’s Leadership Scholars, all of which are funded by the couple. Furthermore, they have created an endowed professorship in the department of animal science and a marketing and recruitment director position in the college.
Martha and Dana frequently travel back to Iowa State to participate in college events; while on campus, they try to meet with all 130 of their annual scholarship recipients. Robes is an active mentor to the students and an enthusiastic advocate of Iowa State University – frequently hailed by her as the “Harvard of Agriculture.”
The Robeses spend nine months of each year living in St. John, Virgin Islands and have a second home in Round Pond, Maine, but the distance from Ames does not deter Martha from serving as a dedicated ambassador for Iowa State. Martha and Dana worked to bring expertise from Iowa State’s department of horticulture to the students at Gifft Hill School, a coeducational day-school serving St. John. Through the Robeses’ generosity, the Education and Resiliency through Horticulture program – otherwise known as EARTH – was created, teaching students about growing crops in a sustainable fashion and the ways in which horticulture can enhance and improve their daily lives. More than 30 ISU interns, both undergraduate and graduate, have worked with the EARTH program. Additionally, Martha has taken a special interest in Iowa State students who come to St. John for internships, providing both educational and cultural experiences to help mainland students acclimate. The Robeses currently sponsor Gifft Hill School graduate Viniqua David, who is now a freshman at ISU.
Robes has been a member of the boards of Kimball Union Academy, Dartmouth Medical Center, Dow Jones and the DePauw University Board of Trustees. She and Dana are members of the Order of the Knoll William M. Beardshear Society and Campanile Society, and are life members of the ISU Alumni Association.
The Iowa State University Alumni Association is an independent 501(c)3, self-governing organization charged with the mission of engaging the talents and resources of alumni, students, and friends in the life, work, and aspiration of Iowa State University. Our vision is to become the lifetime partner in engaging all alumni, students, and friends with Iowa State University.