DES MOINES, IOWA (July 17, 2023) — When Des Moines University celebrates the twentieth anniversary of its annual Glanton Event on November 2, 2023, the event's presenting sponsor will be an organization that's supported the Glanton Fund since its early years: Prairie Meadows.

In addition, Central Iowa philanthropic leaders Mary and Suku Radia will be honored at the event for their longtime support of the fund, including their most recent leadership gift. Mary Radia DO is a 1981 graduate of DMU's College of Osteopathic Medicine.

"The Glanton Fund is one way we work to change health-care for the better, by building a health-care workforce that is more representative of the populations our graduates serve," says DMU President and CEO Angela L Walker Franklin PhD. "Prairie Meadows and the Radias have demonstrated their commitment to this cause for many years. We are grateful for their vision, leadership, and generous support, and we look forward to honoring them at the Glanton Event this year."

In 2004, DMU leaders worked with Willie Stevenson Glanton, then a member of the DMU Board of Trustees, to create the Glanton Fund to generate funds for scholarships for students underrepresented in the health professions. The fund has since grown and evolved to support DMU's three-pronged approach to tackling race-related disparities by:

  • Providing scholarships to increase the number of underrepresented minorities in the health-care workforce.
  • Preparing all students to provide culturally-competent care and leadership.
  • Offering students opportunities to work directly with underserved populations.

The Meadows Event Center in Altoona has been the site of the Glanton Event since 2007 and will be again this year.

"Twenty years ago, former Des Moines University President Terry Branstad and I met to discuss how we could open opportunities and foster diversity at DMU. The result was establishing the Glanton Fund, which currently has a total endowment of over $5 million dollars and has provided over $2.9 million in scholarships," says Gary Palmer, CEO and president of Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino. "Prairie Meadows is proud to continue our partnership with DMU and to see the impact of this fund throughout our community."

DMU uses the Glanton Fund to support its mission of training future health professionals to establish positive, trusting relationships with patients, and offer services that meet their unique social, cultural, and linguistic needs.

"We strive to demonstrate our commitment to diversity in our culture, curricula, programming, and outreach," Franklin says. "Our efforts have a ripple effect beyond our campus because our graduates go on to careers in medicine, the health sciences and public health in all fifty states. They take with them the knowledge, principles, and strategies of cultural competency to care for patients of all walks of life and provide leadership in organizations and communities informed by the value of diversity."

The annual Glanton Event is a key fundraiser for the fund. Every year, hundreds of individuals and organizations support the Glanton Fund's goals by attending the event as sponsors and donors. Those interested can learn more about the fund and the event by visiting the DMU website at or by contacting Melanie Weibel, associate director of stewardship and annual giving, at 515-271-4451 or

The Glanton Fund is named in honor of the late Luther Glanton Jr and Willie Stevenson Glanton, both lawyers who dedicated their lives to professional leadership, community service, and educational opportunity. He was the first Black judge in Iowa; she was the first Black female assistant county attorney and the first Black person from Polk County to serve in the Iowa Legislature. Both served on DMU's board.

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