AIB College of Business to become part of the University of Iowa, dubbed ‘University of Iowa Des Moines’

UI and AIB Press Conference
Officials on behalf of the University of Iowa and the AIB (American Institute of Business) College of Business made the announcement today at a joint press conference in Des Moines. — image via the University of Iowa’s UI Now live stream

The AIB College of Business in Des Moines will become part of the University of Iowa’s campus, officials announced today.

Both schools will immediately establish an “integration team” to begin the transition process, which is expected to take about a year. The UI will eventually own AIB’s land and buildings, and AIB students will become UI students, according to a joint statement released today by the UI and AIB.

At a joint press conference held today in Des Moines, AIB President Nancy Williams called the move “historic,” adding that today is “one of the most memorable days in the 94-year history of AIB College of Business.” Members of the Iowa Board of Regents and AIB board of trustees, as well as UI President Sally Mason, were also in attendance.

Once the UI-AIB transition is complete, the campus will be known as the “University of Iowa Des Moines.”

Williams, whose grandfather founded AIB in 1921, said the idea for the merger stemmed from a “casual conversation” she had with UI President Sally Mason this summer. She added that the merger is the “right thing to do.”

“There are new challenges today for private colleges,” she said. “And our merger with the University of Iowa is the logical next step for our future, providing an innovative opportunity to continue AIB’s tradition of offering quality educational services to our community.”

As far as when the institution’s name will change, and what new opportunities might arise from the partnership, Williams says “there is much planning to be done.”

Current AIB students will be able to continue pursuing their respective degrees, she noted.

“Whether the diploma will say AIB or University of Iowa is something that will have to be worked out,” Williams said. “But president Mason and her leadership team, and the AIB leadership team and I, are fully committed to supporting our students at every step of their educational journey.”

The school will work closely with students during the planning process, Williams said, adding that the integration will allow for “greater opportunities” by opening the door to a highly ranked public university.

“I could not be more proud than I am today,” she added.

Speaking in reference to Williams, President Mason said, “The University of Iowa is honored that you’ve chosen us for this very important role.”

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“Joining together allows you to achieve a very important goal, but it allows us to achieve an important goal also,” Mason said. “Which is to broaden our service to the people of Des Moines and the surrounding region.”

Iowa Board of Regents President Bruce Rastetter, meanwhile, strongly supports the integration.

“AIB has had a long tradition of working with the businesses in Des Moines and central Iowa and adapting to their changing needs,” said Rastetter in a prepared statement. “I’m excited that we will continue that tradition on this.”

The Des Moines-based school, founded in 1921, currently enrolls about 1,000 students and offers bachelors of science degrees in seven business-related majors. Its 20-acre campus is located on Fleur Drive, having moved from its former downtown Des Moines location in 1972.

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