News & Views‌

Hoins' give thanks by helping future students

10 months ago
UNIBusiness Editor
Chris and Dawn Hoins, Northern Iowa donors

Scholarships didn’t really interest Chris Hoins (Accounting ‘95) when he arrived at UNIBusiness in the late 1980s. He and his Waverly high school sweetheart, Dawn, were planning to marry partially in an effort to receive more financial aid. They were self-sufficient and wanted to be treated as independents on their government applications.

Chris searched scholarship listings during those early college years, but nothing popped out — much to his detriment, he admits today.

“I’d look at my u-bill, and for whatever reason, $1,000 or $2,000 just didn’t mean much to me,” Chris said.

But after Chris and Dawn had their first child together, Chris was forced to put school to the side. He worked a full-time job while taking a class or two. By 1994, Chris had transitioned back to full-time schooling, and Dawn was working to support the family.

This time around, scholarships were much more appealing. Chris received a $500 scholarship from the Philip and Signe Jennings family, which helped carry the family financially to the finish line. Seven years after starting college — seven years of “scraping the bottom of the barrel,” as Chris puts it — he finally graduated with a degree in accounting and accepted a job at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Minneapolis. Dawn started her student teaching experience in 1995 as well. “It was like all that hard work paid off,” said Chris, who is the vice president of finance at Perforce, a software company in the Twin Cities.

Because of the assistance they received, Chris and Dawn wanted to give back to other students as soon as they were able. Less than 10 years after graduation, Chris and Dawn set up a scholarship with UNIBusiness to help students like Chris — accounting majors who need extra assistance to complete their schooling.

“I want to help students who need help, just like we did,” Chris said. “Every year I get to do that. It’s exciting to be a part of the accounting program and its success, and it means a lot to me to give back.”

Joe Schmidt (Accounting ‘19) received the Chris and Dawn Hoins Scholarship this past school year — his senior year — and it helped cover his entire tuition bill.

“It was the best feeling I’ve ever had,” Schmidt said. “I was absolutely elated.”

Schmidt, who is from Emmetsburg, Iowa, moved to Idaho with his wife over the summer and will start working with Presnell Gage, a local accounting firm. He credits UNIBusiness’ tuition assistance with helping him focus on his studies without financial burdens, eventually leading to his success.

Chris and Dawn are energized every time they hear from students like Schmidt. It brings them back to their college days — working hard to get by, grateful for any assistance they received.

“It’s super rewarding to know there’s a scholarship with our names on it,” Chris said. “It’s helping someone who really does need the help.”


UNI Business

UNIBusiness Editor

UNIBusiness uses a team of writers to conceptualize, develop and share stories and updates with the public. If you have a story idea, an update on an alum or just want to say 'Hi', please email