an all star evening

The Robert D. and Billie Ray Center at Drake University will honor Bill Knapp, a distinguished Iowan with a deep commitment to improving our state, with the Robert D. and Billie Ray Pillar of Character Award.

An All-Star Evening is presented by Hy-Vee and will begin at 6 p.m. Friday, April 22, at the Ron Pearson Center in West Des Moines. The event is a fundraiser for The Ray Center, the global home of CHARACTER COUNTS!

Bill Knapp was raised on a farm in southern Iowa where he learned the value of hard work and honesty. Being born just three years before the start of the Great Depression, he also learned to make do with limited resources and make the most out of every opportunity. What he never learned was the ability to say “no” when asked to help those in need.

Bill’s tenacity, work ethic, and generosity have served him well throughout his life, a life that has seen him become one of the great entrepreneurs but also one of the most respected philanthropists in the state. His legacy continues to shape the face of Iowa.

“Bill exemplifies all that the Pillar of Character Award stands for: civility, character, and leadership,” said President of Drake University Marty Martin. “From humble beginnings on the farm to serving his country and ultimately his success in the boardroom, Bill has lived a life of impact. He has devoted his all to bettering his community and is a true servant-leader.”

“The Ray Award was created to honor Iowans like Bill Knapp,” said Marta Codina, chair of The Ray Center’s National Advisory Council. “Not only did Bill share a friendship with the Ray, the legacies of these two leaders will impact Iowans for generations to come.”

Bill Knapp

An All-Star Evening is set to begin at 6 p.m. with the following schedule:

  • 6 p.m., An All-Star Reception, presented by Prairie Meadows
  • 6:30 p.m., general reception and silent auction
  • 7 p.m., dinner and live auction

The benefit is chaired by Mike and Ellyn Knapp and Ray and Susan Cole. All of the funds raised at An All-Star Evening will support the character and leadership development projects of the Ray Center.