It was announced in March that Iowa's first co-educational institution, not to mention the oldest of its kind west of the Mississippi, was closing its doors after a storied 181-year history.

Iowa Wesleyan University's Board of Trustees unanimously voted to close the university following the academic year, per a release from the college itself. The difficult decision came as a result of a flurry of obstacles the Mount Pleasant university simply couldn't overcome: financial/inflationary challenges; increased operating costs; changing enrollment trends; and a drop in philanthropic giving.

This week, hundreds of items from Iowa Wesleyan University were posted on Backes Auctioneering's website. There's over 1,200 items up for auction, and the entire sale is divided over the course of five days. Here are just some of the items available on which to bid:

  • 1 All to go - Cups, paper plates, candle center pieces, & more
  • 2 All to go - Wicker baskets, paper cups, salt & pepper shakers
  • 3 All to go - Assorted metal wire display racks
  • 4 40" metal floral display rack
  • 5 All to go - Glasses, votives, tubs, & more
  • 6 All to go - Wicker display baskets & wood displays
  • 7 All to go - Wire baskets, tub, & more
  • 8 All to go - Assorted beverage dispensers under table
  • 9 Pair to go - 3 quart bleach & 3/4 Ecolab Oasis 313
  • 10 All to go - 38) 8" wicker baskets
  • 630 All to go - 3 banquet tables in as is condition
  • 631 Iowa Wesleyan "Wesley" tiger graduation mascot
  • 632 Iowa Wesleyan "Wesley" tiger mascot
  • 633 Iowa Wesleyan Tigers mega phone
  • 634 Iowa Wesleyan Tigers mega phone
  • 635 All to go - cheer mini poms
  • 636 ALT Spot portable spot light with 7 lens capability - buying in as is condition - no power to building
  • 637 Louisville 6' fiberglass painters ladder
  • 920 All to go - Player locker systems - 16 lockers - each locker is 24" wide - this is set up in a "L" shape - buyer to remove
  • 921 Single set of 60" wide lockers with 8 doors - buyer to remove
  • 922 3' x 8' Iowa Wesleyan banner
  • 923 Stereo receiver and speakers - untested
  • 924 4' x 8' wall mount marking board - buyer to remove
  • 925 All to go - Player lockers - 11 lockers - each locker is 24" wide - buyer to remove
  • 926 Times 3 sections - 48" and 60" wide lockers - 6 door - 6 door - 8 door - buyer to remove
  • 927 4' x 8' wall mount marking board - buyer to remove
  • 928 Times 2 - floor rugs
  • 929 Times 2 - floor rugs
  • 930 76" x 106" complete locker system - buyer to remove
Photo Credit: Backes Auction
Photo Credit: Backes Auction

Per KCRG, Rod Backes, the Vice President of Backes Auctioneering, said that the Iowa Wesleyan auction was one of the largest ones they've ever conducted. A quick scroll of the inventory shows everything from weights to cheerleader gear, lockers, desks, cabinets, tools, podiums, dry erase boards, kitchen equipment, sports equipment, hand carts, dozens of cases of hand sanitizer, and even floor rugs.

The death-nail for Iowa Wesleyan was presumed to also be due to the rejection of a proposal for federal COVID funding by Governor Kim Reynolds, which was also noted in the school's release:

This decision follows an intensive analysis of Iowa Wesleyan’s financial operations and considerable exploration of all feasible strategic alternatives. The vote to close comes as the university has been experiencing unprecedented enrollment growth, improvements in student retention, and success with efforts to address economic and workforce development challenges throughout Southeast Iowa, including the formation of a unique partnership with Southeastern Community College. While the university’s overall enrollment has increased post-pandemic, it is still not yet at a threshold needed for financial stability.

Photo Credit: Backes Auctioneering
Photo Credit: Backes Auctioneering

Those looking to purchase items can view all listed items on Iowa Wesleyan University's campus in Mount Pleasant, or on Backes Auctioneering's website.

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