KOKOMO, Ind. — Donna Walden thinks teachers are "pretty special people."
That's why, when she decided to endow a scholarship at Indiana University Kokomo, she designated it for a future educator.
Walden, 72, together with her husband Dan, established the Integrity Scholarship, which will be given to a junior in the School of Education each year.
"I like the idea of giving a scholarship to a student who has studied a few years, and now is definitely earning a degree in education," she said.
Donna Walden was part of the IU Kokomo School of Education's first graduating class, in 1970. She started her degree on the Bloomington campus, then married Dan and returned home to Russiaville. She appreciates the opportunity to finish her degree close to home.
"When I first started, the campus was still on West Sycamore Street, in the Seiberling Mansion," she said. "Then we moved to the current campus, with just one building. I think we inaugurated it pretty well, with that first class from the School of Education."
Donna taught in the Western School Corp. in Howard County for 20 years, and then was an administrator for 13 years, serving as Western's first curriculum director, and then as its first assistant superintendent, before retiring. She continues to teach at her church.
Donna Walden received IU Kokomo's Distinguished Alumni Award in 2004, and is a member of the Alumni Hall of Fame.
The couple named the scholarship to reflect their concern that education be about more than just what is in the textbook — that students also learn how to invest their own energies in learning how to listen to and evaluate the ideas of others, and how to develop and incorporate their own values into their education.
"Integrity represents what I believe is so important in education," she said. "A teacher should model integrity, and pass it on to the students, so they can learn to be honest and true to what they believe, and always demonstrate that to other people."
If you are interested in creating a scholarship in your name, or in honor of or in memory of someone, please contact Vice Chancellor for University Advancement Jan Halperin at 765-455-9415.
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.