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Former Chancellor donates $3.5 million to IU Kokomo

April 25, 2016
KOKOMO, Ind. — Chancellor Emerita Ruth J. Person has committed to giving Indiana University Kokomo a bequest of $3.5 million for student scholarships – the largest gift ever to this campus.

Person, who served as the fourth chancellor from 1999 to 2008, has named the fund the RMJ Scholars Program – honoring three women who believed strongly in the value of education. These women are Florence Richardson McGee, Ruth Person’s godmother; Ruth Mahoney Janssen, her mother; and Ruth Janssen Person. The goal is to promote student success and four-year graduation of the recipients.

In addition, the gift is part of For All: The Indiana University Bicentennial Campaign, and the income is eligible to be matched by IU, once the gift is realized.

“My ultimate goal is for the students to have success – to complete their IU degree and graduate,” Chancellor Emerita Person said. “After graduation, it is my hope that many of them would stay in north central Indiana and contribute to leadership in the future.”

Person gave particular thought to providing resources for students to ensure their collegiate success. This includes a portion of the gift earmarked for administrative costs to provide the support to these cohorts of students to help them realize their dreams of earning a college degree.

“This campus is extremely grateful to Chancellor Person for her generous donation,” said Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke. “Her scholarship will impact a significant group of students each year. She will provide access and opportunity to so many north central Indiana students. As we work hard to raise the college completion rate in our region, scholarships will be a key to our success.”

Person’s distinguished and multifaceted career in higher education abounds with impressive accomplishments. During her tenure here, she led the campus during a period of substantial growth. Several new bachelor’s and master’s programs were added, and 14 new academic curricula were developed.

Also, Person helped secure a $1 million federal grant to renovate the now Inventrek building for use as a business incubator. It has successfully launched many thriving businesses in the last decade, and recently opened the region’s first the co-worker space.

In addition to the IU Kokomo campus, she was the seventh chancellor of the Flint campus of the University of Michigan, from 2008-2014.

“It’s more about setting an example. This is not about ‘Look at me,’” Person said.
“Working for Indiana University was a great experience. One of the great things about IU is that they make you feel like you are part of the IU family. I have always been treated that way, even since I left. I think that’s something that’s really special.”

This gift counts toward the $2.5 billion campaign, For All: The Indiana University Bicentennial Campaign.”

For All: The Indiana University Bicentennial Campaign is taking place on all IU-administered campuses including IU Bloomington, Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis, IU East, IU Kokomo, IU Northwest, IU South Bend, and IU Southeast. The campaign will conclude in December 2019 to coincide with IU’s bicentennial year celebration in 2020. To learn more about the campaign, its impact, and how to participate, please visit forall.iu.edu.

Founded in 1936, the Indiana University Foundation maximizes private support for Indiana University by fostering lifelong relationships with key stakeholders and providing advancement leadership and fundraising services for campuses and units across the university. Today, the IU Foundation oversees one of the largest public university endowments in the country, with a market value of approximately $1.9 billion. In fiscal year 2015, IU received $359.3 million in support from the private sector. IU is consistently ranked among the top four of Big Ten universities in annual voluntary support.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

Last updated: 04/26/2016