The theme recalls the campus’ founding in 1945, and marks the end of the yearlong celebration of its 70th anniversary. A trio of students sang hits from the era, in the style of the Andrews Sisters, and Jean Cole loaned fashions of the time from the Cole Clothing Museum, to add to the atmosphere.
The gala is a fundraiser for student scholarships, and also an opportunity to thank donors for their support. Two of the students present spoke of the impact of scholarships on their educational careers.
Tyler Downhour, Galveston, received the Thomas and Kathleen Fingleton Scholarship, which provides two-thirds of the cost of tuition for a first generation college student majoring in business.
“To all the donors, we thank you,” Downhour said. “You are relieving students of a financial burden, but you’re also showing that you believe in us. That belief pushes us to work harder, all the way to graduation.”
Jan Halperin, vice chancellor for university advancement, said donor support is critical as the campus works towards its goals, and Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke’s commitment to raise the educational attainment of north central Indiana.
“Tonight, we celebrate our students, and the scholarships that make their education possible,” she said.
The highlight of the evening was presentation of Chancellor’s Medallions to Dr. Herbert C. Miller, professor emeritus of international business, and Solidarity Community Federal Credit Union.
The award is the highest honor given by the chancellor, to those who have given distinguished service, given freely of their talents to promote human welfare and community well being, and served as exemplary role models for students and alumni through their integrity, leadership, and commitment.
Miller was a pioneer at IU Kokomo, as its first African American faculty member, when he came to the Seiberling Mansion campus in 1960. He taught more than 40 years, and served in many leadership positions. He’s continued to support the campus since retiring, most recently establishing the Dr. Herbert C. and Lillian M. Miller International Travel Scholarship, which will support scholarships for students in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences to participate in campus travel opportunities.
Miller said international travel is an important part of education, and he is glad to be able to help students have those opportunities who might not otherwise.
“Over the years, I have lived, worked, traveled, studied, and taught in a number of different countries, so naturally I fully support and endorse the words of Mark Twain, who said, ‘Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness,’ “ he said.
Paige Shockley, interim CEO; Diana TenBrook, vice president for marketing; Mike Whiteman, board chairman; and Lewis Hall, vice-chairman, accepted the medallion on behalf of Solidarity Community Federal Credit Union.
“The community needs IU Kokomo,” said TenBrook, noting that the credit union often hires graduates, and have several employees earning degrees now. “We know our future leaders are right there on campus, earning their degrees.”
The credit union has supported the community since it was established in 1954 by Delco Electronics employees. It has partnered with IU Kokomo on a wide variety of projects, and was among the first supporters of the athletic program. It helped build the Cole Fitness Center, and also established a scholarship for incoming freshmen.
Recent graduate Jessica Wells, who received the Cathy Archer Memorial Scholarship, said it allowed her to work only part time, instead of full time, while completing her degree in education.
“My scholarship allowed me to give 120 percent to my student teaching, and to have a great learning experience,” the Bringhurst resident said.
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.