KOKOMO, Ind. — Chancellor Emerita Ruth J. Person will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Indiana University during the May Commencement ceremony, the highest academic recognition the university can bestow.
During her nearly 10 years as Chancellor at IU Kokomo, Person oversaw significant campus accomplishments, including 14 new academic programs, achievement of AACSB accreditation for the School of Business, development of freshman programs, and implementation of the ACCELerated Evening College and hybrid course offering.
“Never in a million years would I have expected to receive this honor,” said Person, who served as the campus’ fourth chancellor. “It was completely unexpected. The work I accomplished as chancellor at IU Kokomo was a passion of mine that I have continued to carry throughout my career – and that is to see students succeed, graduate, and become leaders in their communities.”
Perhaps the most visible accomplishment during this time was overseeing the construction of a new 76,940 square-foot science building on campus. Person was instrumental in securing a significant gift to name the building, which is now known as Virgil and Elizabeth Hunt Hall.
Her work continued off campus as she played a key role in obtaining a $1 million federal grant that led to the development of Inventrek Technology Park. Inventrek is a community-based business incubator that has engaged a number of students, faculty, and staff in regional economic development efforts.
“The fact that Inventrek is continuing to have an impact is great for the community and the region,” she said.
Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke, who worked under Person during her tenure, said it is gratifying to see her honored in this way.
“I am pleased to be a part of honoring Chancellor Emerita Ruth Person,” Sciame-Giesecke said. “The campus flourished and the community benefitted from her leadership.”
Person earned a bachelor’s degree in history and psychology from Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania, a master’s degree in library science from the University of Michigan, a master’s degree in administration from George Washington University, and a doctoral degree in management and library and information science from the University of Michigan.
She has lent her leadership expertise to numerous institutional governing bodies, such as the president of the American Association of University Administrators and as a member of many influential boards of directors, including those of the Indiana Technology Partnership, the Old Crescent Insurance Company, the Gamma Phi Beta Foundation, the Kokomo-Howard County Public Library, the San Angelo Cultural Affairs Council, St. Joseph’s Hospital in Kokomo, and the Flint Institute of Arts.
She served on the board of Steak ‘N Shake at the invitation of Ed Kelley, and was asked to stay on by Sardar Biglari, president and CEO of Biglari Holdings.
In addition, she has received the Distinguished Hoosier Award and the Indiana University President’s Medal.
Commencement will take place at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, May 10, at the Kokomo Event Center. It can be viewed via live streaming at iuk.edu.
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.