KOKOMO, Ind. — Indiana University Kokomo celebrated the donors whose partnership provides educational opportunities for students at the annual Chancellor’s Guild dinner.
Nearly 90 donors and friends attended the ‘50s-themed event, hosted by Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke in the Student Events and Activities Center, which transformed into “Sue’s Diner” for the evening.
Sciame-Giesecke gave a brief campus update, including her transition into the role of vice president for regional campuses and online education. In that role, she will continue to be part of the IU Kokomo community and will oversee all regional campuses.
“Student success is at the center of [President Pamela Whitten’s] heart, and that really resonates with me, because student success is at the heart of IU Kokomo,” she said.
Dr. Robert Christensen spoke on behalf of donors, recalling his struggles to work and pay for college. There were times he slept in his car and survived on one meal per day and always made sure he could pay for tuition. He graduated in 1976 with a bachelor of arts with highest distinction, and gained admission to the IU School of Medicine. He still had to work hard, but his future was secure.
Three years ago, he and his wife, Deborah, founded the Doris Alcorn Scholarship for the School of Nursing and Allied Health Professions, in honor of his mother.
“I am deeply grateful to IU Kokomo. It changed my life,” he said. “It’s too late now to thank the people who helped me 50 years ago, but I’d like to thank the people in this room, the educators, and the donors and friends of the university. You truly make a difference.”
Student Mattie Tom said she’s grateful to have received the Virgil and Elizabeth Hunt Scholarship and the Stout Family Scholarship, which made it possible for her to earn her degree in biochemistry.
While at IU Kokomo she’s served as student body president, played varsity golf, and was vice president of the Student Athletic Wellness Board, among other accomplishments.
“As a senior, now I look back on the opportunities I have been afforded and am thankful for the experiences that will help me in my career,” she said, adding that she plans to attend law school to become a patent attorney.
“All the positions, degrees, and experiences would not have been possible without donors like you all here tonight,” Tom said. “I would not have been able to be the first person in my family to graduate with a bachelor’s degree or fulfill my career aspirations. On behalf of all IU Kokomo students, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart that our dreams and goals are coming true because of you, and we are forever grateful for your generosity.”
Sciame-Giesecke introduced a new giving level society, the Remarkable Legacy Society, to recognize and thank donors who have given $75,000 or more to IU Kokomo in their lifetime.
Honorees in attendance were: Ascension St. Vincent Kokomo, represented by Margie Johnson; City of Kokomo, represented by Mayor Tyler Moore; Community First Bank of Indiana, represented by Robb Blume and Kim LaFollette; Community Foundation of Howard County, represented by Greg Aaron; Community Howard Regional Health, represented by Jennifer Hindman and George Mast; Randy and Esther Fishman, Judy and Michael Golitko, Howard County Government, represented by Paul Wyman; Susie Grayson, Philip Kintzele, Bill and Barbara Lambert, Kathleen Ligocki, NIPSCO, represented by Karen McLean; Dana Scruggs, Jeff and Lisa Smeltzer, Solidarity Community Federal Credit Union, represented by Amy Benner and Kamala Ahnert; Stu and Kim Thompson of the Thrush-Thompson Foundation; and Herbert Miller.
Thirty-three donors were honored as members of the Seiberling Society, for giving more than $5,000 during the year. Each received a set of IU wine glasses.
Seiberling Society members honored included:
First year: Bill and Sharon Bassett, Beth Brooke, Steve and Barb Conner, Grow Wabash County, Joe and Susan Hendricks, Indiana Black Expo, Shirley St. Michel, Gregory and Melinda Stanley, and Susan Szep.
Second year: David Gossman, and Robert and Angela Knowling.
Third year: Craig and Susan Smith, Smith-Fuqua Foundation.
Fourth year: Don and Gail Beaton, Robert and Deborah Christensen, Richard and Betty Lasbury, and Brian and Angela Shockney.
Fifth year: Bill and Marilyn Bersbach, Dan Giesecke and Susan Sciame-Giesecke, Daniel Grundmann and Julie Paris, and Herbert Miller.
Sixth year: Raymond and Mary Bonhomme, Community First Bank of Indiana, Rex and Kara Gingerich, Harold and Sherry King, NIPSCO, and Jack and Pam Tharp.
Seventh year: First Farmers Bank & Trust.
Eighth year: Paul Stanley Jr.
Ninth year: Philip Kintzele.
Tenth year: Judy and Michael Golitko, Jeffrey and Lisa Smeltzer, and Solidarity Community Federal Credit Union.
Eleventh year: Community Foundation of Howard County
Education is KEY at Indiana University Kokomo.