Ball State University is celebrating the success of the Ball State Bold capital campaign with 55 incoming Honors College students. Known collectively as Bold Celebration Scholars, they were presented with $2.2 million in four-year scholarships during a March 17 Statehouse ceremony with Gov. Mitch Daniels, House Speaker Brian Bosma, Senate President Pro Tempore David Long and university President Jo Ann M. Gora.
Burberry CEO, Ball State alumna and benefactor Angela Ahrendts — who only the previous evening presented as part of the David Letterman Distinguished Professional Lecture and Workshop Series on campus — also spoke at the capitol event on behalf of the more than 61,000 donors to Ball State Bold.
The outstanding students introduced at the ceremony and their fellow Bold Celebration Scholars are among the early beneficiaries of the university's latest and largest fundraising effort, which already has surpassed its $200 million goal. Each Bold Celebration Scholarship provides a total of $40,000 or $10,000 annually for four years at Ball State. With generous gifts from alumni and friends, the university more than doubled its original goal of 25 scholarship awards.
Most recipients are Indiana residents but a number hail from neighboring states in the Midwest. Several will travel to campus from as far away as Arizona and Maryland. Already counting five National Merit Scholarship winners in their company, they plan majors ranging from anthropology, business and pre-medicine to physics, theater education and visual communication.
"Chief among our strategic goals is admitting more high-achieving students who are prepared to take best advantage of the opportunities that immersive learning offers. It's a rigorous experience where bright and curious minds thrive," Gora said. "Our renewed commitment today can be measured in dollars and that sum is significant. But it pales in comparison to the potential it stands to unleash.
"Ball State students already are marketing simulated skin to help surgical interns learn suturing techniques and using GIS technology to help local government and nonprofit groups plan better delivery of services. They are solving real-world problems. It's beyond exciting to imagine what some of these new students, with the generous support of our many donors, may have in store for Indiana and the world."
Next generation of talent
Ahrendts, '81, led creation of a $1 million emerging media scholarship fund at her alma mater "to cultivate the next generation of talent in disciplines that are at the heart of digital media, marketing and merchandising." The fund benefits the Bold Celebration Scholars and Burberry Emerging Media Scholars programs.
Four of the new awards are designated specifically as Burberry Bold Celebration scholarships. In addition, one award is a Bold Celebration Emens Scholarship, and one is a Center for Leadership Development (CLD) scholarship.
"It's a big complex world, a global world, and a new language is emerging. You speak this digital language — which will have enormous social and economic impact," Ahrendts told the excited high school seniors. "This language and the education that awaits you will help all of us thrive in this new world. That's why I'm so pleased that we are involved in supporting these bold educational opportunities. "
Parents of many of the students mixed with benefactors, other university leaders and state dignitaries at the announcement that took place amid the bustle of the Indiana General Assembly's ongoing legislative session. Onlookers crowded the historic building's balconies to observe the joyous ceremony, which bookended a similar event almost exactly six years earlier at which Ball State announced 25 Inauguration Scholars, the model for the Bold Celebration Scholarships.
When she arrived as Ball State's 14th president in 2004, Gora redirected money set aside for a formal inauguration to help create new scholarships presented the following spring. Supported with additional $10,000 gifts from 25 benefactors, each four-year scholarship carried a total value of more than $32,000.
Ball State University's many scholarships provide distinct educational experiences for students of high academic promise and achievement and will continue to play a crucial role in recruiting high-caliber students, said Gora. As part of that effort, a major objective of Ball State Bold was to raise $40 million to create a total of 200 new scholarships.