Topics: Alumni, Scholarships, College of Architecture and Planning

April 16, 2007

Legos and tree-forts shaped Andrew Zabel's dream of becoming an architect, but before it became reality he lost his life to a rare form of cancer.

In his honor, family and friends have contributed more than $32,000 to create the Andrew Zabel Scholarship as a gift to other students who share his love for architecture so they may accomplish their dreams.

When he was 10 Andrew Zabel dreamed about becoming an architect and began building with Legos. At age 14, it had evolved into two tree-forts complete with drawings, illustrations and diagrams. His passion for architecture at an early age left no doubt in his mind that he would attend Ball State University and pursue what he deemed a "practical art."

At Ball State, Zabel quickly received recognition for his originality and drive that always took him to extremes. He started projects wearing his "worst" clothes and signature bandana. Days later, he emerged from the studio wearing a charismatic smile and three-piece suit, ready to present his vision.

Andrew's brother, Steve Zabel, recalled how Andrew's dedication and work was respected by fellow architecture students in the fall 2005 edition of "ReCAP," Ball State's College of Architecture and Planning's annual publication.

"One day, a classmate in my studio rather sheepishly confessed, 'Please don't tell your brother this, but you know that awesome model of his on display in the Atrium? I covered up his name with mine because I really wanted to impress my parents when they visited this weekend,'" Steve Zabel said in the article.  

Andrew Zabel graduated in 1999, but before he could fulfill his dream of becoming a registered architect, doctors diagnosed him with Ewing's Sarcoma. He battled the rare and aggressive form of bone cancer for two years, but died July 4, 2003. Appropriately for him, it was Independence Day, Steve Zabel said.

Preferred scholarship recipients are incoming freshmen within the College of Architecture and Planning who have a minimum academic index of 3.0 and an SAT score of 1,500 on the new scoring system.

The scholarship is renewable for three years if the student continues to meet the qualifications.

Availability of this scholarship fund is dependent upon an award selection process established by Ball State and its academic departments. For specifics about this scholarship, contact the College of Architecture and Planning at (765) 285-5861.

For more information about other scholarships available at Ball State, contact the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid at (765) 285-5600 or visit

By Jody Kress