Topics: Scholarships, Alumni

October 22, 2008

A $1.6 million gift from a former Anderson, Ind., couple will provide unrestricted funding for various programs offered by Ball State University.

The university recently received the gift following the death in 2007 of Gilbert Peart. His wife, Marie Alice, passed away the previous year. The couple previously established the Marie Alice and Gilbert M. Peart Scholarship in 1985 to provide financial assistance to students studying music at Ball State.

An Anderson native, she earned her bachelor's degree in 1934 from what was then Ball State Teachers College and a master's degree in education in 1939 from Indiana University. She later taught at junior and senior high schools in Anderson and in Pendleton, Ind.

Her husband also was an Anderson native, receiving a bachelor's degree from Ball State Teachers College in 1934 and a doctorate in education in 1961 from Indiana University. After teaching high school classes in Illinois for seven years, he returned to Anderson in 1941 to marry Marie Alice and teach at Anderson High School.

After teaching in Madison County until the late 1950s, the couple moved to Fresno, Calif. For the next 20 years, he taught business courses at Fresno State College and Fresno City College while she taught French at Clovis High School. 

After retiring, the couple created the Fresno-based program "Bowling for the Visually Impaired," when not pursuing their other interests including farming, sailing, traveling and showing bulldogs. Meeting and communicating with their scholarship recipients also was a highlight in their later years.

Unrestricted funds provided to Ball State are considered to be available for general use, providing the financial resources necessary to upgrade technology, maintain facilities, support scholarship programs, and recruit faculty and students.