Topics: Administrative, Alumni

May 23, 2012

Robert E. "Bob" Linson, vice president emeritus for university relations at Ball State and director emeritus of the Ball State Foundation, died Tuesday, May 22, in Muncie. He was 89.

Linson was a trailblazer in his efforts with the Ball State University Alumni Association. Under his leadership, Ball State was the recipient of two U.S. Steel Awards for Excellence in Alumni Giving in 1970 and 1976. In the early 1960s, under Linson's guidance, Ball State was a national leader in using telethons  to raise money for the alumni fund.  He conducted workshops and seminars for many colleges and universities wanting to emulate its success.

"The Ball State Alumni Association — indeed several Ball State organizations — owes its very existence to Bob," said Hudson Akin, vice president for university advancement. "He was a visionary who had a clear passion for his alma mater, and Ball State to this day benefits from his profoundly positive influence."

He was a visionary for the Cardinal Varsity Club, when, in 1959, he and others in the Muncie business community came together to form the organization that supports Ball State athletics. He coordinated the John R. Emens College-Community Auditorium Campaign from 1959 through its successful conclusion in 1960. 

He was actively involved with Muncie businessman and philanthropist Ralph Whitinger in the growth and development of the Ball State University Foundation. He also served as a member of the foundation's board of directors from 1972 until 1987, when he was awarded director emeritus status.

In 1964, he also was instrumental in the creation of the Ball State Student Foundation, for which he was recognized for innovative fundraising.

Linson graduated from Ball State with a bachelor's degree in social science and physical education in 1947. He earned his master's in educational administration in 1948. 

He then served as Ball State's director of alumni relations from 1955 to 1973.  He was executive director of alumni programs from 1973 to 1976. In 1976, Linson was appointed assistant vice president for alumni and development programs, and in 1980, he was appointed vice president for university relations, serving for seven years before retiring in 1987.

At his retirement dinner, Linson received the gubernatorial honor of being named a Sagamore of the Wabash. Also in his honor, the Robert E. Linson Award and Scholarship Endowment was established to recognize student involvement in alumni activities.

He was an avid BSU sports fan throughout his life, especially of baseball, and he loved attending Ball State baseball games. Linson received the Benny Award in 1976, Distinguished Alumni Award in 1980, and was inducted into the Ball State Athletics Hall of Fame in 1994.

Surviving is his wife, Nancy, a Ball State University assistant professor of physical education, emerita; and two of their three children, LuAnn and Larry. A third child, Cindy, predeceased her father. Larry and Cindy also are Ball State alums.

By Joan Todd, Executive Director of Public Relations