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is published by University Communication of Indiana State University. ©2020 PRESIDENT OF INDIANA STATE UNIVERSITY Dr. Deborah J. Curtis, Ph.D. ’85 EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF GOVERNMENT RELATIONS AND UNIVERSITY COMMUNICATION Greg Goode, ’95, GR ’97 DIRECTOR OF UNIVERSITY COMMUNICATION Mark Alesia ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF UNIVERSITY COMMUNICATION AND STATE MAGAZINE EDITOR Dianne Frances D. Powell CONTRIBUTORS Tony Campbell, Photography Teresa Exline, Chief of Staff Jonathan Garcia, Photography, ’17 Rex Kendall, Alumni Association, ’88, GR ’91 Kim Kunz, Foundation, GR ’10 Tim McCaughan, Athletics Morgan Patterson, Alumni Association MAGAZINE CORRESPONDENCE STATE Magazine University Communication Indiana State University 200 North 7th Street Parsons Hall, Room 203 Terre Haute, IN 47809 ISU-Magazine@indstate.edu 812-237-8764 SEND ADDRESS CHANGES AND SUBSCRIPTION QUESTIONS TO: University Advancement Indiana State University 30 North Fifth Street Terre Haute, IN 47809 812-237-6100 800-242-1409 (toll-free) fdn-giving@indstate.edu All photography in this magazine is provided by Indiana State University Services, unless otherwise noted.


06 19 20 30 36 38

TIMELINE OF INCLUSION Benchmarks of progress in ISU’s history and vision for the future

PRESTIGIOUS APPOINTMENT FOR STUDENT Governor Holcomb named junior Anne Bowen to the Indiana Commission for Higher Education

NEW LEADER AT AACC Dr. Tiffany Reed determined to inspire students

STRAIGHT TALK ON NATIONAL TV Former ISU golfer featured in commercial promoting diversity in the sport

BLUE KEEPS GIVING GENEROUSLY University Advancement announced the final numbers for 2019-20

WORK BEGINS ON 2021 HOMECOMING A letter from Rex Kendall, executive director of the ISU Alumni Association, on the cancellation of 2020 Homecoming.





KURT THOMAS 1956-2020


A man looked up his fifth grade teacher, ISU grad Jeanette Inaba, during a trip to Hawaii

Legendary Sycamore gymnast earned international fame

Generous gift creates Rich and Robin Porter Cancer Research Center



WORD FROM THE PRESIDENT Dear Sycamore family and friends, It is perfect weather as I write this, the sun shining, students walking to class, people enjoying lunch outside. It’s fall at Indiana State University and our beautiful campus is alive. For a moment, at least, the many challenges of this difficult year fade away. Yet we all know the environment we’re in leaves little time for rest. The pandemic has meant hard work and discipline just to have this semester on campus, and we’re grateful to students, faculty, and staff for having made it happen. The unrest in society has inspired calls for change, calls that we have heard and responded to at ISU with an action plan titled “Advancing Inclusive Excellence.” The plan is based on our university’s renewed commitment to inclusion and the shared desire among Sycamores to provide a safe and welcoming environment that celebrates diversity and prioritizes meaningful action. Our national politics are polarized. The voices on social media and elsewhere are highly charged. So now more than ever, it is my fervent hope for Sycamores to come together and practice the values we share: learning, discovery, engagement, and inclusiveness. We are moving forward with great optimism at ISU. In the pages of this magazine, you’ll see examples of Sycamores making an impact. And you’ll see Sycamores from our history, people who propelled this institution forward and continue to inspire us. In these challenging times, we celebrate what has made ISU great while staying laser focused on a future of achievement and equity. We’ll do it together as a family. Sincerely,

Deborah J. Curtis, Ph.D. President



JACKSON TAKES ON NEW ROLE, REPORTING TO PRESIDENT Sumalayo Jackson has become assistant to the president for human relations at Indiana State University, President Deborah J. Curtis announced. “Indiana State needs to develop stronger partnerships with local groups serving underrepresented populations,” Curtis said. “This role will help develop and grow those relationships as we work together to improve our community and address social justice issues. I am pleased to have Sumalayo serving in this role.” Jackson reports directly to Curtis and her role will include serving on the President’s cabinet. The position is the revamping of an existing salary line within the communication function of the President’s office and does not require allocation of any new money. A native of Terre Haute, Jackson earned a bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Saint Maryof-the-Woods College and a master’s degree in Student Affairs Administration from ISU. She was previously Interim Director of the Charles E. Brown African American Cultural Center. “I’m looking forward to working towards building bridges within our ISU community,” Jackson said. “ISU should be the platform which speaks and upholds the ideas of truth and justice for all. This is the time to be the change we want to see.”





Zachariah M. Anderson is first Black student to attend the Indiana State Normal School, later ISU. There are no known photos of him. Evangeline Harris Merriweather graduates from the Normal School and becomes an educator, singer, and author. She wrote “Stories for Little Tots,” which featured brief biographies of distinguished Black men and women. Renowned scientist and inventor George Washington Carver, who was included in the book, promoted it and wrote to Merriweather, “I sincerely hope … that

Advancing Inclusive Excellence, published in September, is an action plan to continue building a more inclusive university community. It is a living document that will ultimately lead to fulfillment of important goals (with specific measurable objectives) that will be included in the university’s strategic plan. It gives each of us a greater purpose outside of ourselves to empower not only our students and employees, but also the individual self.



you will take just pride in knowing that you were one of the early pioneers of a movement destined to grow and bless not only the present but future generations.”


Willa Brown Chappell graduated from the Normal School. She went on to become the first Black woman to earn a pilot’s license and the first Black woman to run for Congress.

Since its founding, Indiana State University has demonstrated a commitment toward equality, fairness, diversity, and inclusion. The university is proud to provide high quality and distinctive education to its students. Students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of all backgrounds and experiences call our university home. In everything we do, we strive to live up to our core values of learning, discovery, engagement, and inclusiveness.



Clarence Walker becomes the first Black player to appear in a postseason college basketball tournament, in Kansas City. ISU coach John Wooden had declined an invitation the previous year after he was told Walker would have to stay home. In 1948, Wooden was told Walker could play but couldn’t stay at the team’s hotel. Wooden, again, didn’t want to go, but the local NAACP convinced him because it would be historic and it would be a “start.” Special Olympics Indiana founded by two ISU faculty members, Judith Campbell and Tom Songster. The University annually hosts the organization’s summer games.

1972 1976 2015


ISU becomes one of the first schools in the state to open a Black cultural center The Women’s Studies program founded The Office of Multicultural Services and Programs is established along with four student resource centers (LGBTQ, La Casita, International and Women’s). Dr. Deborah J. Curtis becomes the first woman to serve as President of Indiana State University.

Research by Crystal Mikell Reynolds, Ph.D., was used for this timeline. Photos courtesy of ISU Archives.

Throughout the document, one will clearly find a common thread of accountability and commitment to social justice as we work together to move Indiana State University forward. The responsibility of overseeing and reporting progress of this action plan will rest with the ISU Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. However, the university recognizes that our next steps toward progress are, in reality, a shared responsibility among all Sycamores.

To read Advancing Inclusive Excellence, go to: indstate.edu/aie-action-plan.


ISU’S CUBAN PROJECT PAVED THE WAY FOR A BETTER FUTURE Carlos Aballi ’69, GR ’74 came to Terre Haute from Miami at age 16 with his parents and sister. The Cuban native recalls a bitterly cold winter and the warmth of the city’s residents. “Our car didn’t even have a heater when we arrived in Terre Haute,” he said. “I remember that winter of 1963. It was really, really cold. It got to about 13 below zero at one point.”


Aballi’s father Carlos Sr. and his mother Dolores, both attorneys in Cuba, had fled Fidel Castro’s communist revolution. They were among dozens of Cuban professionals who came to Indiana State University (then Indiana State College) in September 1963 to participate in a Spanish teacher training program for Indiana schools.


The Cuban Program was sponsored by the university, the U.S. Office of Education Cuban Refugee Project, and the Indiana Languages Program. Financed by a Ford Foundation grant, the program became the catalyst for hope and new life for the refugees. It was the first program of its kind in the nation, according to Crystal Mikell Reynolds, Ph.D., who chronicled the history of the Hispanic student experience at ISU. Reynolds reported that 45 Cuban students came to ISU in 1963 and 50 arrived a year later. The students and their families were given a warm welcome by city and state leaders upon arrival. According to Reynolds, the students


were housed in the university’s residential facilities and other downtown Terre Haute facilities including the former Hotel Deming, The Mary Stewart House apartment building, Reeve Hall, The Scherer House on North Center Street, and the Terre Haute House. Reynolds wrote that the Cuban students were members of the professional, well-educated group who arrived in the United States during the first wave of Cuban immigration in the 1960s. Between 1960 to 1980, in four distinct waves of immigration, half a million Cubans moved to the U.S. for a better life. In a 1964 article in the Terre Haute Tribune, Dolores shared that she was targeted by the regime and imprisoned “in an antiquated Spanish fortress” for eight days. “They didn’t have enough evidence against me to hold me there,” she told the paper. “When I was released I knew I couldn’t stay in Cuba any longer. Both my husband and I fled. We had kept our visas to the United States to be used for such an emergency. The worst part about it was that I had to leave my father there. He said he was too old to make the trip.” Dolores also told the paper that she worked to help get children out of Cuba to escape the dictatorship. Her own children, Carlos and Lourdes, got to Miami in January 1961 through Operation Peter Pan (Operation Pedro Pan), the covert program that brought 14,000 unaccompanied school-age children to the United States from Cuba, without their parents, to escape repression. The program was an effort to protect children whose parents were being targeted by Castro’s new regime. Carlos said he and his sister were placed in an orphanage for a couple of months before a

This photo from Sept. 14, 1963 was taken at a lunch organized by the Newman Club for the students of the Cuban Program.

family friend took them in as foster children until they were reunited with their parents in May of that year. For Carlos, moving from Miami to Terre Haute nearly two years later involved no major sacrifice. He remembers making friends and having wonderful teachers at the university’s Laboratory School. For his parents, though, the uncertainty represented a huge gamble. “People in Terre Haute were very hospitable, very nice, which made it less difficult for my parents,” he said. While challenges existed, including language barriers, the family benefited from the hospitality of the ISU community and local residents. One family, which they met through the Catholic Church, served as a sponsor and became their lifelong friends. “They helped us a lot,” he said. “They made us feel like we were part of their family.” The director of the Cuban program was Dr. Louis Curcio, also the director of the Department of Foreign Languages. The program was three semesters, according to Reynolds. Students studied American history and civilization, Spanish literature, student

teaching, methods of teaching Spanish, and psychology and philosophy. A federal grant provided support for the students and their families. Carlos said the program provided his parents with opportunity. “They took that opportunity and made the best of it,” he said. At the end of the program, the students were awarded a bachelor’s degree and their education propelled them to fruitful careers. Carlos Sr. and Dolores graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish in 1964 and both earned master’s degrees in 1965. Upon graduating, they spent the rest of their professional lives in education. They first taught in Syracuse, Indiana, schools before finishing their careers in higher education. Dolores retired from St. Mary’s College. Carlos Sr., who retired from the University of Notre Dame, has an award named after him at the university. The Carlos Aballi Award in Hispanic Cultural Awareness is given to a senior who studied Spanish at Notre Dame and demonstrated pride in Hispanic culture and significant service to the Hispanic community. (continued on page 10)



Photos courtesy of Martin’s Photo Shop/ISU Archives.

1965 graduates of the Cuban Program.

His son, Carlos, said this is a point of pride for the family. The seed of opportunity stemming from ISU’s Cuban Project grew into a legacy of Sycamore education for the next generation of the Aballi family. Five years after his parents received an undergraduate degree, Carlos graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1969 and a master’s degree in 1974 from ISU. He received an Ed.S. in administration and supervision from Indiana University in 1979. Like his parents, Aballi spent his professional career in education. He also taught Spanish in high school. In 1979, he began at Vigo County schools as assistant principal, principal, and later as director of student services. Upon retirement in 2004, he moved to Miami where he found himself back in the workforce as



director of a private school serving children with disabilities. He retired in 2018 after 14 years at the school. His sister, Lourdes, graduated from ISU with a bachelor’s degree in 1968 and a master’s degree in secondary education in 1986. Both of Carlos’ children, Alexis ’02 and Nick ’04, GR ’19 attended ISU. In her study, Reynolds sums up the impact of the Cuban Project: “The Cubans’ experience reveals how an organization and a school were able to aid a group because of compassion and necessity. … They were very appreciative of the opportunity to attend ISC (Indiana State College) to obtain their teaching license to be able to earn a living. To them, Indiana State was a heaven compared to the hell that was Castro’s Cuba.”

ISU RECEIVES $2.5 MILLION GRANT FROM LILLY ENDOWMENT INC. Indiana State University, which has historically served diverse and economically challenged students, will use a $2.5 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to address disparities in graduation rates and achievement gaps for underserved populations. It is an issue across higher education that race, family income, first-generation status, and academic preparedness contribute to gaps in retention and graduation rates between students in those categories and those who are not. The grant and ISU’s proposal are part of Lilly Endowment’s initiative titled “Charting the Future for Indiana’s Colleges and Universities.” “I want to thank Lilly Endowment for its tremendous generosity and for its foresight in choosing to invest in this vital issue,” ISU President Deborah J. Curtis said. “We need to address this challenge to continue being an engine of social mobility in Indiana.” ISU Provost Mike Licari said he’s grateful that Lilly Endowment chose to provide substantial support for students who face more hurdles before graduation than their peers. “This is a challenge that has persistently confronted institutions of higher education, including ISU, and I am excited to be able to launch a large-scale effort to help our students earn a degree,” Licari said. “We have defined student success as graduating in four years, so it is imperative that our students, regardless of their backgrounds, walk across the commencement stage in a timely fashion.”

ISU will use the grant to greatly expand an existing and successful program that provides extensive support for freshmen through the University College and the Center for Student Success. The grant will also allow the support to continue past freshman year, with the establishment of a comprehensive, structured, four-year program for ethnic and racial minorities, first-generation students, and lowincome students. “The generosity of Lilly Endowment makes tested persistence and retention practices accessible to a broader group of Sycamores,” said Linda Maule, Dean of the University College. “That will help Indiana State University ensure more Hoosiers not only leave the institution with a degree in hand, but are fully prepared to enter their profession and fulfill their role as citizens of an interdependent world.” Ted Maple, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for education, noted the challenges universities face have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. “Higher education leaders recognize that they have to adapt to the changing demographics of undergraduate students, the importance of technology in education and the ever-growing need for students to be career-ready upon graduation,” Maple said. “Leaders here in Indiana are responding to these and other challenges with thoughtful, strategic and collaborative approaches that we believe can improve the financial sustainability of the institutions and the educational experiences of their students.”





On a trip to Hawaii, a man looks up his elementary school teacher, an ISU grad, 49 years after fifth grade Jeanette Mae Inaba arrived in Terre Haute before Hawaii was a state and before Indiana State Teachers College became ISU. She was considered an “international student.” The Statesman introduced Inaba and another woman under the headline, “Hawaiian Students Anxious to Touch American Snow.” The story reported that Inaba planned to return home to teach elementary school. But after earning a bachelor’s degree, she taught for three years in Liberty, Indiana, population 1,800, a rural town south of Richmond. Inaba stood out because she was 24 years old and the other teachers were older women. And, she was from Hawaii, which, to the small-town Indiana kids, was “essentially a foreign country,” Jack Thompson, one of her fifth grade students, recalled. Other than Pearl Harbor, “We probably only knew that it was extremely far away, very beautiful and a place we would never see,” Thompson said. The young teacher with a sweet disposition taught Thompson how to outline, a skill he used the rest of his life, including a career in finance. She brought Hawaiian culture to Liberty Elementary School, teaching hula dancing and making the annual recital a big event. Girls sewed leis from crepe paper. Moms and a local seamstress made sarongs, holokus, and muumuus. The girls danced with lava stones and uli ulis Inaba’s parents had sent. The memory of a beloved teacher stayed with Thompson for decades.



In 2006, on a trip to Hawaii, where Inaba lived, he decided to look her up after moments of hesitation. “I realized that I had never had an adult conversation with this person,” he said. “After all, I was 11 years old when she left town.” He couldn’t find a phone number, but found her father’s obituary and called a family member, saying he was looking for a woman who taught hula to girls in Liberty, Indiana, in the 1950s. The person gave him Inaba’s phone number. They met and it was such a delightful experience, sharing photos of her students as adults and hearing her sharp memory of that time in her life, that Thompson brought his mother the following year. In 2014, he brought his wife and friends, some of whom were Inaba’s students. Inaba shared a Lions Club pin that had been given to her by a member

of the group’s father. Thompson and his wife continued annual visits after that. In 2016, Inaba returned to Liberty, Indiana. The old school had become an administrative building, but after 60 years of remodels and changes, her classroom remained intact. That night, a reception drew students from as far as 500 miles away. Some brought their muu muus from the mid-1950s. A group of women in their late 60s performed for Inaba as best they could recall from elementary school. A day later, Thompson drove Inaba to Dowagiac, Michigan, to see a roommate from Room 401 at ISU’s Women’s Residence Hall. Thelda Matthews recalled that the start of a 68-year friendship was an administrative error that assigned Inaba to Matthews’ room. Jeanette, or “JoJo,” loved October colors and enjoyed her first snowfall. Her grandmother made muu muus for her roommates. Over the years, Inaba and Matthews got together whenever possible, and exchanged gifts. Matthews said she cherishes one, a cup that says, “True friends are hard to find, difficult to leave and impossible to forget.” Inaba died on Christmas Day, 2019. Thompson delivered an eloquent eulogy quoting Matthews who couldn’t travel to the funeral: “Goodbye, my friend, you made the world a better place.” Thompson said, “To Thelda’s farewell, I will merely add, on behalf of everyone who lived in Liberty, Indiana, during 1957 to 1960 and who never forgot you, mahalo and aloha. We love you.” This article was adapted from the eulogy for Jeanette Inaba delivered by Jack Thompson.

TOP: Former students of Inaba’s among those doing the hula at a reunion. MIDDLE: Inaba with her ISU roommate Thelda Matthews. Photos courtesy of Jack Thompson.

BOTTOM: Inaba with people she had in her fifth grade class in Liberty, Indiana, (left-right) Nancy Widdows Grover, Jack Thompson, Dale Cummins, Marlisa Montgomery Wangsness.



All archive photos courtesy of ISU Athletics.



Gymnastics legend went from ISU to international fame The world remembered Kurt Thomas after the legendary gymnast died June 5. His ISU teammates paid tribute to a man they recall as driven to succeed and supremely confident, an athlete on the cusp of Olympic glory before the U.S. boycotted the 1980 Games in the former Soviet Union. “Forty years ago, Kurt Thomas was on the verge of becoming one of America’s most celebrated male Olympians,” the Indianapolis Star’s David Woods wrote in an obituary. “We’re talking Thorpe, Owens, Mathias, Ali, Hayes, Spitz, Lewis, Phelps.”

kids going. Thomas developed a street-smart personality after being raised in a rough area. “Some thought Kurt was cocky,” ISU teammate Gary Bernloehr said. “But it was really just confidence in himself and the drive to be the best that he could be in gymnastics.” Thomas won five individual NCAA titles in addition to the team championship. He became the first American to win a world (continued on page 16)

Someone described Bird as “the Kurt Thomas of basketball,” recalled Barry Woodward, a co-captain of the national championship team.


Thomas was part of the “golden age” of ISU athletics with Bird and wrestler Bruce Baumgartner, a four-time Olympian. “It was such an honor to know Kurt,” Bird said in a statement to the Terre Haute Tribune-Star. “All of us were so proud of him, both as a person and a great champion. We all followed his amazing career and inspirational accomplishments.” Thomas came to ISU from Miami, Florida, after a childhood in which he experienced his father’s death when Kurt was 7 years old and his mother kept the family of four

Photo courtesy of ISU University Advancement.

Such was the impact of Thomas at ISU— where the Sycamores won the 1977 NCAA championship—that a former teammate recalled how he first learned about basketball legend Larry Bird, who was on campus at the same time.

ISU President Deborah Curtis visited Kurt Thomas (right) last year at his gym in Frisco, Texas. Barry Woodward, a teammate of Thomas at ISU, and his wife Phyllis are also pictured.



championship event—floor exercise in 1978. He won five individual world championship medals in 1979. While his height and weight kept him from competing in other sports as a kid, Thomas worked to ensure that he was in peak physical condition on the gymnastics floor. “He had the perfect body type for gymnastics and other guys on the team had about the same, so it wasn’t just that,” ISU teammate Al Kwiatkowski said. “He was a very hard worker. After dinner, there was open gym and a number of us were always there hanging out or working. Kurt was there all the time as well, working probably harder than the rest of us.” But to many, his commitment to excellence could come off as arrogance. “He was aggressive in a good way and seemed to always get what he wanted because he had that personality … but he was to the point and very aggressive,” Woodward said. ISU head coach Roger Counsil, who died in 2017, made sure Thomas knew he



was part of a team, not just an individual superstar. When Counsil had athletes do a certain number of routines and hit certain scores—or do more routines—Thomas was always in the rotation. “Kurt was obviously very special, but he also did what everybody else did,” Kwiatkowski said. “He always had the same workouts we did and there wasn’t any favoritism.” Said Woodward: “He was very vocal and very encouraging to everyone else.” But everyone understood Thomas was the unquestioned team leader. “He was an inspiration to be around and he made all of us better gymnasts,” Bernloehr said. “You learned to push yourself, just by watching him workout.” For all of the intensity, though, Thomas loved to laugh with his teammates. “One year in the evening I had gone out to a t-shirt shop near campus and I had a Kurt Thomas fan club shirt made,” Kwiatkowski said. “Later we were sitting by the pommel horse and I had a sweatshirt

over my shirt. I got up on the pommel horse and was swinging around facing Kurt, then I did a half turn and spun around and he ran over and tackled me.” Outside the gym, teammates recalled, Thomas always loved cars and ketchup. “He did like ketchup on everything,” Woodward said. “It seriously could be anything. You think of people who’ll put ketchup on scrambled eggs or french fries or burgers, but I mean he used it on lasagna and meat, literally anything.” Cars remained a passion of Thomas’s throughout his life. Woodward drew on a movie Thomas made, Gymkata, to emphasize the point. “Up until he passed away, he was always striving for the next cool car,” Woodward said. “He had all of them, from the Ferraris to the Porsches to the whatever. If Gymkata 2 came out in 2020, it would have to be called ‘Gymkata: Fast and Furious’ because he drove fast. He just loved to drive.” The road ended too soon for a Sycamore superstar.

UNIVERSITY PLANS TO HONOR 1977 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM ISU will honor members of the 1977 NCAA champion men’s gymnastics team in a weekend of events scheduled for 2021-22. The plan is for a reception and dinner on a Friday, where team members will be given national championship rings, which they never received. On the following day, there will be a ceremony at halftime of a basketball game. The team rallied to tie Oklahoma for the championship in Tempe, Arizona. “It’s the most happy feeling of my life,” co-captain Barry Woodward was quoted as saying in the Terre Haute Tribune-Star of April 3, 1977. “My 23-year-old heart nearly gave out.” Said Kurt Thomas, who won the all-around title: “This team has meant more to me … than anything in my life. Olympics or anything.” FALL/WINTER 2020


Gov. Eric Holcomb has appointed Anne Bowen, a junior at Indiana State University, to the only student position on the Indiana Commission for Higher Education. The commission’s responsibilities include overseeing the missions of public colleges and universities; reviewing budget and capital requests; and deciding whether to allow new campuses and degree programs. Bowen, who has a double major in Insurance and Risk Management and Financial Services, said she is honored to have been selected by the governor. “The Commission works tirelessly on aligning Indiana’s postsecondary education to the needs of Hoosier students and the state of Indiana,

and I could not be more grateful to aid in that effort,” Bowen said. “As I step into this role for the next two years, my mission is to assist the commission and be a voice for all of my peers as we work through this unprecedented time. I am also looking forward to growing my knowledge of higher education, government, and policy while representing Indiana State University and the state of Indiana.” The 14-member commission was created by the General Assembly in 1971. The governor appoints a member from each congressional district and three at-large members. There is a faculty representative and a student representative. “I am very happy for Anne and happy for college students across

the state,” said Greg Goode, Executive Director of Government Relations and University Communication. “Anne is an exceptional student leader who has a strong understanding of issues important to students. She will bring her knowledge and energy to an important gathering of state citizen leaders who advise the Governor and lawmakers on higher education funding and policy matters. And, it is always wonderful to see another Sycamore influencing decisions that will lead to a better tomorrow for the state of Indiana.” Bowen, who’s from Terre Haute, is also president of ISU’s Student Philanthropy Group; director of academic affairs for the Student Government Association; and stewardship director of the Dance Marathon.



workshops and training for faculty, staff, and students. Reed earned a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from IUPUI, a master’s degree in Higher Education Administration from Rowan University and an Ed.D. in Higher Education Administration and Leadership from Maryville University. “Dr. Reed is bringing passion, experience, and enthusiasm for the work of supporting our African American, African diaspora, and Black students as well as creating sustained opportunities for learning and growth for our full campus community,” said Interim Dean of Students Amanda Hobson. Reed began her tenure Aug. 10, succeeding Interim Director Sumalayo Jackson, who became Assistant to the President for Human Relations.

As a first generation college graduate from Gary, Indiana, Tiffany Reed remembers well how it feels to advocate for herself and other students of color. Reed brings this same passion and advocacy for Black students as the new director of the Charles E. Brown African American Cultural Center at Indiana State University.


She called the appointment “an honor and privilege.”


“I recognize, respect and value the students, faculty and staff who have paved the way to lay the foundation of an important symbol to the Indiana State University campus and Terre Haute community,” Reed said. Reed was previously Director of Multicultural Programs and Services at Butler University and, before that, Program Coordinator for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at Maryville University of St. Louis. She has also been a Resident Director at the University of Pittsburgh, where she created diversity, equity, and inclusion


Reed said she’s excited about her new role and intends to build relationships and collaborations across campus. Her priorities are inclusivity on campus; building rapport and trust with students in the Black Lives Matter movement; “amplifying the truth” about the issues navigated by Black students; and dismantling barriers Black students face toward graduation. Reed said she’s also looking for opportunities to bring programming to help students understand that “there’s no template to what Black is,” and that different Black identities exist within the community and culture. Recent national events, she said, make it difficult to find joy and hope, but she is determined to inspire students by sharing and supporting great work by Black students, faculty, and staff. There are few such cultural centers in the state. It was formed as a result of activism by marginalized Black students of the time, Reed noted. “It’s very important for me to make sure the campus sees the Charles E. Brown African American Cultural Center as a vital symbol and vital part of its history,” she said.

Charles. E. Brown African American Cultural Center The Charles. E. Brown African American Cultural Center (AACC) at Indiana State University was founded in 1972 in response to demands made by Black Student Union for a safe haven from the turbulent racial climate of the time. Since then, it has played a key role in developing, enhancing, and empowering African and African American students at ISU, and in providing opportunities for all students to broaden their awareness and knowledge of people of African descent.


“The African American Cultural Center services have evolved over the years to meet the varying needs of today’s students,” said Sumalayo Jackson, Assistant to the President for Human Relations. She recently served as interim director of the Center for almost two years. “The center provides a plethora of opportunities for students to engage in dialogue, and explore cultural influence on the fabric of America,” Jackson said. “The Charles E. Brown African Cultural Center sponsors several programs throughout the academic year. Our community of learners, along with our dedicated staff and campus partners, assist our team in the execution of our most popular events and programs.” In Fall 2020, African American students made up 16 percent of the student

body—or 1,724 students, according to data from the Office of Institutional Research. The center serves approximately 1,500 or more students through combined unique student initiatives and events including: • ISUcceed: A transition program to assist incoming freshmen with navigating their first college experience. • Mentor Assistance for Productive Scholars (MAPS): A mentorship program that supports more than 50 sophomores, juniors and seniors each year with a faculty mentor, monetary stipend for work they complete with their mentor, and required and recommended campus life activities. • BOSS—Brotherhood of Successful Scholars: A Black Male Retention Program that meets weekly to plan and organize social and professional development events. • Ebony Majestic Choir: This ISU gospel choir performs for campus and community events. Open to all interested students, the group rehearses once a week in the AACC Nelson Mandela Auditorium. • Community Involvement: AACC students volunteer at local schools and community events.

• Family Reunion/Street Fair: Cookout featuring student performances and table display of black student organizations, local churches, and businesses. • Black Congratulatory: Fall and spring recognition and awards ceremony for graduates of African descent. • Academic Achievement Awards: Family weekend academic achievement brunch to recognize students of color who achieved a GPA of 3.3 or higher in the fall or spring semester of the previous year.   • Kwanzaa Celebration: Students explore the principles of the African American holiday by participating in culturally inspired activities and enjoy a traditional culturally inspired meal. • MLK Banquet: A celebration of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., with campus and Terre Haute communities. • Black Women/Men Summit: An annual event offering attendees workshops, presentations and luncheon discussions on empowerment, perseverance, spirit, and cultural revitalization. • Black History Month Celebration: Celebrates and recognizes African American historical, cultural, intellectual, and artistic contributions.



Former Sycamore soccer player begins career as ISU public safety officer As an ISU soccer player, Reilly Teal wore No. 21 on her jersey. Now she wears another number for the Sycamores: Police badge No. 70. Teal is among the newest members of the ISU Police Department. She was sworn in last year in the presence of her family, law enforcement colleagues, and friends in ISU’s School of Criminology and Security Studies. “I feel that this is my way of giving back to the university,” Teal said. “They’ve given me two degrees and great experiences, so, now I get to protect them.”


Photos courtesy of Reilly Teal.



Born in Indiana but raised in Lexington, Kentucky, Teal received a bachelor’s degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice in 2018 and a master’s degree in the same field in 2019. She decided to attend Indiana State University for its wellrespected criminology program and to play soccer. She missed her freshman season with injuries and played the following two years as a defender. Teal appeared in 20 matches in her career, starting 12 and scoring two goals. Having earned her undergraduate degree, she gave up her last year of eligibility to start her master’s degree and work as a graduate assistant. “I loved playing soccer at Indiana State,” she said. “It definitely has impacted me as a person as well as a police officer.” The skills she gained from the soccer field are serving her well in law enforcement, she said. Her athletic experiences taught her to become goal-oriented, disciplined, and to handle pressure well. Teal said she was also given a lesson on life’s challenges after having to sit out her freshman season.

Getting to know teammates from other states and other countries also broadened her outlook. “Learning about them and their culture has really impacted the way I am able to work with people now as a police officer,” Teal said. “I feel that I am very empathetic, especially to foreign students. I know the challenges that they’re going through. I saw them with my teammates.” She praised her professors in the criminology program for sharing academic and practical field expertise. “I got both sides of that, so, I feel like I have a really well-balanced education,” she said. Teal comes from a family of law enforcement officers and looks up to her father, who started his career as a police officer and later became a special agent for a federal agency. One of the reasons why Teal chose ISU Police is because of its active involvement in community events such as Special Olympics, an organization which her father has long supported. “I grew up volunteering for Special Olympics, so, when I found out that ISU Police was also very involved, I knew that was a good place to be,” she said.

Teal with her colleagues volunteered for the Night to Shine event on Feb. 7, 2020 in Terre Haute. Night to Shine is an unforgettable prom experience for both adults and children with special needs. Pictured above, left to right: Teal, Lt. Tamara McCollough, Chief Michele Barrett, Sgt. Jacque Smith, and Detective Lt. David Smith. (Below) Teal had the opportunity of escorting the guests down the “red carpet” when they arrived to the event.

Teal, along with Sgt. Jacque Smith, participated in the Flame of Hope Torch Run, the kickoff event for Special Olympics Indiana’s first Virtual Summer Games. Smith and Teal are among law enforcement officers from across the state who raise money and awareness for Special Olympics athletes. After being sworn in, Teal completed a 40-hour pre-basic training at the department, which gave her police powers. She is accompanied by a fellow officer when she’s in the field until she completes the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy and the last phase of the Field Training Officer program. She said she appreciates the way the ISU Police Department treats a student when they get into trouble—with empathy. “We usually work with them to get them on the right track,” she said.

enforcement officers. She also joined the department’s bike police. She has formed a bond with her fellow newcomers and considers the veteran officers her mentors.

So far, Teal has worked on cases on-campus and alongside other Terre Haute law

“I’ve gotten a lot of experience already working with students,” she said, “and I really enjoy it.”





Indiana State University hosted its first Juneteenth recognition ceremony, celebrating the emancipation of slaves, with hundreds of people attending on Zoom.

told STATE that “Ase” is a Yoruba term meaning power, command, or authority. “It is often summarized as ‘so be it,’ ‘so it is,’ or ‘It definitely shall be.’”

Adeyemi Doss, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Multidisciplinary Studies, led the opening of the June 19 event with libation offerings, a traditional practice in some cultures, including the African and African diaspora, to honor the memory of ancestors and loved ones.

Libation was followed by a panel discussion with representatives from ISU’s departments and offices discussing their diversity and inclusion programs. During the second hour, ISU officials and a student spoke.

Each time Doss poured water into a plant, he called out the names of historical figures, victims of tragedy, violence, and the COVID-19 pandemic. He also poured libations for some ISU faculty and staff who have passed on.

“As a Black student I’m happy that we are finally celebrating Juneteenth here at Indiana State and it brings me so much joy,” said Jaylin Coleman, president of the Black Student Union. “I hope this is the start to having our voices heard as Black students here on campus.”

As Doss uttered each name or group, attendees affirmed the tribute by responding, “Ase” (pronounced I - Shay). Doss

Faculty members Ann Chirhart (History) and Adeyemi Doss (Multidisciplinary Studies) also made presentations


on the historical and contemporary takes on Juneteenth. Event organizer Rana Johnson, Associate Vice President of Inclusive Excellence and Strategic Initiatives, encouraged attendees to assess the information they received at the event and move forward together. Quoting from the Juneteenth worldwide celebration website, Johnson repeated the following words several times, each time with a louder voice, during her concluding remarks: “It [Juneteenth] is a day where we all take one step closer together to better utilize the energy wasted on racism.” The day is important, Johnson said, for several reasons. “This day should motivate us as leaders to become social justice champions across campus, Indiana and around the world,” she said.

Pictured above (left-right): Rana Johnson, Associate Vice President of Inclusive Excellence and Strategic Initiatives; Hundreds of people gathered on the videoconferencing platform Zoom for the first Juneteenth recognition ceremony at Indiana State University on June 19; Adeyemi Doss, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Multidisciplinary Studies, leads the libation ritual at the opening of Indiana State University’s first Juneteenth celebration.

“This event is essential in the development of visionary leaders able to engage in challenging, necessary, and sometimes difficult conversations. And finally, Juneteenth can assist with the establishment of innovative partnerships to help us become transformational agents of change.” President Deborah J. Curtis said the inaugural event is the beginning of a new tradition at the university. She considered it a re-launch of Sycamore commitment to lasting change. “This is now here and shall forever more be here,” she said. “It certainly is something we intend to become a

cornerstone of the actions we are going to be taking not just in the next year, but to permanently transform the Indiana State experience, to recognize that Juneteenth is an important marker.” Curtis shared uplifting words to the Sycamore community, particularly its Black members. “We are here as a family,” she said. Curtis said everyone may not always agree but families are based on foundational commitment to one another. “We listen, we engage, and we support one another,” she said. Mike Licari, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, said he is proud that Indiana State is among those

observing Juneteenth. “This day in history represents the remarkable resilience of freed slaves to persevere,” Licari said. “Juneteenth empowers our students to become informed leaders; faculty and staff to become visionary educators; it helps Indiana State University and our local community to recognize the importance of diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice. “I do want to implore us as a community to move forward with action so that we could confront our challenges as a Sycamore family.”



Washington Monthly, U.S. News & World Report, and the Princeton Review again recognize what Sycamores already know: An ISU education is affordable; our majors provide experiential learning and career readiness; our campus is diverse; and we serve our communities and the state of Indiana. Washington Monthly ranked Indiana State University in the top third of national universities and the Princeton Review designated ISU among the Best in the Midwest.

The criteria for Best Colleges for Student Voting included making data available through The National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement.

Washington Monthly ranked ISU 125th out of 389 national universities in its 2020 College Guide and Rankings.

“We believe that colleges have a special obligation to help young Americans become active political citizens,” an article introducing the list said.

ISU ranked in the top 34 percent of Best Bang for the Buck Colleges in the Midwest. ISU was also listed among the Best Colleges for Student Voting. The publication described its evaluations by saying, “We rate schools based on what they do for the country.” The rankings have three categories: social mobility, research, and providing opportunities for public service. The Best Bang for the Buck ratings were described as an evaluation of institutions helping “non-wealthy students obtain marketable degrees at affordable prices.” Said ISU Provost Mike Licari: “I am excited about Washington Monthly’s recognition of Indiana State University as one of the best institutions in the country. ISU is committed to providing a great education at an affordable rate. As a result, ISU is the best university in Indiana for providing social mobility, and I am proud that our students go on to be leaders in the workforce and in their communities.”



Said Nancy Rogers, Vice President for University Engagement: “We are proud to be listed among the 157 Best Colleges for Student Voting. ISU takes its commitment to voter education very seriously. Through our American Democracy Project, we are engaged in daily in-person and social media outreach to students to make sure that they are registered to vote and know how to vote. The Vigo County Election Board and County Clerk’s Office have been great partners to ISU, both with helping with voter registration and their continued support of a Vote Center on campus.” The Best in the Midwest designation came from the Princeton Review’s 2021 Best Colleges: Region by Region. The publication honored 655 institutions nationally—23 percent of the nation’s four-year universities and colleges—in five zones: Midwest, Northeast, Southeast, West, and International.

“We chose the outstanding institutions on this list primarily for their academics,” said Robert Franek, The Princeton Review’s Editor-in-Chief. “We also consider what students enrolled at the schools reported to us on our student survey about their campus experiences.” Among the student comments quoted by the publication: —“Financially affordable.” —ISU fosters “substantive knowledge and practical experience.”

—Students receive “access to professors” and a “strong support system.”

ranking underscores the supportive, high-quality experience our students find here.”

—“Very culturally aware” and “Everyone is welcome here.”

ISU’s Scott College of Business was ranked among Best Undergraduate Business programs by U.S. News & World Report’s 2021 Best Colleges.

“I am delighted about this ranking, and am proud of the educational opportunities we provide our students,” Licari said. “ISU provides academic programs aligned with the workforce, and our worldclass faculty work closely with our students both in the classroom and in hands-on experiences. The educational environment at ISU is like no other in Indiana, and this

The publication evaluated the 511 undergraduate business programs accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. The rankings are “based solely on the judgments of deans and senior faculty members at peer institutions.”

“Our purpose in the Scott College of Business at Indiana State University is to positively impact the lives of our students,” said Terry Daugherty, dean of the college. “This starts in the classroom while combining experiential learning and professional development programming designed to prepare our graduates for career success. The recognition by U.S. News & World Report reinforces our student focus and reflects the dedication of our outstanding faculty and staff.” Two people from each accredited institution were asked to rate the quality of all programs with which they were familiar.



National TV commercial features former ISU golfer promoting diversity in the sport Mackenzie Mack was working at a junior golf tournament in Tennessee when her phone started blowing up.

The PGA of America partnered with CBS to feature Black PGA pros who are impacting lives through golf.

“I was like, ‘What’s going on?’” said Mack, an ISU golfer from 2006-2010.

After the commercial aired, Mack said she heard from Rex Kendall, Executive Director of the ISU Alumni Association, and Connie McLaren, an emerita professor. She also heard from ISU teammates and classmates.

Photo courtesy of ISU Athletics.

Just her 60-second commercial, an unvarnished message about diversity in the sport, airing on CBS during a major men’s championship with an audience of a few million. And it happened to be at a point where viewers of the PGA Championship might have been paying close attention. “My mom said Tiger (Woods) had just finished his round when they went to the commercial,” Mack recalled. In the commercial, Mack recounts her experiences as a young Black golfer. “The reason I became a rules expert at a young age is because, early on, I had many experiences of people trying to get me disqualified and get me out of competition. … I make sure that my African American golfers know the rules so they can survive,” she said.


Mack is then shown in uplifting images, working with golfers, mostly children. She is Associate Executive Director for First Tee, a youth program, in Memphis, Tennessee, and the West Tennessee Regional Director of the Tennessee Golf Foundation.


“My 60 seconds are up,” she says at the end of the commercial, “but the conversation doesn’t end with me.” The commercial was part of CBS Sports’ “8:46” campaign, featuring athletes’ “honest remarks to further the conversation” about racism to “shed light on the importance of listening, learning and coming together to create real substantive change.”


“All my teammates, I still talk to now,” Mack said. “They all sent messages. They didn’t know. A lot of stuff I told CBS was the first time I told anyone outside my family.” Family and friends, as well as people she didn’t know, offered encouraging words. “I wasn’t sure what the feedback was going to be because it’s such a polarizing topic,” Mack said. “Everybody has their opinions, so you never know. All you can do is hope others can relate. “I had people ask me more about my story. I had emails from people saying they had similar experiences and wanted to help their young daughters. I had people say it’s inspirational. I had people who knew me who reached out and didn’t know I had gone through that.” Mack, who has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from ISU, said she “absolutely loved” her experience at the university. She asked Sycamores to support the women’s golf team. “I was recruited to play from Las Vegas, Nevada,” Mack said. “When I first got the call, I was like, ‘What is that?’ It was definitely a change in culture and everything. But everyone was so welcoming, the athletic staff and the professors. They made sure I was successful. “It was a family. I was a business major and it was a family within that as well. I stayed another two years (for a master’s degree). I was a mentor and a tutor on campus. I started a golf clinic for kids. I loved it there. The winters I could have done without.”

These photos of Mackenzie Mack are clips from the CBS commercial.

I’m using these 60 seconds to talk about perseverance. The reason I became a rules expert at a young age is because, early on, I had many experiences of people trying to get me disqualified and get me out of competition. It was very upsetting that I had to be held to this high standard at all times. It was hard, but golf was something that I loved and I wanted to be here. Flight wasn’t an option, so I had to fight. I make sure that my African American golfers know the rules so they can survive. I want to make sure my kids have all the information they need to be successful and confident out there. I know that me persevering will help the junior golfers behind me to not have to go through the same things I’ve gone through. My 60 seconds are up, but the conversation doesn’t end with me.



While at Indiana State University, DiAndre Francis studied health sciences with a concentration in public health, and he put that knowledge to good use this summer. Francis, a resident of Piñon, Arizona, worked as a contact tracer at a local hospital upon returning home to help fight the coronavirus pandemic ravaging the Navajo Nation. Weeks later, he had not only gained more responsibility at the hospital but is also able to say he helped flatten the curve.


“It’s been busy and stressful but progress is being made,” he said in July. “However, the Navajo Nation will never be the same again.”


The Navajo Nation is the largest Native American reservation in both size and population. It made headlines in March for suffering one of the highest COVID-19 infection rates per capita in the country. By September, news reports said cases were declining in the reservation due to implementation of strict public health measures such as curfews and mandatory mask-wearing. The deaths caused by the pandemic over a short period of time are sure to be


remembered in Navajo history, Francis said. The pandemic even made its mark in the Navajo language. COVID-19 is translated as Dikos Nitsaa’igii -19 in Navajo language, which means the big cough or the biggest disease. Although the pandemic highlighted the inequality and lack of infrastructure in the reservation, it also showed the resilience of the Navajo people. “There is no one on the Navajo Nation that hasn’t been personally impacted by this issue,” Francis said. Thanks, in part, to the experiences he gained working in healthcare over the summers, Francis was offered a job on the epidemiological response team at a local hospital on the reservation and “hit the ground running.” He said in May, “I hope to use the education I’ve received from ISU and benefit the community I am from.” Francis decided to attend Indiana State University when he was in 8th grade after a campus visit through a cultural exchange program spearheaded by ISU alumna Kristin Monts. Upon graduating from Indiana State University in 2009, Monts began teaching at the Navajo Nation and later

worked closely with the Honors College to create the ISU Cross Cultural Excursion. The excursion gave Honors students the chance to visit and learn about the Navajo Nation, as well as get to know Navajo students and families. At one point, Piñon students, Francis included, visited ISU, where they attended college classes, met with then-President Daniel Bradley, and hosted a Navajo Culture Presentation at Cunningham Memorial Library. Francis said Monts inspired him to pursue higher education. “The education I received at ISU allowed me to understand the world a lot better,” he said. “It gave me perspective on international, national, and local issues as well as politics. Largely, my education has been based around social justice, health disparities, and issues that have long existed like systemic oppression.” “I could say that I could’ve gone anywhere in the United States. I had good grades at the time, I had an amazing scholarship. I still chose ISU because it meant a pursuit toward something that I didn’t know, a pursuit toward perspective,” he said. He describes education at Indiana State as

Photo courtesy of DiAndre Francis.

transformative. “I felt like a lot of the relationships I’ve built at ISU are mainly with teachers and staff because they value the education that they were trying to give to students, and the passion that they try to bring to classrooms every day,” he said. The health sciences staff and faculty provided him with an education focused on service

that benefits a population, he said, which is not something inherent in healthcare. “That is the greatest thing I’ve learned from ISU and its health sciences department,” he said. Now, he hopes to dedicate a career to preventing health crises from devastating communities again. “I grew up seeing the issues that my

community is dealing with everyday and for generations,” he said, “I wanted to change that.” “COVID-19 won’t be the last disease to ever run its course through the Navajo Nation and it’s definitely not the only one currently happening. My motivation is to prevent the continued hardships on the reservation any way I can.”







Indiana State University raised more than $10.5 million in the 2019-20 fiscal year, a 21 percent increase over the previous year. The total of $10,583,836 is also $4.2 million more than fundraising in 2017-18. “These results are a testament to the generosity of our donors and the progress we are making at Indiana State University,” President Deborah J. Curtis said. “Donations to ISU benefit students, including those who might not otherwise be able to complete their education.”

More than 6,900 donors—71 percent of whom are ISU alumni— made the philanthropic contributions. Gifts of $25,000 or more rose by 63 percent, and more than 1,000 were recognized as members of the President’s Society by contributing at least $1,000 in the fiscal year. “The ISU Foundation Board of Directors is proud of the fundraising accomplishments of this past fiscal year,” said Don Dudine, chair of the ISU Foundation Board of Directors. “This board is seeing ISU administration, deans, faculty, staff, and students embrace philanthropy in unity with an invigorated level of excitement. Everyone is on the same team and the culture is being felt by alumni and friends of the university as they witness the importance of, and take part in, joyfully giving to support the institution’s mission.” The second annual Give to Blue Day on March 11 highlighted the university’s fundraising activities. During the 24-hour fundraising period, ISU raised $680,000 from 2,418 donors. That included 541 students.



Twenty-two funds were added to the University’s endowment, largely helping to build scholarship support for ISU students. The Bridge the Gap Scholarship initiative received more than $660,000 in new donor gifts during the fiscal year. “I am overwhelmed by the generosity of Sycamores across the country,” said Andrea Angel, Vice President for University Advancement and CEO of the ISU Foundation. “We are beyond grateful for their support of ISU and our students. Our team is working diligently to enhance the culture of philanthropy for our institution, and efforts like Give to Blue Day and Bridge the Gap scholarships are resonating with our donors and rallying support for ISU.” ISU donors provided $100,000 as of June 30 in support of COVID-19 relief funding to help students with emergency needs during the pandemic. “For the second consecutive year we have achieved substantial growth in donor support for the University, and we look forward to continuing to build upon this success,” Angel said.

A substantial gift to Indiana State University from Rich and Robin Porter will create the Rich and Robin Porter Cancer Research Center, a transformational boost to the university’s work on the disease. “This is a visionary program that will put our university on the map nationally as a competitive graduate program in the field,” ISU president Dr. Deborah J. Curtis said. “We are so grateful for our alumnus Rich Porter and his wife Robin, who have been generous donors to ISU in the past and now have given us the means to advance our cancer research tremendously.” The donation will support five Rich and Robin Porter Research Fellows— internationally competitive graduate students—and allow them to focus their time and attention on research. “Cancer touches everyone in some shape or form during their life,” said Rich Porter, a 1977 ISU graduate in Business Management and former hurdler on the track team. “So it became our philanthropic passion.” Porter, who has had a distinguished 40-year career in the manufacturing business, serves as chair of the board of directors for the James Cancer Center at Ohio

State University. The Rich and Robin Porter Cancer Research Center will be in laboratory space on the second floor of ISU’s Science Building. “Cancer will be cured one discovery at a time,” Porter said, “and our hope is that one of these discoveries will be made by a student from Indiana State University via the Rich and Robin Porter Cancer Research Center— whether that discovery takes place at Indiana State University or at some future point in these students’ careers. “That’s our ultimate hope, that somebody from Indiana State University will be a participant in a discovery that will cure one version of cancer.” Dr. Christopher Olsen, Dean of ISU’s College of Arts and Sciences, called the Porters’ gift “incredibly generous.” “Their passion for supporting cutting edge cancer research is inspiring, and hopefully leads to the great breakthrough that we all want,” Olsen said. “Their generosity will allow us to advance cancer research by recruiting top graduate students from around the world. Porter Research Fellows will have the financial support they need to work all year on cancer research in the lab, collaborating with our world-

class faculty and pushing the boundaries of research at Indiana State University.” Said ISU Provost Dr. Mike Licari: “We are grateful for Rich and Robin Porter’s generous investment in Indiana State University. The Porters have long been passionate about cancer research, and I am excited to have the opportunity to connect that passion to ISU.” For the past 13 years, Rich Porter has worked in private equity, building a platform of manufacturing companies in Ohio and New Hampshire. He is President of TE-CO Manufacturing in Union, Ohio. Porter’s professional career has spanned 40 years with companies including Kimball International, Rockwell International, and Ingersoll International. The Porters have a history of giving to ISU. In 2015, Rich played an instrumental role in the donation of $500,000 in software to the College of Technology from Hurco Companies, where he serves on the board of directors. In 2018, the Porters gave generously to create an interactive display for the track and field program. They added a $25,000 gift to name the track and field conference room in honor of Porter’s coach and mentor, Bill Malloy.





Many of you have heard me say this: Homecoming is one my favorite times of the year! But the fall of 2020 will pass without the annual celebration of our beloved alma mater—the Blue & White Parade, Trike Race, Tent City and the football game. Not only has the pandemic claimed many of life’s joys, but more importantly it has taken so many lives. While I am heartbroken and my indomitable Sycamore spirit is temporarily dampened, I know the decision to cancel Homecoming was necessary to help keep our students, alumni and the Terre Haute community safe. The Alumni Association Board provided guidance and heartfelt input regarding the decision. Other Homecoming discussions included campus governance units, the Mayor of Terre Haute and local alumni. A committee representing a broad cross-section of campus recommended to the President’s Office that a large-scale celebration in late October would be inconsistent with ISU’s decision to finish the fall semester with mostly online instruction after Thanksgiving. We will miss our alumni and friends returning to campus to reconnect as a Sycamore family and celebrate cherished campus traditions. But be sure of this: we’re already planning for Homecoming 2021. We encourage you to share your favorite Homecoming traditions and memories on social media using #BeForeverBlue! Continue to show your Sycamore pride all year round. A great way to show your pride for Indiana State is by joining the Alumni Association in October! Become a member of an exclusive group of loyal Sycamore alumni and friends. Membership dues directly support the Alumni Student Scholarship Fund and provide resources for programming initiatives keeping Sycamores connected to their roots. Now more than ever we need you to join or renew your Alumni Association Membership at indstate.edu/alumni. I look forward to seeing your favorite STATE Homecoming traditions and memories using #BeForeverBlue. More importantly, I look forward to seeing everyone next year at Homecoming. Please mark your calendars now for Saturday, October 23, 2021!

Rex Kendall ’88, GR ’91 Executive Director, Alumni Association Indiana State University






W. Brent Threlkheld ’68, of Indianapolis, was installed as a Diplomat of the Indiana Defense Trial Counsel.

Charles Cooksey ’83, GR ’85, of Menomonee Falls, Wis., was promoted to Senior Project Leader for Milwaukee Tool in April.

1970s David Wright ’75, of Marietta Ga., was named the Champion of the 136th USA Archery Target National Championship and US Open in Richmond, VA in August. Ken Cofield ’77, of Yulee, Fla., retired from Lockheed Martin Space System after 33 years of distinguished service as their Senior Environmental Engineer in the Fleet Ballistic & Tomahawk Missile Program (FBM) assigned to Naval Submarine Base Kingsbay— Strategic Weapons Facility Atlantic. LouAnn Hopson ’79, of Chesterton, retired after 40 years from teaching physical education and coaching in Chesterton.

Hillary McCarley ’83, of Carmel, was named the Director of Development of the Indiana Children’s Wish Fund in June 2020. Jim Evinger ’89, of Virginia Beach, Va., was hired in March as the Network Engineer for Dollar Tree Stores. Cheryl Simms ’89, of Indianapolis, started a small business focusing on B2B digital marketing, Cheryl Creates Content. She specializes in content creation and copywriting for small business owners and entrepreneurs.

to the Chief Executive Officer in March for Cognoa, a company focused on pediatric behavioral health. Jennifer Sessions GR ’96, of Charleston, S.C., was named Chief Executive Officer in February for Cynvec. Cynvec is a biotechnology company which applies the power of scientific innovation to discover and develop viral immunotherapeutic agents for the potential treatment of cancer. Jeremy Nash ’97, of Havertown, Pa., was promoted to Associate Warden of Custody for the Federal Bureau of Prisons in New York.


Richard Turk ’98, of Riverside, Calif., was hired in January as the Chief Operating Officer for BizSecure. BizSecure is an R&D and services company specializing in designing new products.

Dave Happel GR ’91, of Diablo, Calif., was appointed

Corey Wilson ’99, of Indianapolis, was named the

CLARIFICATION There have been three Miss America contestants from Indiana State University, including Penny Tichenor (photo), who finished in the top 10 in 1974. Kathleen Burke Rice (1961) and Tiarra Taylor (2019) were also Miss America contestants. Burke Rice and Taylor advanced after winning Miss ISU. Tichenor advanced after winning Miss Evansville Freedom Festival. Photo courtesy of ISU Archives.



Vice President of Community Engagement in April for Pacers Sports & Entertainment.

find smarter ways to connect shippers with carriers in the freight industry.


Kyle Hacker ’12, of Chicago, Ill., was promoted in February to an Automation Analyst for Legal & General Investment Management America. Legal & General Investment Management America specializes in fixed income, liability driven investment (LDI) solutions and index capabilities for the US institutional market.

Santhana Naidu ’01, GR ’17, of Terre Haute, accepted a new position as the Vice President of Communications and Marketing at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. Travis Lozier ’02, of Indianapolis, was hired in January at Jordan Johnson Inc. to serve as the Chief Culture and Quality Officer. Jordan Johnson Inc. is a business consulting firm specializing in the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. Bill Kaufman ’04, of Shelburn, was promoted to Vice President of Technical Services with Hoosier Energy. Amanda Babic ’09, GR ’11 and Kris Babic ’09, of Fishers, welcomed a baby boy to their family in July. Diana Luther ’09, GR ’11, of Terre Haute, was appointed by the Terre Haute Fire Department to serve as Assistant Chief of EMS Training. She is the first female assistant chief in the department’s history.

2010s Brodie Morris ’10, of Dallas, Texas, was promoted in February to Account Executive for Salesforce. Mohammed Zaher ’10, of Terre Haute, was hired as a new physician with Union Health, specializing in Urological Oncology. Troy Bacon GR ‘12, of Adams, Mass., was named Interim Chief of Police for the Adams Police Department in July. Brittany Cuthbertson ’12, of Seattle, Wash., was hired as an Accounting Manager in February with Convoy Inc. Convoy builds technology to

Travis Hinshaw ’14, GR ’17, of Cincinnati, Ohio, was promoted to Air Operations Controller in the Network Control Center for Amazon. Joshua Gregory ’16, of Indianapolis, was promoted in January to Associate Broker for Arlington/Roe. Kate Johnson ’16, GR ’18, of Indianapolis, was promoted in August to Senior Public Relations Manager at BLASTmedia. BLASTmedia is a highly-specialized, national PR agency that affects multiple business levels with a holistic approach to PR. Devyn Mikell ’16 and Caitlyn Redmon ’19 of Indianapolis, were married on July 24, 2020. Raeann Cicierko ’17, of Indianapolis, was promoted in January to Account Coordinator for RED66 Marketing. Theo Deguch ’17, of Austin, Texas, was hired as an Anti-Money Laundry Analyst for Netspend in February. Netspend is a leading provider of reloadable prepaid cards and related financial services in the US. Jipin Jose GR ’17, of Bengaluru, India, was promoted in March to Account Manager for Amazon India. Logan Mead ’17, of Seymour, started Coffee Company, an online subscription-based coffee company.

IN MEMORIAM Steve Cline ’65, GR ’68, of Indianapolis, passed away on September 7, 2020. He was a member of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. He was a member of the tennis team from 1961-1965, serving as captain his senior year. For 36 years, Steve taught and coached tennis at Southport High School and in 1993 was inducted into the Indiana High School Tennis Hall of Fame. Alan Mealka ’71, of Knoxville, Tenn., passed away on August 12, 2020. He served as Superintendent of the Tennessee School for the Deaf (TSD) for 20 years before retiring in 2015. Margit Trieber GR ’61, of Indianapolis, passed away on July 5, 2020. In 1962 she began teaching and coaching at ISU. She created the gymnastics curriculum for the Physical Education department and taught gymnastics, dance, and fundamental movement courses. In 1965, she founded the Women’s Gymnastics program at ISU and was its head coach for 21 years.

Candace Nortey ’17, of Indianapolis, was named Executive Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Slone Partners in August 2020. Slone Partners specializes in delivering world-class C-suite leadership, executive, and upper management talent to life sciences, diagnostics, precision medicine, CRO, and laboratory services companies.

position after graduating from ISU.

Mitch Dennany ’18 of New York, N.Y., received a promotion in January to serve as an Account Manager for Amazon Web Services. He began with Amazon as an intern and accepted a full-time

Anna Behrens ’20, of Saint Joseph, Ill., started a new position in May with enVista as an Account Analyst. enVista is a leading global software solutions and consulting services firm.

Shaye Barton ’19, of Raleigh, N.C., started a new job at Bandwidth, a business communications services company, as a Sales Development Representative.







Photo courtesy of Martin’s Photo Shop/ISU Archives.




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Profile for Indiana State University

STATE magazine Fall 2020  

STATE magazine Fall 2020