Alumni Magazine-Summer 2022

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Cardinal Continuum Like so many alumni who lead meaningful lives by enriching the people and communities they serve, three doctoral graduates inspire students in Indianapolis schools with excellence.

Photo by Bobby Ellis, ’13

For the first time since the onset of the pandemic, Ball State Commencement returned to the Quad for a beautiful ceremony the first week of May. The University conferred more than 3,400 doctoral, specialist, master’s, and baccalaureate degrees for the Class of 2022. Authors Deborah and James Fallows spoke and inspired graduates at the main ceremony, and the University bestowed upon both an honorary doctorate of arts degree. Photo by Bobby Ellis, ’13



Leading Meaningful Lives


4 News

Dear Alumni and Friends: At Ball State University, we empower our graduates to have fulfilling careers and to lead meaningful lives. With that focus, we want the educational experiences we provide at our University—both in and out of our classrooms—to transform the lives of our graduates. Throughout this edition, you will find success stories that illustrate our impact—the ways in which a Ball State education continues to guide our graduates to support communities, to enrich the lives of other people by creating connections, and to facilitate similar transformation in the next generation of students. Drs. Jeremy Coleman, Brian Dinkins, and Jason Smith—on the cover of this edition—earned their doctoral degrees from our Teachers College (p. 26). Through their experiences with our faculty, these three men discovered a common passion for instilling an expectation of excellence in the schools they lead in Indianapolis. There are also stories like those of Kelly Sheffield and Craig Skinner—the last two women’s volleyball NCAA national championship coaches (p. 18). Both of them graduated from Ball State, where they fostered a love of leadership. And there are people like Dr. Charles Payne, a pioneer at Ball State as the first Black faculty member to achieve tenure and to be promoted to the rank of professor (p. 14). Dr. Payne devoted 41 years of his professional life to our University. He passed away on June 19, 2022, at the age of 80 years old. Yet his legacy lives on in the lives of hundreds of students whom he taught and mentored and in making our University a more inclusive institution for everyone on our campus.

Ball State University Alumni magazine is published twice yearly.


26 Expectations of Excellence

10 Community

30 Maximize Your Mentoring

18 Sports

32 Students to Faculty

40 Class Notes

38 Teaching the Value of Engaged Networking

University Marketing and Communications Muncie, Indiana 47306 765-285-1560 Printed by EP Graphics, Berne, Indiana. Printer uses ink with soy oil, and all wastepaper and solvents are recycled.

Editor Greg Fallon, ’04;

Designer Elizabeth Brooks, ’95

President’s Cabinet Charlene Alexander Chief Strategy Officer Lea Cadieux Former Interim Vice President for Marketing and Communications Jean Crosby, ’96 President of Ball State University Foundation and Vice President of University Advancement Deedie Dowdle Vice President for Marketing and Communications Ro-Anne Royer Engle, ’18 Vice President for Student Affairs Sali Falling, MA ’88 Vice President and General Counsel

Some stories involve more than a single person. There are the many centers, clinics, and laboratories in our College of Health—a variety of opportunities that involve more than 400 Ball State students (p. 16). This work positively impacts the lives of those in need in our community while inspiring our students to become servant leaders.

Alan Finn Vice President for Business Affairs and Treasurer

And of course, there are the many stories of Ball State graduates who have returned to our University to educate, inspire, and mentor a new generation of students (p. 32).

Paula Luff Vice President for Enrollment Planning and Management

I hope articles like these, and many others in this edition, make you proud. As Cardinals, we all play a role in strengthening and continuing the work that leads to meaningful lives. Together—collectively and as individuals—we are enriching the lives of the people we support.

Loren Malm, ’86 Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer


Becca Polcz Rice Vice President for Governmental Relations and Industry Engagement

Beth Goetz Director of Athletics

Susana Rivera-Mills Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

Geoffrey S. Mearns President, Ball State University PresidentMearns

Ball State University BallState ballstateuniversity ballstate officialballstate ballstateuniversity


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Photo by Domenic Centofanti

WE FLY / Summer 2022




Top 100 Students Recognized

Building a Resource for Her Community


Two-time alumna is the director of unique Learning Center in Indiana.


n 2014, Tiffanney Drummond saw a need. Huntington County, Indiana, did not have a central place for high school students and adult learners to train and receive guidance for career development. Funds for a new learning center had already been raised by the community group Life Long Learning of Huntington County—but the project needed leadership. So, through her role with Huntington County Community School Corporation, Ms. Drummond, ’01 MA ’16, and a former Homecoming Steering Committee member, partnered with them to direct the construction, opening, and leadership of an innovative facility that would solve the county’s education needs. The Huntington County Community Learning Center functions as a one-stop-shop for people looking to upskill or reskill by inviting community

partners into a shared space with Huntington County Community School Corporation. All within one building, high school students and adult learners can finish a high school degree, receive career coaching, and complete postsecondary training. Ms. Drummond credits her master’s degree from Ball State Teachers College as being key to her successful leadership of the Learning Center. Teachers College’s collaborative faculty supported and guided her, helping her become a thought leader and advocate for her students. The Huntington County Community Learning Center recently expanded to 50,000 square feet—nearly double its previous size. With Ms. Drummond at the helm, the Learning Center will use every inch of its new space to transform lives through professional advancement and personal enrichment. — JB Bilbrey, MA ’19 MA ’20

“I got my master’s while I was already in this role, and it was really helpful to have the support of the professors and connect with others in the field as we grew the Learning Center.” — Tiffanney Drummond, ’01 MA ’16

he Ball State University Foundation recently introduced a new program that celebrates student successes both in and out of the classroom: the Top 100 Student Awards. This program honors outstanding undergraduates who excel in academics, campus leadership, and community impact. To Brittney Grim, ’13 MA ’18, director of Student and Young Alumni Philanthropy at the Foundation, the Top 100 Students program is important for both future and current graduates. This past year, 10 Ball State alumni from five states served as judges for the inaugural program. “The purpose of the program is to recognize and educate students, our future young alumni, on the importance of private giving and connection to Ball State University,” Ms. Grim said. “The hope is this grows a new generation of alumni leaders and donors to the University.” The Top 100 program is unique in that there is no GPA requirement to be recognized. It is open to full-time enrolled juniors and seniors in good standing seeking their first bachelor’s degree from the University. Students who earn a Top 100 award also receive a gold tassel to wear at their Commencement ceremony. Ball State graduates interested in learning more about judging for the Top 100 Student Awards program can email — Jake Williams, ’05 MA ’09

The Top 100 program honors outstanding Ball State University undergraduate students who excel in three categories: academic excellence, campus leadership, and community impact. Many of the students honored are involved in efforts on campus that are vital to the University, including the Homecoming Steering Committee—a group responsible for planning events like the Homecoming Village Food Truck Festival (pictured above) every October.

Village Revitalization Moves Forward T he Ball State Board of Trustees this Spring took measures to advance a long-term, phased revitalization plan for the Village. The comprehensive plan is anchored by the construction of a performing arts center for University events. Ball State’s investment in the center will leverage approximately $100 million in private investment. Once this ambitious project is completed, the Village will provide a best-in-class, multigenerational district driven by arts and culture, entertainment, and innovation with new options in dining, retail, service, hospitality, living, and gathering. President Geoffrey S. Mearns in March signed a memorandum of understanding with Fairmount Properties, a development firm with a proven record of successful campus-edge projects at institutions similar to Ball State. “This important revitalization on the edge of our beautiful campus will attract community members from throughout our region, enhancing the appeal of our University and our city,” President Mearns said. “For residents, this work will enhance the quality of place in Muncie. And for businesses, this work will promote talent retention and spur economic

growth. I am grateful to our trustees for their support for this vital initiative.” The catalyst for the revitalization plan will be a performing arts center—located on the vacant land on the corner of McKinley and University avenues (the focus of the conceptual rendering to the right)—that will attract people of all ages to the Village. The center will host more than 160 University performances and draw more than 35,000 attendees to the Village each year. The performing arts center will consist of two new performance venues for Ball State Theatre and Dance students, a program that has more than doubled in size at the University since 1996. As a result of the partnership with Ball State, Fairmount Properties plans to invest approximately $100 million to design and construct a best-in-class hotel, a mix of retailers and restaurants, innovation spaces for office and research use, and apartments and townhouses in the Village. The University anticipates that the development agreement will be completed by the end of 2022, with construction tentatively scheduled to begin in 2024. Rendering by RATIO Architects


Ball State University Alumni Magazine

WE FLY / Summer 2022




‘The Future Way of Life’ With backing of TV icon, 1969 graduate David Letterman, Ball State and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing announce esports partnership, scholarships.


or Jacob Clouse, the idea just made too much sense not to pursue. Despite being in his second month on the job at Rahal Letterman Lanigan (RLL) Racing, where he was hired as Social Media & Digital Content Coordinator less than one year after graduating from Ball State, Mr. Clouse confidently pitched a plan to his bosses: why don’t we match Ball State and its brand new Esports program with the University’s most famous alumnus and his beloved racing team? Less than a year later—with that alumnus, David Letterman, ’69, in attendance—the University and the central Indiana-based racing team formally announced their unique partnership, which includes scholarships and other meaningful opportunities for Ball State Esports students through the 2025-26 academic year.

Photos by Samantha Blankenship, ’15


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The partnership was announced Feb. 9 in an event at Ball State’s state-of-the-art Esports Center, where RLL drivers Jack Harvey and Christian Lundgaard participated in a live INDYCAR and Motorsport Games esports race utilizing the same racing simulator equipment that is available for and used by Ball State students. “I’m just a guy that loves cameras, loves what he does, and also loves where he went to school,” said Mr. Clouse, ’20, who earned his degree in Digital Production from Ball State’s College of Communication, Information, and Media, which houses the Esports program. “And seeing all of these come together in one spot, just off an idea, and seeing the team and University have faith in this concept, has been a big thing for me. I’m super pumped to see what happens with it, and to see it grow and develop.”

Christian Lundgaard, a driver with Rahal Letterman Lanigan (RLL) Racing, participates in a live INDYCAR and Motorsports Games esports race Feb. 9 at Ball State’s Esports Center.

Ball State has more than 800 students that participate in its student-run Esports Club, including more than 50 studentathletes on its varsity esports team, which is led by program director Dan Marino.

Among the key aspects of the partnership is the establishment of the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Scholarship, which will provide a $5,000 scholarship to two members of Ball State’s varsity esports team each year from the 2022-23 through 2025-26 academic years, advancing the program’s mission of recruiting and retaining the top esports talent in the world. In his famous brand of humor, Mr. Letterman openly admitted he’s no expert when it comes to the billion-dollar esports industry. But he beamed with sincere pride as he described two of his life’s passions coming together to form a strategic partnership that will make a significant impact on students at his alma mater. “To come and see this, my college, to have the foresight and … (to) be doing that with the racing team I’ve been together with, I’m telling ya, I feel like a kid at Christmas,” Mr. Letterman said, standing in the 3,611 square-foot Esports Center facility just down the hall from the building that now bears his name. “This is delightful. And, by the way, not just for us, we’re talking about humanity. We’re looking at the future of the way of life.” — Andrew Walker, ’14

Leadership at a National Level U

David Letterman, ‘69, meets with students, faculty, and staff at the partnership announcement between Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and Ball State’s Esports program. Mr. Letterman also posed for photos with, left to right, Dan Marino, Ball State Esports director; Dr. Paaige Turner, dean of the College of Communication, Information, and Media; and Ball State President Geoffrey S. Mearns.

.S. President Joe Biden recently reappointed Ball State University graduate Greg Fehribach, ’81 MA ’83, to the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board, which oversees regulations related to accessibility of structures. This appointment is another success in the life of Mr. Fehribach, who has never allowed himself to be held back because of his disability. Born with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, Mr. Fehribach attended Ball State because, in the late 1970s, it was the only college or university in Indiana with an on-campus residence facility for people with disabilities. Accordingly, Mr. Fehribach excelled at Ball State. Elected President of the student body from March 1979–March 1980, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science and a Master’s in Executive Development for Public Service. A Ball State Board Trustee from 2004-2007, Mr. Fehribach has since led an extremely successful career practicing law over the past 30 years. He currently serves as principal of the Fehribach Group, where he continues to apply the same lessons learned at his alma mater more than four decades ago. “I can’t think of a better way to be enriched and give back than by enriching your fellow alumni and faculty, staff, and spending time with students,” Mr. Fehribach explained. “Ball State is a home, it’s a community home. It’s a place by which you can continue to enjoy higher ed and all that it has to give.” — Jake Williams, ’05 MA ’09

WE FLY / Summer 2022




$1 million+


GIFTS (and counting)




• Honors College • College of Health • R. Wayne Estopinal College of Architecture and Planning

• College of Fine Arts • Teachers College • College of Sciences and Humanities

in alumni, student, parent, and University employee giving year-over-year

THOUSANDS OF GIFTS from Ball State employees and students

April 5, 2023

Gifts From All 50 States Top 5 giving states in gray



Ryan Family Scholars, Navigators Program Making Quick, Lasting Impression W

MOST ATHLETICS GIFTS • Field Hockey • Football • Gymnastics


8 million

reached through social media

hen Michelle (Asby), ’81, and Jim Ryan made a $1.45 million commitment to establish the Ryan Family Scholars and Navigators Program, they weren’t just dropping off a check—they were creating a legacy. The Ryans had a clear goal: to assist students from diverse and economically challenged backgrounds by providing them with financial assistance and comprehensive student support services. The Michelle A. and James T. Ryan Family Scholarship is covering all costs for approximately 16 Ryan Scholars during a seven-year period. The first cohort of six Ryan Scholars

successfully completed Year 1 of the program this past Spring. Just as important to Dr. John Anderson, MA ’16 EdD ’21, however, are the services offered through the new Ryan Family Navigator Program. This amenity serves as a hub for student support and provides comprehensive student services to all teaching majors, particularly those who are the first in their family to attend college and/or have financially challenging backgrounds. Dr. Anderson, the program’s director, said the goal is to provide these new services to as many as 300 Education majors at Ball State within three years. — Andrew Walker, ’14

The first cohort of the Ryan Family Scholars program pose for a picture with donors Michelle, ’81, and Jim Ryan. From left to right: Andrea Flores, Isaiah Kimp, Amaree Burks, Mrs. and Mr. Ryan, Jalen Chandler, Bryan (Alex) Vivas, and Isabella (Izzy) Fuentes.

Newest Trustee ‘Honored’ to Serve Ball State J ulie Griffith, ’79, has always felt at home on Ball State University’s campus. Now, as the newest member of the University’s Board of Trustees, she is playing a major role in ensuring the same experience for all current and future Cardinals. Officially appointed to the Board in January, Ms. Griffith is no stranger to serving her alma mater. She also currently serves on the Foundation board and the Dean’s Executive Advisory Council for the University’s College of Sciences and Humanities, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Political Science.

Ms. Griffith is the vice president for Strategy, Partnerships, and Outreach for the Indiana Innovation Institute. Her extensive background in marketing, business development, and government and regulatory affairs is serving the Board of Trustees well as it works in unison with President Geoffrey S. Mearns and his leadership team to continue advancing the strategic direction of the University. “I can’t tell you how excited I am, and how truly honored I am, to be able to serve the University that has served me so well and for so long,” Ms. Griffith said. — Andrew Walker, ’14

WE FLY / Summer 2022



COMMUNITY How did your Ball State experience affect your career path? Ball State itself set me in the direction that I ultimately followed into the U.S. Foreign Service. In my sophomore year, I was at the London Center (a popular semesterlong, faculty-led study abroad program in England). I had never been exposed to the different types of people, or experiences I had, there. I became interested in finding a career path that would allow me to have those types of experiences and contribute within the international sphere. There were Ball State professors who encouraged me and helped guide my search for international service employment opportunities.

From a values standpoint, what have you learned at Ball State that has guided your diplomatic efforts?

Photos courtesy of the United Nations

In 2017, graduate Jeffrey Feltman traveled to Colombia to meet with United Nations staff. In his role as U.N. Under-SecretaryGeneral for Political Affairs, he was there to assess the implementation of a peace process.


Making A Global Impact Former U.S. Diplomat’s career of service, work around the world stems from his experience at Ball State.


TV news camera rolled in 2006 as Ball State graduate Jeffrey D. Feltman—then, U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon—watched the last ship of Americans get taken to safety. Lebanon was getting bombed as part of a full-scale assault. “Seeing off that last ship of Americans— knowing that we got 15,000 Americans to safety, in spite of complications and delays— was one of the most fulfilling moments of my career,” Mr. Feltman, ’81 LLD ’13, said in an interview with Alumni Magazine. That moment was one of many in Mr. Feltman’s 30-plus years of service to America as a diplomat—promoting peace and security, mitigating conflict when possible, protecting America’s interests, and looking out for U.S. citizens overseas. His career highlights also include serving as United Nations Under-

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Secretary-General for Political Affairs (2012-18), and as U.S. Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa (2021-22). Long before this native Midwesterner found himself in the Middle East and other parts of the world, or in the role of a U.N. leader, Mr. Feltman was an undergraduate student looking for his passion and his purpose. Ball State helped put him on that path. “I became a representative of the United States abroad, and eventually a U.N. official, because of the experience I had at Ball State University,” he said. “I feel grateful that it started me on a career that I found personally rewarding, and in which I hopefully did some good.” Here is a Q&A with Mr. Feltman—on his Ball State experience and on his fulfilling career:

As the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Public Affairs, Mr. Feltman met with Hassan Sheikh Mohamud in Somalia in 2013.

My professional career of diplomacy is based on the idea of service. There’s a service mentality I learned at Ball State. For example, (1929 Ball State graduate) Ralph Whitinger had a very successful business career. He demonstrated that service mentality by developing scholarships for Ball State students. Also, having studied History, I learned that there are different experiences, values, and events that have shaped the attitudes and policies in various countries. My other major was Art, a creative medium. I was able to combine what I gained from studying History with the creativity of how to use that knowledge to promote U.S. interests and protect U.S. citizens overseas.

Aside from the 2006 evacuation effort of Americans from Lebanon, were there other rewarding moments in your career? Mentoring young talent in the foreign service was also rewarding. I was able to see talent in others and try to help them improve their skills, seize opportunities, and look at ways they can make a difference and contribute to U.S. foreign policy. My sense of wanting to help mentor those younger foreign service officers was derived, in part, from the attention that the Ball State professors paid to me and my potential.

How can Ball State graduates stay involved with their alma mater? If people have the financial resources to be able to contribute that way, I hope they would do that. If people are in interesting or compelling careers, I hope they would come back and talk to students about that. Giving back doesn’t have to mean being a Commencement speaker. Not everyone has the financial ability to endow a college. Be a good example in your church, community, family, and business. Show that you care for others, have empathy, and work hard. Those types of things reflect Ball State’s values. — Landa Bagley

Appearing in front of the United Nations Security Council was one of many tasks Mr. Feltman took on as United Nations Under-SecretaryGeneral. Here, he briefs the Council about a situation in May 2013. Mr. Feltman is seated third from the left.

More about Mr. Feltman •L ives in Greenville, Ohio, with his spouse, Mary Draper (retired U.S. Foreign Service Officer) •R ecipient of two U.S. Presidential Service awards and several State Department Superior Honor awards •N amed a U.N. Foundation Senior Fellow •C urrently a John C. Whitehead Visiting Fellow in International Diplomacy in the Foreign Policy program with Brookings Institution •G raduated from Ball State with a Bachelor of Science degree (majors in History and Art) and Honors College graduate; honorary doctor of laws degree • Earned a Master of Arts degree, Law and Diplomacy, from Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy

WE FLY / Summer 2022


We’re Back … In a BIG Way!




Ride the Ball State Cardinal Super Wheel at the Indiana State Fair July 29–August 21

Unique initiative in the College of Sciences and Humanities creates career pathways.


12 Ball State University Alumni Magazine

Join us for a birds-eye view of the fairgrounds and beyond as you soar to new heights in one of 36 air-conditioned gondolas on the largest Ferris Wheel in the state of Indiana. Wear your favorite Cardinal gear, visit our booth every weekend, and create a unique photo memory as we celebrate Ball State’s proud return as a State Fair sponsor. Chirp! Chirp!

Photo by Samantha Blankenship, ’15

runo Reinert, ’20, secured a job interview and offer shortly after graduation. He did not have to send a creative cover letter, nor did he have to send a TikTok video resume. Mr. Reinert got hired because of Compass Advantage. Compass Advantage is an initiative in the College of Sciences and Humanities at Ball State that helps humanities students navigate college-to-career, providing them with alumni connections, visible post-college career pathways, curriculum, events, and workshops. “Liberal arts/humanities students aren’t on a path to one particular kind of job or industry,” said Cathy Day, founder and director of Compass Advantage and professor of English. “Instead, we give them a compass that allows them to navigate anywhere, no matter what happens to the economy, no matter if their goals change. And in this volatile job market, that’s an advantage.” Compass Advantage’s multi-faceted approach involves alumni speakers and mentors, faculty-lead workshops, and student employment opportunities. In the role of student project manager, student employees within Compass Advantage gain experience and exposure working as writers, designers, and marketers for Ball State humanities departments. They function as a micro-marketing agency within the College of Sciences and Humanities, with the various departments serving as their exclusive clients. A former student project manager, Mr. Reinert says he owes his professional development to Compass Advantage. Before working on the Compass team, he says his portfolio was “anemic.” But by the time he graduated, Mr. Reinert had a robust portfolio of blog posts, data analytics reports, and websites to show to potential employers. As it turned out, Mr. Reinert only had to show his portfolio to one employer: Intersection, a full-service marketing and branding agency located in downtown Muncie. Months after networking with an Intersection employee at a Compass speaker series on campus, Intersection invited Mr. Reinert to apply for the position of Digital Marketing Specialist. Though this would be his first full-time professional position, Mr. Reinert wasn’t nervous for the interview: “The student project manager position instilled in me the confidence that I could do this job. I felt that my sea-legs were ready,” he said. “Once I joined Intersection, all I had to do was learn their workflow and apply what I had already learned in Compass, because I had a good foundation to build on.” Compass Advantage is a one-of-its-kind initiative at Ball State, and it’s one of the reasons why enrollment within Ball State’s English department remains strong year after year. Because of the Compass Advantage, Ball State humanities—its students and departments— are navigating towards excellence. — JB Bilbrey, MA ’19 MA ’20



A Foundational Educator Ball State’s first Black faculty member to achieve tenure and professor rank reflects on his journey to start the University’s first multicultural education program. By Kate H. Elliott


r. Charles Payne teaches through story, and the most powerful parables are his own: how did a Black Mississippi boy, stricken with polio, cross several graduation stages to become the first tenured and fully African American professor at Ball State? Dr. Payne spent 41 years at the University, retiring as assistant provost for diversity and professor of Secondary Education. Many credit his resilient, courageous spirit and collaborative, wise manner for advancing diversity, equity and inclusion across Indiana and most definitely at Ball State. Some call him a legend. He chuckles. “They mean old,” he says. Dr. Payne, who, at the age of 80, passed away in late June but spoke to Alumni Magazine earlier this Spring, grew up in Philadelphia, Mississippi, the youngest of five children. His father died in a car crash a few months before his birth, so his dad’s brother, Uncle Lawrence, offered to raise Charles and his brother. Uncle Lawrence and his wife were light skinned and educated, so the Payne boys had access to books and other advantages. He was four when he came down with polio and was told he would never walk again. Kids teased the future scholar: “Hey professor,” they’d say, never knowing Dr. Payne would one day respond to that title with pride—or learn to walk, which he did.

To read much more about Dr. Payne’s life story and his vital work, visit


Ball State University Alumni Magazine

Photo by Samantha Blankenship, ’15

Education as liberation He graduated from Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi, with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1962, a master’s in chemistry from Tuskegee Institute in 1965, and a doctorate in Science Education from the University of Virginia in 1972. Dr. Payne arrived at Ball State in 1972, when he began teaching as an assistant professor of Secondary Education and director of the Preparation of Teachers for MultiCultured Schools Program. In his nonthreatening way, he equipped student teachers with the knowledge and skills to effectively educate children of various backgrounds and life experiences. Dr. Payne reiterates that people are alike more than they are different, but those differences are important. If you’re not careful, he says, they can fuel incorrect assumptions. “A teacher was frustrated because a girl brought a school library book back with a note from her mother to never send a library book home again,” Dr. Payne recalls. “The teacher thought the parents might not value education, but I talked with a Black teacher who knew the family. Come to find out, the girl was poor, and her mother simply didn’t want nice things in the house. She didn’t want to dirty or harm the book.”

Uniting voices, elevating diversity That exploratory spirit led Dr. Payne to spur development of the Diversity Research Symposium, which has brought

thousands of people together across the state to learn and discuss cultural diversity in research, curricula and professional development. Melinda Messineo, who holds a doctorate in sociology, attended those research symposiums. Dr. Messineo, the interim associate vice president for Inclusive Excellence at Ball State, said Dr. Payne is gifted at “calling people in” rather than “calling people out.” The two collaborated on Muncie’s first race relations survey 20 years ago. Local community organizer and activist Mary Dollison, ’64 MAE ’74, said Dr. Payne encourages Black people at Ball State and in Muncie to be seen and heard. Their voices got louder in 2021, Ms. Dollison said, when a new Multicultural Center opened in the heart of campus. Dr. Payne agrees: “It sends a message that people of color and diversity in all forms is a central focus of an institution of higher learning, and everyone should go there, not just people of color. The space helps all people feel welcome and supported. It’s an olive branch into campus.” The Center bestows the Dr. Charles Payne Olive Branch Award on a student who promotes diversity and crosscultural sensitivity, who strives to transcend cultural and racial boundaries, and who best demonstrates tolerance and acceptance of diversity as expressed by the center’s mission. Aric Fulton, ’21, received the award in April 2020 for his work in advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion across campus and for mentoring first-generation students and students of color. “I was humbled to receive an award in Dr. Payne’s name with knowledge of the work he and other Black men did to pave the way for me and my Ball State experience,” Mr. Fulton said. Dr. Payne delights in Mr. Fulton’s story and other students who “have a dream and make a plan to get there.” His favorite part: hearing of students who find support and community at Ball State.

The work continues Chief Strategy Officer Charlene Alexander is among many at Ball State—working across disciplines and offices—to build on the foundational work of Dr. Payne. Dr. Alexander stressed the need for Ball State to welcome students from underrepresented populations. According to the Brookings Institution, those populations will be the majority by 2045. “It is important for us to reflect on Dr. Payne’s journey,” she said. “It’s a story about family, the importance of having great mentors in your life, having a vision for a life, not defined by others but by yourself. These are lessons that are still important today.”

WE FLY / Summer 2022




Serving Students, Communities More than 400 College of Health students participate annually in Ball State’s various Centers, Clinics, and Laboratories.


Top: Mallory Salmon, a doctorate student at Ball State’s College of Health, shaves down a hearing aid in the Audiology Clinic. Above: Lakeisha Johnson, a student in the Clinical Exercise Physiology program, takes a client’s blood pressure as part of her work with the Healthy Lifestyle Center.


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hen students are working with participants in Ball State University’s falls prevention program, they are experiencing the College of Health’s “Interprofessional Education and Practice” environment in one of its truest forms. At any given time, students in the Social Work, Exercise Science, Audiology, and Speech Pathology programs could all be communicating with each other about a specific patient’s needs. This interprofessional approach not only can reduce the overall cost of healthcare for a patient, but it can significantly reduce the kinds of medical errors that can contribute to further problems or even death. The falls prevention program offered through the Interprofessional Community Clinics (ICC) is just one of many ways Ball State and its College of Health not only prepares future healthcare practitioners, but also enriches the lives of members of the community in their moments of need. Whether it’s students working in federally qualified health centers in and around Muncie, the ICC, or newer endeavors such as the Center for Substance Use Research and Community Initiatives (SURCI), Ball State remains a leader

in embracing the future of healthcare, resulting in a more unified, less fragmented system—and better patient care. “Clinical experience is a hallmark for undergraduate and graduate students, and it’s an incredible way to engage students,” said Dr. Blair Mattern, ’06 AuD ’10, director of Interdisciplinary Clinical Operations at the College of Health. “Our students are supervised by licensed faculty practitioners, but these are their clients and patients. They don’t see them as our patients; they see them as their patients. They’re developing relationships with community members while they’re still in school, and they’re getting the opportunity to build those bed-side skills and build patient rapport.” Each year, more than 400 College of Health students—many of whom get their start as undergraduates—take part in Ball State’s various Centers, Clinics, and Laboratories. The Centers include the Adult Physical Fitness Program; the Simulation and Information Technology Center; the East Central Indiana Area Health Education Center; and the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies. ICC, meanwhile, includes three clinics and a center that offer affordable, quality healthcare services to the greater Muncie community. These services include an Audiology Clinic, a Counseling Practicum Clinic, a SpeechLanguage Clinic, and the Healthy Lifestyle Center. Several innovative laboratories include the Biomechanics Lab; the Integrative Exercise Physiology Laboratory; the Human Performance Laboratory; the Exercise Science Laboratory; the Nutrition Assessment Lab and Dietitian Consulting Services; and the Clinical Exercise Physiology Laboratory. The college also is taking a proactive approach to addressing substance misuse in the local community. Earlier this year, the College of Health announced the formation of SURCI, which is operating as a paradigm for student and community engagement and research innovation, with an emphasis on facilitating high-impact, interdisciplinary, evidence-based, and community-engaged addictions research and interventions. “Our College of Health continues to move boldly forward in making interprofessional education, practice, and research its paradigm across each of its disciplines,” said Dr. Scott Rutledge, College of Health dean. “We are committed to continue working hand-in-hand with our community partners to expand and enhance these critical services across the state of Indiana.” — Andrew Walker, ’14

TO THE MOON Graduate has dedicated herself to educating the public about space—first as a student, then a professional, and now as a NASA Solar System Ambassador.


arah Vise, ’19, never wanted to be on a stage. She didn’t like public speaking. The mere idea of a presentation made her nervous, and she would much rather have stayed out of the spotlight. Now, she is a Solar System Ambassador at NASA and an educator at Science Central in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She regularly gives presentations at Science Central, in elementary schools, and at community events, and loves every second of it. What changed? At freshman orientation at Ball State, a professor saw Ms. Vise’s excitement about space exploration and recommended that she apply for a job at the Charles Brown Planetarium. The four years she spent in that position changed the course of her life. “I solely dedicate my ambition to Dayna Thompson,” Ms. Vise said of the Planetarium’s director. “She was the one who really showed me everything that I still apply in my day-to-day life and work. I admire Dayna so much, and I fully thank her for where I am today.” Ms. Vise’s experience working with the public at the Planetarium, and the mentorship she received from Ms. Thompson, helped her overcome her fear and inspired her to dedicate her life to educating the public about the vast mysteries of space, and humanity’s efforts to explore it. — JB Bilbrey, MA ’19 MA ’20 Photo by Samantha Blankenship, ’15

Read more about Sarah’s love of space and teaching at

WE FLY / Summer 2022




s coache d a e h th ion champ undations, bo ll a b y e fo oll als. men’s v ose coaching uilt as Cardin o w I n wh isio eb A A Div te graduates he court, wer C N o a w tt St of f t The las are Ball on and

u o Y h t i W n ’ O e s f i e i L r r r u a o C Y t f ‘I O t s e R e h For T Left and middle: Craig Skinner, ’93, as an outside hitter with the Ball State men’s volleyball team, and now as head women’s volleyball coach at the University of Kentucky. Right: Kelly Sheffield, ’01, is head coach of the University of Wisconsin women’s volleyball team. Photos courtesy Ball State Athletics; University of Kentucky Athletics; and Tom Lynn/University of Wisconsin Athletics



n 1990, Kelly Sheffield and Craig Skinner were two young guns cutting their teeth in coaching while leading the junior varsity team at Muncie Burris High School. More than 30 years later, those early coaching experiences in volleyball-crazy Muncie, while students at Ball State University, have never been lost on coaches Sheffield and Skinner. In fact, thanks to these gentlemen, Ball State can boast being the alma mater of the last two NCAA Division I women’s volleyball national champion head coaches in Mr. Skinner (2020; Kentucky) and Mr. Sheffield (2021; Wisconsin).

Ball State University Alumni Magazine

“We were having a blast just learning,” Coach Sheffield said of those early experiences at Burris with Coach Skinner. “The funny thing is, I don’t think at the time we thought we were ever going to make a career out of coaching.” Coach Sheffield attended Burris, but he never actually played volleyball. He said he caught the bug for the sport early in college, right as Muncie and East Central Indiana was starting to earn its reputation as the nation’s hotbed of volleyball talent and coaching. Mr. Sheffield moved up the coaching ladder, first spending a few years at the high school and club levels. Then he served as an assistant at

the University of Houston (1997), the University of Virginia (1998-99), and Clemson University (2000) before earning his first head-coaching opportunities at the University of Albany and the University of Dayton. Mr. Sheffield’s influence was felt almost immediately upon being named Wisconsin’s head coach in 2012. In 2013, the Badgers were NCAA runners-up, a feat they repeated in 2019. And this past season, Coach Sheffield led Wisconsin to its first-ever NCAA national championship. Despite taking a few years off from pursuing his college education, Coach Sheffield never forgot about Ball State. He completed his bachelor’s degree in General Studies in 2001. Coach Sheffield said his time as a student at Burris, with its unique relationship with Ball State, set him up for success in the years to come—on and off the court. “Just how Burris is set up, there’s a lot of freedom,” he said. “It’s a laboratory school, and the interaction with Ball State Teachers College students who would come in and observe or assist with class, you’ve got to think being in that environment goes hand-in-hand with your development as a coach.” Coach Skinner was an athletic kid who grew up in the Muncie school system with the Shondell brothers—Dave, Steve, and John. The Shondells’ father, Don, by that point was already a pioneer in the sport of volleyball, having founded the men’s program at Ball State in the 1960s. In the years to come, Mr. Skinner would find his approach to teaching and coaching volleyball was rooted in many of the same lessons he learned growing up around the late Dr. Don Shondell and the Ball State volleyball program. “(Dr. Shondell) knew that to get from A to Z, it took a lot of detail and a lot of fundamentals, and he was very

fundamental in his style of teaching,” Coach Skinner said. “I think he’s the epitome of, ‘There’s no difference between teaching and coaching, except the scoreboard.’ He was insistent on the fundamentals.” Coach Skinner joined the Ball State men’s volleyball team in 1990. By that time he was completely immersed in the game; an outside hitter for the Cardinals from 1990-93, he had also started his coaching career at Burris and the Munciana club. Coach Skinner earned his bachelor’s degree in Accounting in 1993 and promptly moved through the college coaching ranks as an assistant with Wisconsin (1994-96), the Ball State’s men’s team (1999-2000), and Nebraska (2000-04) before being hired as Kentucky’s head coach in 2004. Mr. Skinner has since propelled the Wildcats into national prominence, becoming the program’s all-time leader in wins (401) and, in the 2020 season, leading Kentucky to its first-ever national championship. Between coaches Sheffield and Skinner, they’ve collected more than 900 wins, two NCAA championships, have been NCAA runners-up twice, and have appeared in five NCAA Final Fours as head coaches. Not bad for a couple of guys who got their start leading the junior varsity team at Burris. “Just the passion, the sense of pride, you have from being at a school like Ball State, it carries on with you for the rest of your life,” Coach Skinner said. “Ball State started as a teachers college, and there’s a reason why people who graduate from there and teach and coach from there understand that concept.” — Andrew Walker, ’14

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SPORTS This is your first head coaching job. What attracted you to Ball State? Lots of things, actually. There’s a strong tradition of quality basketball here, and it’s a wonderful opportunity for me and my family to get back home to Indiana. I am also incredibly impressed with the vision of athletic director Beth Goetz for our program, as well as the leadership and support I saw from President Mearns. Ball State is simply a great fit for us.



In high school and college, you were known as a hard-nosed, highly-focused player. What are your expectations for your players at Ball State? Any good team will take on the persona of its head coach, and that’s what I want to happen here. We will have a simple, singular mindset: either you truly love the game of basketball, and you love the privilege to compete at the highest level, or you will not put on a Ball State uniform.


n March, Michael Lewis was hired as Ball State’s new head men’s basketball coach. He comes to Ball State after a three-year stint as an assistant coach at UCLA, helping the Bruins post a 68-30 record. The former Indiana University standout player spent 18 seasons as an assistant coach at Nebraska (2016-19), Butler (2011-16), Eastern Illinois (2005-11) and Stephen F. Austin (2004-05). Coach Lewis, who played at IU from 1996-2000, finished his collegiate career as Indiana’s all-time leader in career assists (545), which now ranks second in the program’s history. The Jasper, Indiana, native finished his high school career in 13th place on Indiana’s all-time high school scoring list with 2,138 career points at Jasper High School. It’s a new era for Ball State men’s basketball, and Coach Lewis is bullish on the Cardinals, as evident in this Q&A:

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Photos by Bobby Ellis, ’13

Coach Michael Lewis counts on his “competitive fire” and experience to lead the men’s basketball program in a winning direction.

How will you approach recruiting? First off, we will concentrate on our own backyard. There’s an immense talent pool in Indiana, and I’m fortunate from my playing days to have a wealth of good contacts in the state. That also means I will build a staff that understands the dynamics of recruiting and the connections to keep Ball State in front of solid players. But at the same time, if we see a player we feel is a good fit here, we’ll go anywhere to get them.

The Ball State men’s team has not been to the NCAA Tournament since 2000. What needs to happen for that to change? I am perfectly honest when I say that we’re not that far off. At UCLA this past season, we played Akron in the tournament and they could have easily beat us. And I look at how Ball State competes in the MAC against teams like that—it comes down to a handful of possessions, and we have to learn how to win those. There’s outstanding basketball played in the MAC. And this university has had its share of good teams. There’s no reason that can’t be the case again.

What would you say to the fans? My overwhelming thought is simply that ‘I can’t wait to meet you.’ Fan support is the lifeblood of any team. We want a family atmosphere and a community atmosphere. We want to see you at Worthen Arena, and you have the commitment of myself and my staff to put a team on the floor that is fun to watch and gives 110 percent every game. — Dan Forst, ’85

Ball State Athletics recently revealed its 2022 Hall of Fame Class, due to be inducted Sept. 16: JUSTIN BERIAULT, ’06 / Football All-MAC First Team honors 2003-04, and selected by Dallas Cowboys in 2005 NFL Draft.

SHAYNE RIDLEY, ’00 / Baseball 2000 MAC Player of the Year, and selected by Baltimore Orioles in the 2000 MLB Draft.

KRIS BURDINE, ’04 MA ’06 / Softball All-MAC First Team honors 2004, finished second in school history in home runs and run scored.

GREG ROMANO, ’95 / Men’s Volleyball Three-time All-MIVA First Team honors 1993-95, and played professionally in Greece, France, Germany, and Italy.

KEVIN “KJ” KINNEE, ’95 / Football All-MAC Second Team honors 1993-94, owns single-game tackling record (29). JADA PHELPS, ’01 / Track and Field Member of five MAC Championship teams 1998-2001, and earned All-American honors in 2000 (long jump).

BOB THOMAS / Contributor 217 wins in 39 seasons as men’s swimming and diving coach. 1994 FIELD HOCKEY TEAM Won MAC Tournament, advanced to the NCAA Tournament two straight years.

WE FLY / Summer 2022





Cardinal Varsity Club (CVC) The foundation for a quality Division I athletic program.


s Mike Neu, ’94, prepares for his seventh season as head coach of Ball State football, one word comes to mind: “opportunity.” “For the 2022 season, we return five starters on defense and seven on offense, which is the fewest we’ve had for a while,” Coach Neu said. “But that doesn’t mean we’re inexperienced. Many of the kids who’ll become starters have seen a decent amount of playing time. And for every kid on this roster, including those on what I consider to be a very strong recruiting class, there’s an opportunity to step up to a starting role.” Perhaps the biggest opportunity belongs to redshirt senior quarterback John Paddock from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Entering the Spring, he sat No. 1 on the depth chart, tasked with filling the big shoes of graduated quarterback Drew Plitt. Plitt led the Cardinals for the past three seasons, and he currently stands third in Ball State history in career passing touchdowns (58) and passing yards (9,062). “John knows our offense, is a great competitor, and has seen some solid game action,” Coach Neu said. “But, we also have

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some very good young quarterbacks on this roster, and they’ll get their chance to challenge him for the starting role.” The 2022 season also marks the first full year for the football team to enjoy the new Scheumann Family Indoor Practice Facility, something Coach Neu calls “a game changer.” “I can’t imagine a better indoor practice facility anywhere,” he said. “It’s already made a major impact for us. We’ve had more recruit visits than ever before, and it’s afforded our team with a huge and much-needed asset to prepare for the season.” Speaking of, for the past several years, the Cardinals have opened at home against an FCS team. Not so this year. Ball State jumps right into the fire with a Thursday, Sept. 1 trip to Knoxville, Tennessee, and a date with Southeastern Conference power Tennessee. “Talk about opportunity,” Coach Neu said. “Our kids get to play in front of 100,000-plus fans and show what they can do in one of college football’s most storied stadiums. I can’t think of a better way to start the year.” — Dan Forst, ’85

9/1 @ Tennessee 9/10 Western Michigan 9/17 Murray State (Family Weekend) 9/24 @ Georgia Southern 10/1 Northern Illinois 10/8 @ Central Michigan 10/15 UConn 10/22 Eastern Michigan (Homecoming) 11/1 @ Kent State 11/8 @ Toledo 11/15 Ohio 11/22 @ Miami

For ticket info and game times, visit

WE FLY / Summer 2022






race Hollars, ’19, knew from the time she was a child that she was destined for big things in the world of photojournalism. She just didn’t think they’d come this soon. “I come from a creative family, and ever since I was a child, I wanted to take photos,” Ms. Hollars said. “I never doubted myself, but I admit that I’m humbled by my recent awards.” A “BSU at the Games” and Daily News alum, where she covered two Olympics as a student photojournalist, Ms. Hollars has been a photographer for The Indianapolis Star since graduating from Ball State. In that role, she has excelled in the world of sports photography. Ms. Hollars, a Muncie native, was recently hailed as one of the world’s best sports photojournalists when she placed sixth in the prestigious and worldwide “Pictures of the Year International” competition for her portfolio of sports images. She was also honored for taking the 2021 “Indy Car Photo of the Year,” a compelling photo of the scarred hand of Indy Car driver Romain Grosjean. He was seriously burned during an accident in the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix Formula 1 race. “I believe that a good photo has to tell a vivid story,” Ms. Hollars said. “That lesson was instilled in me during my time at Ball State. And I give so much credit for my success to those there who always stood by me.” — Dan Forst, ’85

Left: Hollars’ 2021 “Indy Car Photo of the Year” of the scarred hand of racer Romain Grosjean accepting the 2nd place trophy at the GMR Grand Prix in Indianapolis. Top: Hollars’ award-winning “Pictures of the Year International” portfolio includes: A lone flagman framed by the sun and clouds at a small Indiana midget car dirt track. Middle: Helio Castroneves embracing the iconic Borg-Warner Trophy after winning his fourth Indianapolis 500 in 2021. Bottom: A swimmer’s goggles reflecting the Olympic rings at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Photos courtesy of Grace Hollars/Indianapolis Star

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Expectations of Excellence Three Ball State graduates are using their doctoral degrees and media visibility to inspire Indiana students to maximize their potential. By JB Bilbrey, MA ’19 MA ’20


Photo by Bobby Ellis, ’13

(Left to right) Drs. Brian Dinkins, Jason Smith, and Jeremy Coleman pose for a photo in front of student work inside Brookview Elementary School in Indianapolis, where Dr. Coleman is the principal.


Ball State University Alumni Magazine

eadership is a journey, walked by the mentors who came before us and the future leaders who will follow. Educators know that they have a responsibility to do more than follow in others’ footsteps. They acknowledge those who came before them while setting an example for the next generation. That is the mission of Teachers College doctoral graduates Drs. Jeremy Coleman, Brian Dinkins, and Jason Smith, lifelong friends who are working together to change the landscape of education in Indiana. Dr. Jeremy Coleman, ’03 MAE ’13 EdS ’19 EdD ’21, describes the journey in terms of legacy: “We are not here because we have done magnificent things by ourselves. We are only doing what the folks that came before us did so that we could have this opportunity. So, our mission is to lay the groundwork so that the next educators can come in and continue the work. … We know what this means for our kids and students, seeing professionalized, educated Black men at the doctorate level.” And their mission has received a lot of attention.

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Going viral In March 2021, Dr. Jason Smith, EdS ’19 EdD ’22, grabbed his clippers. A student at Warren Township Schools, where Dr. Smith was principal, refused to remove his hat when asked to do so. Rather than turning to discipline, Dr. Smith engaged the student in conversation and discovered the underlying issue was the student’s haircut. The student felt embarrassed about the line of his hair, and Dr. Smith recognized the moment as an opportunity to show compassion. He convinced the student that he knew how to cut hair and braved the winter weather to rush home to retrieve his clippers. As Dr. Smith fixed both the student’s hairline and confidence, a colleague took a photo and posted it to Facebook. It took off. “Dr. Smith set the world on fire,” said Dr. Dinkins, EdS ’15 EdD ’21, describing the media frenzy that followed the post. The story was covered by local new stations, USA Today, CNN, and People magazine. While he was not seeking media attention and didn’t even realize his picture was being taken, Dr. Smith recognized that he had a responsibility to use this increased visibility. In the subsequent interviews, Dr. Smith was joined by his childhood friends and fellow educators, Dr. Coleman and Dr. Dinkins. Their personalities, achievements, and mission elevated the story to be about the mentorship, leadership, and student empowerment they are fostering in public schools in the Indianapolis area. “We understand that we’re not an anomaly,” Dr. Dinkins said. “We’re not the only Black male educators who grew up

A photo of Dr. Jason Smith cutting the hair of a student in his school. This is the photo that went viral on social media, garnering media attention for Dr. Smith’s approach to leadership. Photo courtesy of Dr. Jason Smith.

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in tough conditions, went to inner-city high schools, and graduated with doctorate degrees. There are so many before us that have done that. But we see a responsibility of using our voice, our stories, our narrative, and our passion to raise awareness that there are a lot of Black men doing great work … so that future young people of color can say, ‘You know what? I want to be an educator. I want to be a principal.’”

Becoming the three doctors All three men pursued their doctoral degrees while in leadership roles in Indiana schools, which meant they had to do the program part-time. It took them six years to complete. “I almost quit the program three times,” Dr. Dinkins said with a laugh. “But we were truly fortunate to have professors who invested in us. They wouldn’t let us quit. I had taken some time off, and they came and encouraged me to finish.” Dr. Dinkins chose Ball State University’s Teachers College program because of its emphasis on urban education and the opportunity to investigate inequities in the education system. As he dove into the doctoral program, Dr. Dinkins realized the benefits it could have for Dr. Coleman and Dr. Smith in their careers, as well as the support system their involvement could provide him. “Dr. Dinkins is the vanguard,” said Dr. Coleman. “When big bro does something, Jason and I sit back and watch, then say, ‘Okay, big bro did it. Now we’re up next.’ So, Brian went. Then I went, and we recruited Jason.” But it took a bit of convincing to get Dr. Smith to join the doctoral program. “I watched (Dr. Dinkins and Dr. Coleman) in the program, and they kept telling me I needed to join in. And I kept thinking, ‘I can’t write that much. I’m not smart enough.’ But then I realized that I’ve been telling students and my own children to leave everything on the court, and it was time to start the process so that I don’t have any regrets. I needed to start fulfilling my potential and modeling that for the next generation.” Their first class in the doctoral program was with Dr. Marilynn Quick, a Teachers College icon. Dr. Quick has taught at Ball State for 20 years and has more than 40 years of experience as an educator in Indiana. “We all were baptized by fire in her class. She is peak Ball State graduate school,” Dr. Coleman said. “It’s not an easy course, but if you make it through, you’re Ball State material.” Dr. Quick relishes her reputation. “We never do anyone a favor to dummy-down and lower our standards. That doesn’t get anyone where they need to get in life,” she said. “You raise the expectations, and you say, ‘There’s no reason you can’t do amazing work that makes a difference in the world.’ And when you set the bar that high and people trust you, they’ll live up to it. The world isn’t going to change with mediocre work.” And these three men proved Dr. Quick right, rising to her high standards, excelling in their programs, and developing a lifelong relationship.

Dr. Jeremy Coleman interacts with two students at Brookview Elementary School in Indianapolis, where he is the principal. Dr. Coleman is using a passion for excellence learned at Ball State to support and inspire his young students. Photo courtesy of Dale Pickett Photography.

She still gets misty-eyed when telling the story of Dr. Dinkins at graduation: “I was on stage with Brian last summer hooding him, and he whispers, ‘Dr. Quick, I’m going to love you forever, like my second mom.’ And I’m on stage, in front of the whole audience, the President and the Provost, starting to cry. And that’s—that’s why we teach. We know we’ve had an impact on the lives of so many and can support them in the great work that they do for students across the state and the country.”

Mentoring in memory of the mentor-less All three of these educators can point to teachers, coaches, and principals throughout their lives who invested in them and set them on paths to be leaders in education. For Dr. Coleman, becoming an educator was less about who inspired him and more about those who never had a chance to be mentored. “I watched my brothers and my father, my own immediate family, make risky decisions and get locked up for their choices, impacting my family in a negative way,” he said. “And what that does to a child is it gives you that fork-in-theroad moment where you have to decide what you’re going to do about it. And I think it can be incredibly empowering or devastating. The choice is yours. “For me, it was a moment, a line in the sand, where I said I don’t want anybody else to see their father in handcuffs, to see their brothers in the back of a police car. I don’t want anybody else to have to live that life because I did,” Dr. Coleman continued. “And every day that I come to work, I think about the people that I know that didn’t have somebody to mentor them, to believe in them. I just think, ‘If only I could have been there for my brother, or my father,

I could have been that person to mentor them, and maybe their life would have turned out differently.’ ” The memory of friends and family, the hope he has for his community, and the potential he sees in his students motivates Dr. Smith to continue leading by example. With hundreds of students passing through the school where he is principal, Dr. Smith understands his opportunity to have an influence is tremendous. “I just don’t think there’s another profession that has that much of an impact and influence on society and people’s lives,” he said. What these three know, and what Dr. Quick taught them, is that by transforming one student’s life, you can transform hundreds of lives connected to that student. “That’s what we need to remember: everyone needs one caring teacher along their path. Someone who really cares about them.” Dr. Quick said. “It’s one teacher who says, ‘You’re better; you have opportunities.’ And all three of them had this.”

One educator, endless influence Now that they have received their degrees—and the recent media attention—new opportunities are appearing. The three men are speakers and presenters at national conferences. They are consistently using their platforms and visibility to inspire change. They are starting to become involved with organizations and committees that help identify and create pathways to educational leadership. Since beginning their doctoral programs, Drs. Coleman, Dinkins, and Smith have invited Dr. Quick to some of their classrooms. When she speaks of them, the pride in her voice is unmistakable. “All three of them seek, in every way they can, to make their corner of the world a better place.” 

WE FLY / Summer 2022



ary Kate Hopf, a senior this Fall from Jasper, Indiana, was more excited than nervous when she met Gary Vance, ’77, at Ball State’s 2021 Alumni & Benefactors Recognition Dinner. Mr. Vance is a renowned planner, architect, and author, and Ms. Hopf is an aspiring architect. The Homecoming Steering Committee member took a chance. “Hellos” quickly turned into personal stories and professional goals. After 45 years in the business, Mr. Vance said he “knew Mary Kate was a good bet,” minutes into their conversation. “Send me your résumé by noon tomorrow,” he urged. She sent it by sunrise. Nine days later, Ms. Hopf had a summer internship at Gresham Smith in Nashville—her “top pick since freshman year.” “Meeting Gary was a surreal moment,” Ms. Hopf said. “In no time, he kickstarted my place in the architecture world. I am forever grateful to him, and it has inspired me to one day return the favor.” Mr. Vance smiled as Ms. Hopf, who is majoring in Architecture and Spanish, relayed her excitement and gratitude. The Indiana native built his career with the help of mentors, and he now feels called to connect, guide, and inspire. Beneficence is reward enough, Mr. Vance said, but he also points out that mentor-mentee relationships are not one sided. He has gained perspective and support from mentees; and he encourages other mentors to maximize their relationships. “Anyone who only sees mentorship as a one-way street is not considering the full possibilities,” said Mr. Vance, a 2010 R. Wayne Estopinal College of Architecture and Planning Distinguished Alumnus Award winner, who, in 2019, collaborated with his family to produce the Kid Architect book series. Ms. Hopf and other mentees have promoted the series on social media or read and reviewed drafts. Emily (McGowan) McGee, ’11, a medical planner and design professional for HOK in Washington, D.C., has several Kid Architect books at the office. Mr. Vance has nominated Ms. McGee for a number of awards, including the American Institute of Architects 2022 Associates Award. She wrote a blog about her path to architecture for the Kid Architect website. “Mentoring is indeed a two-way street,” said Ms. McGee, who has written reference letters for Mr. Vance and connected him to projects. “One of the benefits of being a mentee is to infuse fresh ideas, inspirations, and perspectives to the mentor.”

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Maximize Your Mentoring

A Ball State priority Ball State is invested in these transformative relationships. The University’s strategic plan, Destination 2040: Our Flight Path, states the goal that “every graduate has access to a coach or mentor.” In 2019, Ball State launched Cardinals Connect, an interactive platform that features events, job posts, and professional and personal development opportunities. Two years later, the Miller College of Business piloted the SOAR Program to imbed mentoring into a required course. Roughly 85 percent of SOAR mentors and mentees plan to stay connected after the semester. Nicole Yankauskas, ’11, is a SOAR mentor. The director of personal finance at Avalon Wealth Advisory in Indianapolis stresses the ease and accessibility of the program, which includes a guide of expectations and conversation starters. “I have loved getting to know my mentee as a person, a student, and an undeniable leader among her peers,” Ms. Yankauskas said. “Staying connected with the next generation of thought leaders helps open my eyes to new ideas, trends, desires, and habits that I apply to my own life and business or share with others who may benefit.”

Relationships between students and mentors provide benefits to both sides. By Kate H. Elliott

Evolving definitions of mentorship Dawn Araujo-Hawkins, ’10, attended classes across McKinley Avenue as a double major in Magazine Media and French. The Christian Century news editor urges a broad interpretation of “mentoring.” Although Ms. Araujo-Hawkins has not developed a lasting professional bond with any Ball State students, she has shared her career and advice with dozens of aspiring journalists, virtually from her home in Kansas City, Missouri. She has responded to students’ questions and connected them with colleagues. “Perhaps you don’t have the time for a longterm, formal mentoring relationship—but sharing your real-life experience and being open to questions is always helpful to someone,” she said. “I think this is even more critical for students from marginalized demographics who are often excluded from ‘good old boys’ networks, which generate a lot of insider professional advice and opportunities.” Mr. Vance couldn’t agree more. He encourages mentors and mentees to build relationships with people from diverse backgrounds and in industries outside their own. “All of us should gather a mentoring team of personal and professional supporters,” he said. “Imagine how much richer our lives would be with an even broader network.” 

Gary Vance, ’77, has discovered his mentorship efforts, including those with Mary Kate Hopf, provide him a professional benefit, too.

Photo by Bobby Ellis, ’13

Visit or contact the Ball State Alumni Association to learn more about connecting with Cardinals past and present.

WE FLY / Summer 2022




all State graduates are empowered to lead meaningful lives after their time at the University. For some, the most meaningful path returns them to Muncie and back to the classroom, where they lead and inspire the next generation of students. These individuals embody the Beneficence Pledge and add depth to the Ball State community, but they each also bring a new personality, new story, and meaningful perspective to the University. Here are just a few of the many who have journeyed from students to faculty at Ball State:

Samantha Frantz / Teachers Colle



By JB Bilbrey, MA ’19

32 Ball State University Alumni Magazine

MA ’20

hand-painted llama. Mexican candy. Children’s drawings of pugs. Samantha Frantz’s eclectic office is indicative of her life: wonderful adventures and ripples of impact. As a student, Ms. Frantz didn’t come to Ball State to pursue teaching, but an experience volunteering at Hazelwood Christian Preschool near campus changed her path. “I remember we were building something with blocks, and one of the preschoolers that I had been working with made a connection with the blocks. I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, this is it. I helped him do that. This is what I’m supposed to do.’” Ms. Frantz said. “I changed my major that day and have been in Elementary Education ever since.” After graduating from Ball State’s Teacher College and teaching for two years in Indiana, Ms. Frantz took a job in Tucson, Arizona. There, she grew as an educator—the results of which are displayed across her office in the numerous children’s drawings of cacti, lizards, and llamas. Reflecting on these gifts from students and parents helps Ms. Frantz remember the importance of her work. “I still get texts from parents, just checking in on me,” she said. “I’ve saved a couple of really sweet ones because you don’t realize the impact you’re having.” After five years of teaching in Tucson, Ms. Franz returned to Indiana to be with her family. When a position became available at Teachers College, she knew it was time to increase the scope of her positive impact in education.

ge, ’14 MA ’16 Assistant Lecturer of Elementary


“It’s a big change from kids to adults. But the way I look at it, I can touch the lives of students I’m teaching in the classroom, and then they move on,” Ms. Frantz said. “But here, I’m teaching preservice teachers and influencing them. Then they go to their classroom and influence students year, after year, after year.” The ripples of her influence will continue, growing wider by the years, as Ms. Frantz further establishes herself at Ball State.

WE FLY / Summer 2022


Spencer Coile /

College of Communication, Informa tion, and Media, MA ’17

Assistant Lecturer of Communication Studies Director of the Speech Team


ith an overabundance of popular media available to consume, declaring what is best, or even what is good, can be fraught with criticism. Spencer Coile welcomes it: “I don’t believe in guilty pleasures. You like what you like.” Despite what students might jokingly suggest in the evaluations of his popular culture class, Mr. Coile has no qualms about his Taylor Swift references and his love for cats. Though he is careful to note that he is “catmonogamous” and only has room in his life for his one cat, Laura Dern. But of all Mr. Coile’s topics, there is nothing about which he is more passionate than the speech team. For him, the speech team is a way of life. The speech team functions like any other sports team—coaches, rosters, constant practice. It is a competition that requires hours of preparation and commitment. But there are elements of creativity involved, for speech is also an art in which, as Mr. Coile put it, “people discover their voice.” That was his experience when he was introduced to speech competition in sixth grade and discovered that it was a combination of theater, performance, and competition.


Ball State University Alumni Magazine

Mr. Coile competed for the next 10 years. Looking back, he recognizes that discovering the speech team “shaped everything I did after that.” Ball State has won the Indiana state speech championship for 10 consecutive years and placed at the national tournament for the past six years. This reputation, along with the opportunity to be one of the team’s graduate assistant coaches, brought Mr. Coile to Ball State as a student for his master’s degree in Communications. The opportunity to be the director of Ball State’s speech team brought him back in 2021. In his first year as director, the team has maintained its winning reputation while keeping the team’s alumni involved. “I don’t want to lose any of the connective tissue of the past,” Mr. Coile explained. “There’s all these traditions and folklore of the team. For example, we decorate the team room every year for state competition. So, when we get ready at six in the morning for the competition, the team is surrounded by pictures of alumni and encouraging notes from them on the walls.” Mr. Coile realizes that they may not know who many of the graduates are, but one day it will be their faces on the wall, cheering on the speech teams of the future.

ies, ’17 MA ’21

and Humanit Emilie Schiess / College of Sciences

Assistant Lecturer of English


tarting her freshman year, Emilie Schiess folded one paper crane a day. After 1,000 days, in her junior year, she had completed a multi-colored paper crane work of art. The paper crane sculpture has hung in her dorm room during undergrad, her apartment during her graduate program, and now hangs in her faculty office in the Robert Bell Building. The cranes are a colorful embodiment of Ms. Schiess’ migration from Ball State English student to faculty member. Ms. Schiess has spent a significant amount of her nearly 10 years in the Robert Bell Building in the Writing Center. Throughout her eight years as a tutor, she held 616 sessions—the third largest number of sessions by a single tutor in the history of the Writing Center. Those tutoring experiences allowed her to collaborate with peers, be mentored by faculty, and grow as a teacher. “When you’re one-on-one with a student, you truly get to see what they care about and what’s happening with their writing,” Ms. Schiess said.

“When I was an instructor during graduate school, I discovered that what students couldn’t say in the classroom they told me when I was their tutor.” Ms. Schiess incorporates her tutoring experience and her research on writing anxiety into her teaching, with impactful results. In 2020, she was honored with the Ball State Excellence in Teaching Master’s Level award, and in 2021 she won the Ball State Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching award. But even with the accolades, Ms. Schiess doesn’t settle for doing the same thing over and over again. “After I teach, I go home and think about what could I have done better? Or what do my students need?” Ms. Schiess asked. “So, I try and look at everything around me as potential teaching material, and I try to impart that thinking to my students: you’re always surrounded by things to learn about and people to learn from.”

WE FLY / Summer 2022


Dr. Betsy Pike / College of Communica tio

n, Information, and Me

dia, MA ’07

Assistant Professor of Media


r. Betsy Pike returned to teach at Ball State because of the people. “I’ve worked, taught, and been a student at three different universities, and the Ball State Department of Media is one of the best I’ve ever worked in,” Dr. Pike said. “Everybody gets along. Everybody has a voice. It feels great coming back. It’s like I never left.” Dr. Pike came to Ball State in 2005 for the Digital Storytelling master’s program (now called the Media master’s degree). “What’s so neat about the degree is you learn academic theory and hands-on production techniques.” she said. “It’s not an MFA program where you are only doing the production and art side, nor is it solely academic. It’s a blend of each with a focus on visual storytelling. So, I had the opportunity to produce many creative works in the program.” Now teaching at Ball State, Dr. Pike is developing a freshman production course that enables students to create media in their first year, concurrently with their theory courses. In a shift away from a theory-focused first year, students will be exposed to creative projects and media theory simultaneously as freshmen, allowing them to discover their interests and talents early on in their time at Ball State.

Austin Hostetter / Miller College of Business, ’13 MA ’21

Assistant Lecturer of Marketing


ustin Hostetter’s professional career began in an apartment just off campus. In his senior year as a student, Mr. Hostetter lived with three roommates in a 700-square-foot apartment. With low lighting, empty pizza boxes, and a lot of gumption, Mr. Hostetter and his roommate Chris Wilkey, ’13 MBA ’16 MA ’18, started Hosskey Consulting, a digital marketing freelance company. At the time, digital marketing was relatively new. Young, ambitious, and willing to take a risk, Mr. Hostetter and Mr. Wilkey seized the moment to capitalize on a new form of marketing. Their venture quickly attracted the attention and support of their professors, many of whom Mr. Hostetter still runs into in the hallways of the Whitinger Building. Their consulting venture started rocky but eventually gained traction. As time went on, their profitable business caught attention and merged with a larger agency. After working there for several years, Mr. Hostetter returned to Ball State to pursue a master’s degree in Emerging Media Design and Development. Back on campus, he reconnected with his former business partner— now assistant lecturer in the Miller College of Business—Chris Wilkey. Upon graduating from the master’s program, Mr. Hostetter knew the next move was to follow in Mr. Wilkey’s footsteps and venture into teaching. Now back on campus as faculty, years after he took a risky leap of Hosskey Consulting, and only a few blocks away from the apartment where it all started, Professor Hostetter is teaching the next generation of entrepreneurs in digital marketing.

36 Ball State University Alumni Magazine

ge of Arch Emile Dixon / R. Wayne Estopinal Colle

itecture and Planning,


Instructor of Architecture


ike the look of the new Multicultural Center on campus? Thank instructor Emile Dixon. His initial designs date back to when he was an undergrad student in 2009. At the time, he recognized that Ball State’s campus climate wasn’t what it could be, and crafted designs for a new center that would better serve Ball State’s diverse student population. Returning in 2017 as a faculty member in the R. Wayne Estopinal College of Architecture and Planning and a full-time practicing architect, he finally had the chance to turn those dreams into reality. As part of the design team for Ball State’s new Multicultural Center, he split his time on campus between teaching class and overseeing the project’s development. His on-the-ground experience as a practicing architect is a great advantage to his students. “I’m always bringing what’s in the real world back to the classroom to prepare my students for what they will face,” he says. This emphasis on real-world experience is part of Mr. Dixon’s background. Before starting as a student at Ball State, he was constructing houses with his father and uncle. One of their contracts was the colorful Millennium Place affordable housing on Madison Street in Muncie. Primarily due to his background, Mr. Dixon remains grounded in the effect of architecture on local communities. From the high tower of the Architecture Building, he instills these values in his students: “I give my students the real-world perspective. That mindset makes a lot of difference in the design and teaching process. Whatever they don’t know, I don’t leave them to figure it out. My job is to teach it to them right then and there.” 

WE FLY / Summer 2022


Ball State student Cameron West (left) sits with graduate Stephon Jones during a mock job interview at the University’s Career Center.

TEACHING THE VALUE OF ENGAGED NETWORKING Graduate Stephon Jones mentors students, serves on Ball State councils and advisory boards. BY LANDA BAGLEY


tephon Jones, ’85, has mentored eight Ball State students, a high school and a middle school student from his local YMCA in Indianapolis, and actively engages with 20 young business executives from various parts of the United States. Well, that’s one way to spend time as a recent retiree. But Mr. Jones wouldn’t have it any other way. “I’ve been blessed with a series of gifts and achievements. It’s selfish to keep to myself those things that helped me,” Mr. Jones said. Many of those things that helped Mr. Jones, he said, were rooted in his college experience at Ball State. “I’m really proud of the opportunities I had, and the relationships I built, at Ball State,” Mr. Jones said. “I got a chance to interact with my professors one on one. I’ve had faculty advisors in my fraternity who I was very close to—like Dr. Hal Chase, who’s still a hero of mine. Those interactions with professors and faculty—like Robert Foster, the director of Special Programs at the time—helped me, even with non-academic issues.” Particularly impactful on Mr. Jones was the support he received from the Ball State community when his mother died unexpectedly around the start of his sophomore year. “It was quite devastating,” he recalled. “I could’ve given up on completing college, but I had a lot of support from the faculty and the students around me. They gave me the confidence to finish.” Mr. Jones is equally grateful for the education he received at Ball State, and the opportunities, in and out of the classroom, to lead and engage with others. He became captain of the Cardinals men’s track team, and got involved with the campus’ Black Student Association, eventually serving as the association’s president during his senior year. One of the biggest lessons Mr. Jones learned at Ball State, a lesson he wants to impart upon current Ball State students, is the value of networking. “I want to make sure students learn how to network. A degree is great. But if you don’t have somebody pushing you or willing to vouch for you and your skills, then you may miss out on a lot of opportunities—even if you are fully qualified for those positions,” Mr. Jones explained. Mr. Jones’ Ball State experience helped put him on the path to a fulfilling career in consulting, and a meaningful life overall. After graduating from Ball State with a Bachelor of Science degree in Management Information Systems from Miller College of Business, he

served for 10 years in the U.S. Army—where he rose to the rank of Captain. He has lived on four continents. Recently, he retired from CDK Global, formerly a division of ADP. But the words “retirement” and “inactivity” are not synonymous for Mr. Jones. He remains involved with Ball State in many ways. He is president of the Ball State Black Alumni Council (formerly known as the Black Alumni Constituent Society); is an at-large member of the Ball State Alumni Council; is chair of the Miller Leadership Academy Advisory Board; and is a mentor for Miller College of Business’ SOAR (Success, Opportunity, Acumen, and Readiness) program. Mr. Jones also makes time to interact with undergraduates in his fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha, and regularly volunteers at his church and local YMCA. “It’s very important for alumni to be available to our undergrads, to be mentors, and to get them prepared,” Mr. Jones said. Specifically, he mentioned the emergence of mentoring programs within Ball State’s colleges and Career Center that provide opportunities for graduates to conduct mock job interviews with students for practice. “I did not make it on my own. Ball State gave me a great step up,” Mr. Jones added. “People along my path helped me get to where I’m at. It’s my turn to make sure I’m providing help for others to find their path. Hopefully, every alum will want to do that.” Mike Earley, ’78, chair of the Ball State Alumni Council, thinks Mr. Jones’ engagement and activity with the University can inspire other graduates to do the same. “I have found Stephon to be a leader and an individual who is willing to get engaged and do what it takes to bring people along with him in support of the strategies of our University,” Mr. Earley said. “He has the ability to communicate in a way that people quickly buy into what he is saying.” 

Like Mr. Jones, students Jarron Tichenor (left) and Sheraun Byrdsong are both members of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. The three display the fraternity’s greeting gesture—a sign of pride for an organization that played a key role in Mr. Jones’ networking path as a student. Photos by Bobby Ellis, ’13

38 Ball State University Alumni Magazine

WE FLY / Summer 2022




Continuing His Ball State Connection CAP alum has offered industry opportunities to other CAP graduates, hopes to do the same for current students.

2800 W. Bethel Ave. Muncie, IN 47304 765-285-1080 Toll Free: 888-I-GO-4-BSU ballstatealumni

A New Path, Focused on You and Mentoring

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In any organization, success requires an ability to adapt and evolve with the times. For the Alumni Association at Ball State, evolution—with the unchanged mission to best serve our more than 207,500 alumni—requires a shift from focusing on events to placing a strategic emphasis on meaningful engagement with our alumni. One of the primary tenants of our new approach is to ensure our organization works even closer in support of the University’s strategic plan. We will do this by enhancing our offerings to our impressive network of graduates and, in the process, leveraging our engagement with alumni to advance a goal of strengthening and growing mentorship opportunities for students and alumni. We know alumni bases are increasingly dominated by Gen Z, Millennials, and Gen X with different mindsets, behaviors, and preferences for engagement and philanthropy. As such, alumni organizations are shifting away from events driving engagement, and instead are aligning their activities to strategic priorities. As part of the Alumni Association’s work, a renewed priority is mentoring. Our goal is for each Ball State student and graduate to have access to a coach or mentor to help them develop and execute a lifetime learning plan. An existing program, Cardinals Connect, provides the primary framework for advancing and improving mentoring programs at our University. Through this platform, the alumni engagement team and Career Center work together to establish and promote an institution-wide, best-practice model for coaching and mentoring. As we refine our approach in the coming months, we will identify and implement a segmented mentoring strategy that includes alumni-to-student and alumni-to-alumni. This approach differentiates Ball State and our Alumni Association with a strategic engagement model to make tangible differences in our students’ and alumni lives. Change is inevitable and necessary for all organizations—it is a sign of growth. Our Alumni Association is excited to embrace this innovative, engaging path forward. We do so, as always, motivated to provide services and support that enrich your life and the lives of all students and alumni at Ball State University. — Mike Earley (center in photo), ’78, Alumni Council Chair; Ball State Trustees Brian Gallagher, ’81 HD ’03 (left in photo), and Henry Hall, ’93


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Photo courtesy of Workshop Media

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all State University graduate Jeff Kingsbury’s connection to his alma mater didn’t end with his graduation. In fact, Mr. Kingsbury—a 1991 graduate from the R. Wayne Estopinal College of Architecture and Planning (CAP)—has taken that tie to another level. He is creating industry-related opportunities for CAP graduates and finding ways to do the same for current students. One of Mr. Kingsbury’s latest efforts has come with Electric Works, a multi-million dollar development in Fort Wayne, Indiana, led by Ancora Partners, of which Mr. Kingsbury is a principal. As a public-private partnership, Electric Works involves planning, development, and construction of a site with mixed uses, including retail, office, education, innovation, entertainment, and residential. More than 100 Ball State alumni have been involved with the planning, design, development, and construction of Electric Works. As of Spring 2022, the project’s first and second phases were under construction—representing an investment of about $415 million. “This year, we plan to work with the programs of Ball State’s CAP—Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Urban Planning, Urban Design, Construction Management, Interior Design, Historic Preservation—to create immersive learning opportunities,” Mr. Kingsbury said. “My hope is that we can expand the partnership and give Ball State University faculty and students in every college an opportunity to work across disciplines on a real, high-profile project,” he added. “A project like Electric Works is careerdefining. But to hopefully make a difference in your home state and your hometown makes it very special.” Mr. Kingsbury earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Design and a Bachelor of Urban Planning and Development. As a student, he served on the University’s

Board of Trustees from 1989 to 1991. Recently, he has served on the University’s Alumni Council. His connection to Ball State began a long time ago. Mr. Kingsbury’s mother was a first-generation college graduate from Ball State Teachers College. And his great-grandfather was a carpenter who worked on the University’s Elliott Hall. Given how Mr. Kingsbury has connected many CAP graduates with Electric Works, with intentions of offering similar opportunities for current and future students, it’s clear his Ball State connection will remain strong and impactful. — Landa Bagley

Students from the R. Wayne Estopinal College of Architecture and Planning (CAP), such as this pupil working on an Urban Planning project, stand to benefit greatly from any immersive learning opportunities made possible by Ball State CAP graduate and successful real estate developer Jeff Kingsbury, ’91.

WE FLY / Summer 2022


I am grateful for all of the donors because they provided me with many opportunities here at Ball State. I want to be able to give back in the future, both to society and to students, the way donors have given to me.”

Isabelle Behrman, ’22 Chemistry and Spanish Foundation Top 100 Student

Give to your favorite areas and passions so students like Isabelle can continue to fly.

Nominations for the 2022–23 Ball State University Foundation Top 100 Student Awards open at the beginning of the academic year at


CARDINAL PRIDE Reunited 50 Years Later The R. Wayne Estopinal College of Architecture and Planning celebrated the 50th anniversary of its first graduating class from the college. Delayed a year by the pandemic, 15 of the 34 1971 graduates (pictured here) were able to visit Ball State for three days in April. The group toured the building and campus, had dinner with President Geoffrey S. Mearns, gave presentations, listened to thesis presentations from current students, and reconnected with each other and the college.

Ball State Experience is Her Foundation K elly Hartman, ’89 MA ’91, confesses that Ball State chose her rather than her choosing Ball State. The University recognized her talents and awarded her a scholarship at its annual Journalism Day for being the best “in-depth” editor for high school newspapers across the state. From there, she said her college decision was an easy one. With a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology, Ms. Hartman has worked in the public sector for more than 32 years, helping people with intellectual and developmental disabilities live their best lives. Recently, Ms. Hartman, the president and CEO of Insights Consulting, Inc., returned to Ball State to teach ENT 244: Social Entrepreneurship as an adjunct professor. For Ms. Hartman, her proudest moment as a faculty member is when a student comes to her and says she changed their life. And in regards to her own experience, she has nothing but praise for her alma mater. “Ball State was instrumental in forming who I am today,” Ms. Hartman said. “I have enjoyed great success in life at so many levels, and at the foundation of that is my time at Ball State.” — Jake Williams, ’05 MA ’09 Above: Taylor, Kelly Hartman, and Alex (L to R) from Outside the Box’s CAMP CREATE U raise money at a golf outing for the Williams Syndrome Association.

Photo courtesy of Riley Hill Photography


Gary Crask, ’67, Bloomington, Ind., is the co-writer/ producer/director and actor for Spirits of St. Paul. The film depicts the gangster era in St. Paul, Minn., in the 1920s and 30s and won three film festival awards. Spirits of St. Paul can be streamed on Amazon Prime. Mr. Crask also has several books to his credit.


Michael Holtz, ’71, Boulder, Colo., was awarded the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning 2022 Distinguished Alumnus Award for his contributions in the fields of energy, renewable energy, and sustainable architectural design and research. Mr. Holtz also received the 1983 Distinguished Alumni Award from Ball State and the 2001 Distinguished Alumnus Award from the R. Wayne Estopinal College of Architecture and Planning. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and a Fellow of the American Solar Energy Society.

Peter J Nye, ’72, Kirksville, Mo., published a feature in the Winter issue of Humanities Magazine titled, “The Fastest Man on Two Wheels: Meet Major Taylor, the Trailblazing International Superstar of Cycling.” The article highlights Major Taylor, an Indianapolis native, a pioneer Black athlete in professional sports, who won three national cycling championships in the late 1980s.

Ball State University BallState ballstateuniversity ballstate officialballstate ballstateuniversity

Lifelong Muncie resident Carl Kizer Jr., ’73, in January was presented with the 2022 MuncieDelaware County Chamber of Commerce Legacy Award. Mr. Kizer, owner of Kizer’s Carpet Care, was recognized for his extraordinary, sustained, and positive contributions to the Muncie-Delaware County community at large. (Photo courtesy of Jordan Kartholl / USA TODAY NETWORK)

WE FLY / Summer 2022




Gary F. Scharnhorst, MA ’73, Albuquerque, N.M., published The Life of Mark Twain: The Final Years 1891-1910. This publication is the last of a three-volume biography series that chronicles the life of Samuel Clemens. Mr. Scharnhorst is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of New Mexico. He is the author or editor of more than 50 books to date.

Charles S. Smith, ’94, Indianapolis, was appointed to the Defense Trial Counsel of the Indiana Board of Directors. Mr. Smith is a Schultz & Pogue, LLP partner specializing in personal injury defense, insurance coverage, product liability, and construction litigation. Elizabeth Rowray, ’96, is the new President and CEO of the MuncieDelaware County Chamber of Commerce and the Chief Economic Development Officer of the Delaware Advancement Corporation. Ms. Rowray also represents District 35 of the Indiana House of Representatives. (Photo courtesy of Wrigley Media Group.)

Robert Joseph “Joe” Barr, ’74, Tijeras, N.M., and his wife, Marilyn, ’67, founded and have grown a business called Desert Plastics. Among their product lines is Wild Life Toy Box, the largest manufacturer of animal enrichment toys in the United States. Their products are sold mainly to zoos and wildlife sanctuaries. Timothy J. Treon, ’74, Hilton Head, S.C., is an avid runner, winning multiple awards in track for his state, the United States, and was even world-ranked from 2016 to 2020. In 2022, Mr. Treon achieved All-American status in four events.

Chantel M. Sparks, ’96, Bargersville, Ind., started her journey at Indiana Members Credit Union in 1993. Ms. Sparks held various positions within the organization and was recently promoted to vice president of human resources.


Jay R. Puckett, ’85, Brownsburg, Ind., was promoted to Senior Vice President and Senior Lending Officer for Hendricks County Bank and Trust Company. Mr. Puckett joined the bank in 2018 and has more than 35 years of lending experience. Tracy A. Dunn, ’87, Parrish, Fla., retired after 33 years working in the federal government for the uniformed corps, NOAA. This agency investigates violations of living marine resource laws and regulations.


Blake A. Blanch, ’94, Carmel, Ind., was named Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Kittle Property Group, Inc. His new role oversees all of the company’s finance, compliance, and information technology departments.

2000s They say the friends you make in college are the ones you keep for a lifetime. This saying certainly holds true for John “Tim” English, ’72, Fishers, Ind.; Doug Jarrett, ’72, Muncie, Mark Miller, ’72, Bluffton, Ind.; Steve Wagner, ’73, Littleton, Colo.; and Dean Eshelman, ’74, Kokomo, Ind. The “Ball State Gang,” who met in Williams Hall, celebrated their first New Year’s together in 1972 and have continued that tradition ever since. This year made their 50th year, except for Mr. Eshelman, who passed in 2016; his wife Jennifer carries on the practice. They all made sure to sport their Ball State gear. They are pictured with their wives: Anne Wagner, Jennifer Eshleman, Anita English, Kathy Miller, and Joyce Jarrett.

Chirp! Chirp! Your chance to share feedback. Our staff strives to serve and engage our readers at the highest level while illuminating the many great, inspiring stories Ball State University and its alumni have to offer. Occasionally, we check in with our readers to ensure we are meeting your preferences for consuming our work. Please go to or scan the QR code to the right to complete a brief, anonymous questionnaire. It will take less than five minutes of your time, but your answers will provide invaluable information. Thank you in advance for your willingness to participate. — Greg Fallon, ’04, Alumni Magazine Editor

44 Ball State University Alumni Magazine

Kristina S. Ball, AA ’00, released her third book titled, Screaming in Autopilot, a collection of poetry exploring childhood trauma, heartache, alcoholism, and recovery. She has also penned two children’s books. Amy Brin, ’00, was appointed to the National Institutes of Health’s National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke Council. She is the executive director and CEO of the Child Neurology Foundation. Ms. Brin is a board-certified pediatric advanced practice nurse and a published author and a public speaker. “My time at Ball State remains one of my most fruitful life experiences,” said Ms. Brin, who earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Communications. Michael A. Guillen, ’00, Monroe, N.Y., was promoted to Art Director of News Features at the New York Post. Mr. Guillen has been with the publication since 2011 as a senior features designer. Cecily Fox, ’08, Noblesville, Ind.; Naomi Leeman, ’08, Solomons, Md.; and Josh Perkins, ’08, Muncie, Landscape Architecture majors from the class of 2008, have all started businesses in landscape design. Ms. Fox designs and produces fresh-cut floral arrangements for Sweet Peas Flower Farm. Perkins’ endeavor, Plant Studio Landscape, focuses on residential and commercial landscaping. Leeman and her husband, Brad, brought to the market a playset (SwingSesh) that seamlessly combines a home gym with a playground to allow adults to work out while the kids play.

Alumnus Elected NAEPB President How does Jeffrey Mittman represent Ball State University’s enduring value of social responsibility? A prime example is his recent election as president of the National Association for the Employment for People Who Are Blind (NAEPB). Mr. Mittman, MA ’11 MBA ’13, the president and CEO of Bosma Enterprises in Indianapolis, feels an obligation to strengthen and maximize opportunities for people who are blind or visually impaired. “These opportunities are within the areas of public policy, business relations, and employment,” Mr. Mittman said. Communities are then impacted when these individuals can participate within their neighborhoods and make financial contributions, he added. Mr. Mittman said his time as a Ball State student provided him with a sound foundation for his professional and organizational obligations. He earned a Master of Art in Executive Development for Public Service and a Master of Business Administration, sharpening his skills in business operations, strategic planning, and finance. Mr. Mittman said his favorite Ball State class was statistics, because he loved the variety of stories that could be told with numbers. Now he’s helping shape others’ stories by influencing the policies and actions that affect the employment of people who are blind or visually impaired.


Karen L. Fisher, MAR ’12, Fort Wayne, Ind., was made partner at Barton-Coe-Vilamaa Architects & Engineers. Former law clerk Payne R. Horning, ’15, Marcellus, N.Y., was named an associate at Barclay Damon after being admitted to the New York State Bar. Mr. Horning will be working out of their Syracuse office. Ashley VanSickle, MAE ’18, Loves Park, Ill., was one of five awarded the prestigious Golden Apple Award that recognizes teachers for making a difference in their communities and their commitment to educational excellence. VanSickle teaches seventh and eighth grade Social Studies at Harlem Middle School in Loves Park.

Lindsey Martin Ford, ’08 MS ’11, Brevard, N.C., is the lead registered dietitian at Skyterra Wellness Retreat in Brevard, where she works alongside three other Ball State graduates near the Blue Ridge Mountains. Alexander M. Beeman, ’09 MS ’11, Anderson, Ind., was elevated to shareholder status at Reminger, Co., LPA. Mr. Beeman works out of the Indianapolis office, focusing on general liability litigation, worker’s compensation, insurance/bad faith liability, trucking and transportation, and probate. Please visit to find “In Memoriam” notices of alumni deaths. The site also shares stories from past print issues, and unique online content.


Walker Humphrey, ’22, Muncie, will celebrate the publication of his first book, He Never Complained: Stories of an Everyday Man, this Summer from MT Publishing. He will pursue his master’s degree in Library Science this Fall.

WE FLY / Summer 2022


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The information presented here, correct at the time of publication, is subject to change. Ball State University practices equal opportunity in education and employment and is strongly and actively committed to diversity within its community.

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