IUPUI bestows its prestigious Spirit of Philanthropy Award upon donors, volunteers

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Spirit of Philanthropy Award, one of the most esteemed philanthropy awards given by the campus, will be presented to generous benefactors on April 14 at the 2015 Spirit of Philanthropy luncheon and ceremony at the Indiana Roof Ballroom.

For 26 years, the Spirit of Philanthropy Award has been presented to individuals and organizations that have demonstrated dedication and commitment to the academic and cultural well-being of IUPUI and its faculty, staff and students through generous donations, volunteerism and other notable investments.  

“It is essential that we continue to raise the awareness of the contributions philanthropy makes to higher education and the enormous impact it has on research, teaching, scholarships and other projects,” said IUPUI Chancellor Charles R. Bantz. ”This is just one way to pay tribute to the awardees' exceptional generosity, dedication and civic vision.”  

Sponsored by IUPUI, the IU Foundation and the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI, the luncheon will be emceed by Barbara Lewis, a well-known television and radio broadcast journalist and host of the "Business of Health" segment on "Inside Indiana Business with Gerry Dick."

Schools and units on the IUPUI campus are invited to select corporations, foundations and individuals as award recipients. Those being honored at the 2015 IUPUI Spirit of Philanthropy luncheon, and the respective unit bestowing each award, are:

Richard and Diane Billings
IU School of Nursing

Dr. Richard and Diane Billings have exemplified the spirit of philanthropy at IUPUI for more than 40 years. Their first gift was the establishment of the Gerry Jacobsen Award, to honor the wife of Richard’s partner in veterinary practice. They have continued this commitment through gifts to the Emily Holmquist Lectureship, the Schweer Continuing Education Lectures, the McBride Professorship and the Bepko Scholars and Fellows Program. Their gifts to the Richard and Diane Billings Faculty Award for Scholarship in Teaching support best practices in teaching.

Their dedication is also seen in service to the School of Nursing: Diane is the chancellor’s professor emeritus at the school, was a leader for technology committees on campus and played a vital role in numerous school events, including the 100th anniversary celebration.

The Abramovich Family
Purdue School of Science at IUPUI
Yuri Abramovich was a world-renowned mathematician and professor of mathematical sciences at the School of Science. He was an engaging and animated colleague and a passionately devoted mathematics researcher and educator. As director of graduate programs, he improved the learning environment for graduate students. Abramovich and IUPUI professors Roko Aliprantis and Owen Burkinshaw teamed to form the world’s leading mathematical school on Banach lattices and ordered structures. He collaborated with scientists around the world, and his contributions to mathematics were of lasting value; his name was associated with many important scientific discoveries. Abramovich died after a four-year battle with cancer in 2003. In his honor, the Abramovich family established the Yuri Abramovich Memorial Scholarship. This fund has inspired a spirit of philanthropy throughout the School of Science, with many of Abramovich’s colleagues and friends honoring his legacy with additional contributions.

Ali Jafari
Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI
Director of the Cyberlab and a professor of computer and information technology in the School of Engineering and Technology, Ali Jafari has earned worldwide recognition for his innovative research and information technology expertise in e-learning and professional online network environments, such as the ANGLE Learning, Inc. and the Epsilen Environment. His expertise in technology translates research ideas into Web-based programs that enhance the education process for students on the IUPUI campus, as well as being marketable technologies for the general public. Jafari’s innovative spirit extends to his philanthropy. He is responsible for launching the Jafari Graduate Fellows program, asking that each fellowship recipient reach back when they are able to provide philanthropic support for those who will follow.

Barbara D. Jackson
IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI
In 1974, educated as a socio-cultural anthropologist at Hunter College and the University of Minnesota, Professor Emerita Barbara Jackson became the first chair of the School of Liberal Arts' new anthropology department, helping build a department that would become noted for its deep community engagement. Her pioneering spirit continued as a founding faculty member of the IUPUI Women's Studies program and University College. She also served as associate dean in both Liberal Arts and University College, contributing in yet another way to IUPUI's mission and development. Through philanthropy, Jackson has ensured that the Department of Anthropology has a strong foundation for the future with the Manuela Reynolds Award, in memory of her mother; the Barbara D. Jackson Lectureship in Anthropology; and the Barbara D. Jackson Endowed Chair in Anthropology.

Essilor of America
IU School of Optometry
Essilor of America has supported optometric education and research for decades and has been particularly kind to the IU School of Optometry. Essilor funded vision research at the school’s Borish Center for Ophthalmic Research, which has an established reputation as an internationally recognized translational research center. Essilor has also supported students through multiple programs, helped continuing education programs enlist nationally ranked speakers for the annual Borish Symposium and partnered with others to establish the Borish Scholarship at the school in 2014. Most significant was the company's generous gift to help create the Essilor Eyewear Center in the school’s clinic, which will continue to serve patients and educate students for years to come.

Hall, Render, Killian, Heath & Lyman, PC
IU Kelley School of Business Indianapolis
Hall, Render, Killian, Heath & Lyman is recognized as one of the nation’s pre-eminent health law firms and has been a generous supporter of the Kelley School of Business Indianapolis through its inaugural Hall Render Graduate Fellowship for the Business of Medicine MBA program. Through its nearly 50 year history, Hall Render has proven to be a generous supporter of Indiana University by funding numerous initiatives, including the Hall Render Fund for Excellence and the Center for Law and Health at the IU McKinney School of Law.

Indiana Hospital Association
IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health
The Indiana Hospital Association was established in 1921 to provide the state’s hospitals with leadership, representation and support for their work to improve the health of Indiana residents. For years, the Indiana Hospital Association has been dedicated to serving the Master of Health Administration program at IUPUI by hosting interns, speaking to classes and providing networking opportunities for students. In addition to the tireless service its provides for the program, the association sponsors an annual event that provides funding for the Hahn Foundation, the executor of the Ken and Cindy Stella Scholarship Fund. The Stella scholarship has provided financial support to students in the graduate MHA program at Indiana University since 2007.

Jim Kinney
IUPUI Office of Community Engagement
Jim Kinney saw a vision for the Near Westside neighborhood and moved his business to West Michigan Street in 2012. Part of that vision included a collaboration between the Near Westside and the Herron School of Art to create a place of interest that will draw community residents and visitors to the waterway in an effort to enhance livability and quality of life in the area. When complete, this reimagined space will serve as a neighborhood park that represents hope and opportunity for residents and businesses. Kinney has also engaged with other IUPUI schools and units through student externships and internships at his business, the Kinney Group, and by offering his information technology expertise and advice as needed.  

John Templeton Foundation
IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy
The Lilly Family School of Philanthropy honors a longstanding partnership with the John Templeton Foundation and notably a gift to support Generosity for Life: The Science and Art of Living Generously. The project is a scientifically based approach to explore the art of generosity and its evolution throughout the life of an individual, learning what factors increase generosity. The project will feature an interactive Web platform that will ensure more students, scholars and non-scholars can access the data in a simpler, more understandable format.

Karen Gable
IU School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
The cornerstone of Professor Emerita Karen Gable’s academic leadership as director of the health occupations/sciences education programs was her intense commitment to student success. She worked tirelessly to accommodate her students’ unique needs while maintaining high academic expectations. As a result, her students were expertly prepared for careers in the complex health science community, and they continue to remember Gable fondly. In 2014, when a group of alumni from the B.S. and M.S. programs wished to honor her legacy, she reaffirmed her commitment to student success by endowing the Dr. Karen Gable Health Sciences Scholarship and challenged the alums to join her in supporting the next generation of health care professionals.

JPMorgan Chase
IU School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI
Joining forces to provide real-world applications of informatics and computing concepts to 90 area high school students, JPMorgan Chase and the IU School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI created a powerful tool to introduce inner-city students to a field of study that can open doors of opportunity.  The Information Technology Diversity-Enhanced Workforce Initiative focuses on high school-age young women and other underrepresented populations at four Indianapolis area schools, supporting them in their high school years while they learn about fields traditionally not sought by these populations. Through this initiative, students will be better prepared to continue on to and succeed in two- and four-year IT training programs. Pairing two pressing needs -- providing substantive opportunities and fueling a critical local industry shortage -- Chase and the school created a win-win program.

Kathryn Merchant
IU School of Social Work at IUPUI
Kathryn Merchant is driven by one thought above all others: how to make the world a better place. As a 1974 graduate of the School of Social Work and CEO of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, Merchant believes that education is the way opportunity is created. True to her beliefs, her philanthropy has supported the school since 1991. Through her involvement, the school has created the state’s first social work Ph.D. program, recruited top-notch faculty and researchers and debuted MSW Direct, an online degree program.

Linda L. Pence
IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law Indianapolis
A 1974 graduate of the IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law, Linda Pence is a true champion for her alma matter. Her significant philanthropic contributions to a scholarship in her late father’s name, the Woodrow W. Pence Scholarship, have helped countless IU McKinney students as they obtain their legal education. Pence serves as a member of the law school’s Board of Visitors and served as co-chair during the IMPACT fundraising campaign. She is a partner at Pence Hensel LLC in Indianapolis and focuses her legal practice on litigation.  She is well known in the legal community and has received many accolades throughout her career as a trial attorney.

Dr. Margaret “Peg” Watanabe
IU Herron School of Art and Design
Dr. Margaret “Peg” Watanabe has a long history of supporting Herron School of Art and Design. In a fitting tribute to the artistic career of her mother, Eleanor Prest Reese, Watanabe made a gift to name a Herron gallery in her honor. Watanabe has also been instrumental in raising funds for Herron's study abroad scholarships, and she recently established the Margaret R. Watanabe International Studies Scholarship and two RISE scholarships -- one in her name and one in her son Scott’s name (BFA’96). Watanabe is a founding member of Herron’s Dean’s Advisory Board and served on Herron's Capital Campaign Council. She is also a member of the IU Foundation Board of Directors, the Women’s Philanthropy Council, the IU School of Medicine's J.O. Ritchey Society, and the IU Foundation's Arbutus Society, Well House Society and Presidents Circle.

Dr. Mark and Sheryl Kendra
IU School of Dentistry
Dr. Mark Kendra, who knew from an early age that he wanted to enter the oral health field, earned his Bachelor of Science in biology at IU Northwest and his dental degree at the IU School of Dentistry. His wife, Sheryl, is a graduate of the dental hygiene program at the School of Dentistry. Through their association with the school’s alumni board as well as their personal generosity, the Kendras have become valued advocates in promoting the quality of an IU School of Dentistry education as well as encouraging fellow classmates and alumni to become more philanthropically involved with the school. Also, because of Mark’s personal experiences in both commercial and residential real estate, he has been a welcomed and trusted advisor to Dean John Williams regarding plans for a new clinical facility at the School of Dentistry. Mark also serves on the school’s building steering committee and Board of Advisors.

National Collegiate Athletic Association
IUPUI Division of Student Affairs
To address the misuse of alcohol by college students, the NCAA created the CHOICES Alcohol Education Grant program, which educates and encourages students to make legal, safe and healthy choices about alcohol. As a 2014 grant recipient, IUPUI was able to establish the JagNation: Winning CHOICES program to educate and empower students to make legal and low-risk choices about alcohol use and promote a positive and healthy campus culture. During this academic year, the JagNation program has already engaged hundreds of IUPUI students and student-athletes through social marketing campaigns, skill-building workshops and expanded campus programming.

Phillip Hardwick
IUPUI Department of Intercollegiate Athletics
The IUPUI Department of Intercollegiate Athletics posthumously honors Phil Hardwick for his many years of support of IUPUI student athletes. Known for his professional work with the IU Foundation, Hardwick continued to leave a lasting mark on the campus with his support of Jaguars Athletics. In contributing to the annual Jaguars Athletics Club Scholarship Fund for more than 20 years, Hardwick showed a deep and close connection to the coaches and student athletes and exhibited his support of the athletic department mission to recruit, retain and graduate champions. He also enjoyed a unique contribution to the program for 15 years as the observer of basketball officials, which offered him a unique vantage point to support his love of hte game.

Robert L. Bowen and Terry L. Bowen of the Bowen Foundation
IUPUI University College
The IUPUI Bowen Scholars Program was established to assist African-American students who graduated from Ivy Tech Community College with an associate degree in transitioning to IUPUI in pursuit of a baccalaureate degree. Bowen Scholars typically reside in Marion County and are expected to graduate from IUPUI in three years. The scholars are mentored, attend monthly workshops focused on academic and personal growth and participate in community service events. The Bowen Family Foundation has expanded its scholarship program to ensure the scholars are part of a wrap-around support system, which is evident in the high retention and graduation rates of its students.

Robert G. Bringle
IUPUI Center for Service and Learning

Robert Bringle is an internationally recognized leader in the field of service learning and a renowned scholar of social psychology with interest in relationships and jealousy. He left a lasting impact at IUPUI as a chancellor’s professor of psychology and executive director of the Center for Service and Learning for 15 years, which he continues to generously support to this day. Bringle's support has enabled the center to invite experts to campus to further the research efforts of the center staff and IUPUI faculty. While at IUPUI, Bringle developed the Social Psychological Undergraduate Research project -- a National Science Foundation-supported summer research program designed to provide undergraduate students with research opportunities to prepare them for graduate-level training in psychology. He also is the author of numerous books and articles on service learning and psychology.

Schneck Medical Center
Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus

Schneck Medical Center and Schneck Medical Center Foundation are vital educational partners with IUPUC. In 2013, they pledged $50,000 to help IUPUC competitively recruit, retain and expand the number of doctorally prepared tenure-track faculty needed to provide excellence in teaching, scholarship and research. Schneck’s support helped IUPUC reach its goal of 50 percent tenure-track faculty. In 2014, Schneck gifted $35,000 to the IU School of Nursing at IUPUC to help fund a new nursing faculty needed to expand the IUPUC program by adding 20 traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing students. Schneck is also piloting the IUPUC Clinical Homes research project to help build new, more effective delivery models for the clinical education of our students.

Terry Baumer and Pat Gabig
IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IUPUI

Terry Baumer served as a criminal justice professor at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs from 1984 to 2012 and retired as the school’s executive associate dean. During his career, he taught more than 4,500 students, published 53 times and contributed an annual gift to SPEA. Even after retirement, both Baumer and his wife, Pat Gabig, continue their dedication to SPEA and its students by supporting a scholarship in his name. Baumer serves on several boards dedicated to creating a safer and more just Indianapolis and Marion County.

Tim and Tanya Harris
IUPUI Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Motivated by a strong belief in God and a commitment to serve, pastor Tim and Tanya Harris have had an impact on thousands of lives in the community. Their desire to revitalize the east side of Indianapolis led to the establishment of the Turning Point Schools in 2000, with a goal of creating a state-accredited institute that offers high academic standards coupled with strong Christian principles. Through the ministry’s partnership with the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the IUPUI Office of Community Engagement’s Center for Family, School and Neighborhood Engagement, Turning Point School will identify a high school senior to receive a scholarship to attend IUPUI on an annual basis.

Dr. Thomas E. McSoley
IU School of Medicine Indianapolis

Dr. Thomas McSoley, who received all of his medical training at IU, has a gift for communicating the importance of supporting the IU School of Medicine and worked tirelessly to advance the school and its students. He raised money for his class of 1979 scholarship and the Lingeman Lectureship, and he led the effort to raise funds for the Richard T. Miyamoto Professorship in Otolaryngology. As president of the Dean’s Council Board of Directors, McSoley pioneered the concept of approaching medical organizations to fund endowed scholarships. The result was six new scholarships, with more in the works. McSoley has put his money where his mouth is as a generous personal contributor to the school.

Uzma Mirza and The Pen and Inkpot Foundation
IU School of Education at IUPUI

As founder and president of The Pen and Inkpot Foundation, Uzma Mirza and her foundation’s generous support funds the Uzma Mirza International RISE Scholarship, which directly benefits School of Education students who wish to expand their studies of Islam, Islamic art and Islamic architecture. The foundation also generously supports study abroad opportunities, which exemplifies part of the school’s mission and work to help future teachers, school counselors and education leaders expand their global perspective and positively impact the educational experience in urban schools. The Pen and Inkpot Foundation supports sustainable and green building; education and scholarships for the art of pen and inkpot; and knowledge or think tank through symposiums.

William Harrington
IU School of Physical Education and Tourism Management

William Harrington is an ardent supporter of Camp Brosius, a summer camp he visited for the first time as a teen in 1961. Because of the lasting memories that were created, Harrington lends his time, money and talent to the camp on an annual basis. His efforts have literally transformed the property landscape, which help ensure Camp Brosius offers a safe and engaging environment for the guests and staff. Harrington has enjoyed watching the camp, which is managed by the School of Physical Education and Tourism Management, change people for the better. His personal investment of both time and financial support has left a lasting legacy for future guests.

Yvonne Perkins
IUPUI University Library

During her term of service with the IUPUI University Library Community Board, Perkins has been a strong supporter of the library’s Diversity Scholars program, which offers outstanding undergraduates a yearlong paid internship in the library. Guided by library staff, Diversity Scholars help carry out the library’s diversity initiatives, gaining professional experience and valuable research skills as a result. Through Perkins’ advocacy and the support of Citizens Energy, where she serves as vice president for corporate communications and chief diversity officer, the library helps IUPUI students build a bridge to a bright future in the professional world.