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Funds create scholarship for future educators

Posted on 02.06.2013

The University of Indianapolis is accustomed to receiving donations from alumni. However, Dean and Associate Professor of Education Kathryn Moran was completely surprised by a recent $1.35 million gift from the estate of Virginia and Delbert Stevens.

According to the Rochester Sentinel, Virginia graduated from UIndy, then Indiana Central College, in 1942 with a degree in elementary education. She taught and served as a principal for LaPorte Community School Corporation. Her husband, Delbert, a Purdue University graduate, preceded her in death in December 2010. Virginia passed away in June 2011, leaving a legacy of passion for education and a sizable gift for students who share that passion.

“It [the scholarship] is only for elementary and math education majors, and that’s because she was an elementary major,  and he was a math education person and taught math for years,” Moran said.

According to Moran, the scholarship will be available for juniors and continues into the senior year, if the student is still an eligible education major. Because students must formally apply to the Teacher Education Program at the end of their sophomore year, they will be automatically considered for the scholarship if accepted into the program. The award will then be based on financial need, grade point average and leadership abilities.

“We didn’t want to set out a real elaborate application process if we could, in fact, stretch the money out as far as possible to as many elementary and math education majors as we could,” Moran said.

According to Executive Director of Development Andy Kocher, the funds were set up as an endowed scholarship.

“What the endowment is, is a large pool of funds that are invested by the university … This gift, the $1.3 million, was set up as a restricted endowment for the scholarship,” Kocher said. “We’re only awarding the interest earned on those investments each year, so the scholarship will continue in perpetuity, which means it’s going to continue forever.”

According to Kocher, endowed scholarships are a priority for the university for that reason.

“It’s so important that those monies—not only do they continue year after year—but they go directly to helping students and to help students have access to a UIndy education, which we think is one of the most important [things], if not the most important thing, that we do in this office,” he said.

Alumni, like the Stevens, who leave money to the university in their wills are recognized as a part of the I. Lynd Esch Society. The society is named after UIndy’s fourth president who encouraged graduates to give back to their alma mater.

According to donor information on the UIndy website, being part of the society guarantees that the university will allocate the gift as specified by the donor.

Although $1.35 million is quite a large sum, Kocher said it is important not to discount the gifts given by other alumni.

“You don’t see them being recognized as much as we’re … able to thank Virginia,” Kocher said. “But it’s good for the campus community—and particularly the students—to know that thousands of alumni every year are donating to help them with their education, through scholarships and through other vehicles.”


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