You could say that Phyllis and Hamer Shafer cast a long shadow across our campus—and it's getting longer.

The couple's foundation has given $1 million to improve our immersive learning experiences. Ball State President Emerita Jo Ann M. Gora said the Shafers' gift will "provide a bridge that connects bright, curious students with life-changing experiences."

"Hamer and I have supported the university for many years," said Phyllis Shafer, a 1947 Ball State graduate. "Ball State has been an important part of our lives and the success of our business and the Muncie community; our gifts and our service are ways that we show our appreciation."

Our strategic plan calls for each undergraduate student to have an immersive learning experience, in which interdisciplinary groups of students work with a faculty mentor. Students drive the learning process as they examine a real-world problem and determine a real-world solution. Immersive learning projects take student-faculty teams to communities throughout the state of Indiana and sometimes overseas.

The $1 million donation is the latest in the Shafers' long history of giving to Ball State. The most visible symbol of their generosity is Shafer Tower, built in 2001.

The tallest structure in Delaware County, Indiana, Shafer Tower rises 150 feet above McKinley Avenue at the north end of campus. Every 15 minutes, bells covering four octaves ring out across campus from the carillon tower.

The Shafers owned Muncie Power Products for many years before their retirement. They were inducted into the university's Miller College of Business Hall of Fame in 1987.