Kennett’s ‘Kids’ Receive More than Just Scholarship FundingKennett_Phyllis

Bria, Kris, Anthony, Douglas, Brad, Michelle, Kimberly, Shelby, Elizabeth (Biz), and Ben have all benefited from the Kennetts’ kindness and giving nature.

These are all Ball State University students who are recipients of the Robert E. Kennett Memorial Scholarship, created in 1998 by Phyllis Kennett to honor her husband of 20 years who passed away in spring 1995. Phyllis currently funds student scholarships with outright gifts. The fund will become endowed with a bequest gift through her estate to the Ball State University Foundation.

Each year, Phyllis adds one and sometimes two names to her growing crew of “kids,” and she eagerly looks forward to meeting each one.

“All of my kids are special to me,” said Phyllis, who after meeting each student keeps in touch via email and by sending them holiday greeting cards throughout the year. “I’m so happy I can contribute to the scholarship fund now so I can actually get to know the students.”

Both long-time Ball State employees who met while working on campus, Robert and Phyllis talked about creating a scholarship more than 10 years before Robert became ill. Having no children together, they wanted to do what they could to help future Ball State students. “It’s a worthy cause, and Ball State has been such an important part of our lives,” said Phyllis.

After retiring from the Army, Robert worked in Residence Halls Dining Services for 27 years beginning in 1968. He was assistant manager at Woodworth and Studebaker halls before becoming purchasing agent for the department in 1986.

Phyllis started working at Ball State in Registration and Admissions and later transferred to Woodworth Dining as a bookkeeper—a position she has held for 32 years. Her father, mother, and sister have all been employed at Ball State as well.

“You could say Ball State has been my bread and butter for many years now,” said Phyllis, who uses payroll deduction to fund her scholarship gifts. She also encourages family and friends to donate to the scholarship fund. In fact, Ball State’s Dining Services has appropriated monies to the fund through a three-year rebate contribution program offered by Keystone McKissom Water Products.

“My husband made quite an impact at Ball State,” said Phyllis, mentioning that a memorial plaque still hangs in his former office. “I’m so happy he can be honored through this scholarship and that it will enable us to help so many students, who receive the most important gift of all—a Ball State education!”

The Robert E. Kennett Memorial Scholarship is awarded every spring—reflecting Robert’s January birth and March death—to full-time, undergraduate students with at least a sophomore standing. First preference is given to students from central Indiana majoring in marketing. Students with majors in accounting and family and consumer science are also eligible. Recipients need not demonstrate financial need, but preference is given to students who might not be able to continue their education without assistance.