The Honorary Alumni Award is the highest honor given to individuals who are not graduates of Ball State University and who have made significant contributions to Ball State's welfare, reputation, prestige, and pursuit of excellence. This honor is given to those who have shown uncommon support for the University over a considerable period of time. Recipients are selected and recommended by a committee of the Alumni Council on behalf of the Ball State University Alumni Association.

To be considered for 2017, nominations should be received by Friday, March 31. To nominate a deserving friend of Ball State University, please contact Lori Corvino at (765) 285-7051 or 

Marianne Glick was the inaugural recipient of the award.



Pat Schaefer

Pat Schaefer served the Muncie Public Library for 36 years. She was an audio-visual librarian from 1959 to 1986, assistant director from 1981 to 1986, and director from 1986 until her retirement in 1995. Since 2004, she has consulted for Franklin Electric Company, a global provider of systems and components for moving water and fuel. From 1982 to 2004, she served on the board of directors for the Bluffton, Indiana, company her father, Edward J. Schaefer, cofounded in 1944.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in music from Northwestern University in Chicago, a master’s in musicology from the University of Illinois, and a master of library science from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. The Indiana Institute of Technology, better known as Indiana Tech, awarded her an honorary doctorate of library science in 2003. She served on the Indiana Tech Board of Trustees from 1992 to 2012, following in the footsteps of her father, who had served in that capacity for 28 years.

Ms. Schaefer continues to adorn her life with music, theatre, and fine art, having amassed an extensive collection of glass art. Ball State’s David Owsley Museum of Art is among the many Indiana museums and exhibits that have acquired or displayed works of art from her collections.

She created the Schaefer Lightpainting and Piano Fund to commission and install the First Symphony lightpainting in the Music Instruction Building and to purchase a new Steinway piano for the 600-seat Sursa Performance Hall. In 1995, as part of the Wings for the Future capital campaign, she established the Schaefer Music Endowment Fund to support School of Music programs. She is a member of the David Owsley Museum of Art Executive Committee and an honorary member of Mu Phi Epsilon, a coeducational international professional music fraternity.

Ms. Schaefer’s dedication to Ball State spans beyond the arts. She supported the university’s philanthropic mission as a member of the Ball State University Foundation Board of Directors from 2006 to 2014, and she is a member of the Quadrangle Society, 1918 Society, and Cardinal Varsity Club. She also served on the Wings National Campaign Committee, Above and Beyond Campaign Development Committee, and National Philanthropy Council. She is a charter member of the Ball State women’s philanthropy group Discovery.


Sue and Donald “Don” Whitaker


Native Kentuckians Sue and Don Whitaker met and married while teaching at the same high school in their home state. They came to Ball State in 1976 after completing their doctoral degrees. Don served as chair of the Department of Mathematical Sciences for 14 years, and Sue chaired the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences for 11. During their 34-year careers at the university, they served on and chaired multiple councils and committees. 

Their fondest memories of Ball State center on their academic service. 

“Serving as chair of the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences has to be one of my fondest memories,” Sue says. “During this time, I was able to lead the department through a name change from Home Economics, working with students as they moved through the department and went out and became successful graduates, and working with other faculty to establish the nationally recognized residential property management program.” 

Don echoes his wife’s sentiment: “My fondest memories at Ball State are being elected by my colleagues in the mathematical sciences department to five consecutive terms as their department chair, beginning in 1983, and later being honored with the 2007–2008 Ball State University Outstanding Academic Service Award after my service as executive director of institutional effectiveness.”   

The Whitakers also share a love for May Commencement.

“The setting on the Arts Terrace is outstanding, and it is inspiring to see the faculty and students all seated on the green,” Sue says. “Perhaps the most memorable was my last one when I retired in 2010, and Angela Ahrendts was the commencement speaker. Angela is a former student of mine, and I was most honored when she mentioned me in her talk to the graduates.”  

The pair is equally passionate about athletics, establishing the Donald R. and Sue H. Whitaker Scholar-Athlete Endowment for incoming freshman student-athletes in need of financial assistance. Their beneficence to the university also includes a major pledge to the Cardinal Commitment campaign as well as significant gifts supporting the Alumni Center, Shafer Tower, and the David Owsley Museum of Art. 

They are members of the Ball State Beneficence Society, the Quadrangle Society, the 1918 Society, and the Cardinal Varsity Club. Sue is president of Discovery, a women’s collaborative philanthropic group established to support projects and programs at Ball State.       


Carey & Michael J. "Jud" Fisher
Jud and Carey Fisher are dear friends of Ball State University and treasured members of the Muncie community. They carry on the Ball family’s legacy of civic engagement, philanthropy, and leadership.

Jud joined the Ball Brothers Foundation in 2003 after working for Old National. He was elected chief operating officer in 2007 and was elected president of the foundation in 2010. He serves as executive director of the Edmund F. and Virginia B. Ball Foundation and is the co-owner of Fisher Guide Service Inc. He earned his master of arts in philanthropic studies from the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, and he received a bachelor of arts in English composition and geography from DePauw University.

Carey spent 15 years in manufacturing with R&R Engineering. Most recently, she was vice president of R&R, one of the top fastener manufacturers in the world. She is a graduate of Bowling Green State University, where she earned a degree in communications with a minor in business. She balanced her role as a student with her time as a Division I athlete on the volleyball team. As a captain for two years, she helped lead her team to win three Mid-American Conference (MAC) championships.

Jud and Carey are extensively involved in civic engagement. Jud serves on the boards of The Community Foundation of Muncie and Delaware County Inc., Delaware Advancement Corporation, Indiana Trust Company, IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital, Methodist Health Foundation, Red-Tail Conservancy, Old National Bank Regional Advisory Committee, and the YMCA Camp Crosley Board of Managers. He is also immediate past-chair of the Indiana Commission for Higher Education. Carey substitute teaches for Burris Laboratory School, coaches the Burris fourth- and fifth-grade volleyball team, and was the Burris 2011–13 Parent, Teacher, and Student Organization (PTSO) president. She also serves on the board of Minnetrista.

Jud and Carey are generous contributors to Ball State. They are members of the Fellows Society and the Cardinal Varsity Club. Carey has graciously devoted herself to Ball State athletics as a member of the board of directors for the Cardinal Varsity Club and a member of the Cardinal Commitment campaign committee.

Joan M. Venderly
Joan, a retired registered nurse and instructor of Fort Wayne School of Nursing at Lutheran Hospital, has demonstrated extraordinary generosity and deep commitment to furthering higher education, the arts, cultural opportunities, youth programs, and athletics in her community and across Indiana. One example of this devotion is the Ronald E. Venderly Charitable Foundation. Established in the 1990s, the foundation has supported numerous community organizations, including the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Girl Scouts of Limberlost Council, Boys and Girls Clubs,the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, various theatre programs, and Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW).

Joan and her husband, Ron, MA ’64, also established an endowment that funds scholarships for more than 30 Ball State students from Fort Wayne and Allen County. Joan is a leadership benefactor and a member of the President’s Circle.

Ball State recognized Joan and Ron at the 2013 Alumni and Benefactors Recognition Dinner for their lasting commitments to the university and for their gifts totaling more than $1 million, inducting them into the Founders Society.

The impact of Joan’s philanthropy is notable. She and Ron made a substantial gift to the new football team meeting complex. In May 2014, Ball State’s Board of Trustees announced the naming of the facility—the Ron and Joan Venderly Football Team Complex—in recognition of their beneficence. The new facility will provide dedicated meeting space for the entire team of more than 100 players and will house offices for coaches and support staff. The complex is a part of the university’s $20 million Cardinal Commitment campaign, in which the Venderly shave taken a leadership role.


Marianne Glick