The Ball brothers, along with Frank D. Haimbaugh, George N. Higman, E. J. Tomlinson, and other prominent citizens were interested in starting a college in Muncie before 1900. The Eastern Indiana Normal University Association was formed and raised funds for a building to house the college. The building, which is now the Administration Building, was dedicated on August 29, 1899. From that time until the establishment of the Eastern Division of Indiana State Normal College (now Ball State University) in 1918, several attempts were made at creating an institution of higher learning in Muncie. All of them were housed in the Administration Building. Four men served as presidents of these institutions.
- F. A. Z. Kumler, Eastern Indiana Normal Institute, 1899-1902
- John R. N. Latschaw, Palmer University, 1902-1905
- Francis N. Ingler, Indiana Normal School and College of Applied Science, 1905-1907
- Michael D. Kelley, Muncie Normal Institute, 1912-13; Muncie National Institute, 1913-1917