April 10, 2007
Former White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card Jr. will be the principal speaker during Ball State University's annual spring commencement, according to university President Jo Ann M. Gora, who announced that Card also will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree during the May 5 ceremony.
Among those joining Gora and Card outdoors on the Fine Arts Terrace for the 10 a.m. graduation exercises will be former Indiana first lady Judy O'Bannon and Hoosier civil rights advocate and author Hurley Goodall.
O'Bannon, widow of the late Indiana Gov. Frank O'Bannon, will be presented with an honorary doctor of humanities degree, while Goodall — a former Indiana state representative and currently a visiting scholar in Ball State's Center for Middletown Studies — also will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree.
Past Ball State president (1968-78) John Pruis and his wife, Angeline, will share the commencement dais, as well, as this year's recipients of the President's Medal of Distinction, awarded annually to "individuals who have made significant and unselfish contributions to the advancement of the university, the community, the state or the nation."
The honorary degree and the President's Medal of Distinction are the highest awards presented by the university.
Andrew Card Jr.
"As the longest-serving White House chief of staff in nearly half a century, Andrew Card has been party to many of the historic events that now largely define the beginning years of the 21st century," said Gora, taking note of Card's nearly six years helping to manage the administrative agenda for President George W. Bush. "Of course, the most dramatic of these events was the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, a time we remember all-too-well as a serious test of our nation's courage and determination, as well as that of our leaders.
"As we urge our graduates toward active citizenship and involvement in the political process," Gora added, "it is vital that we present them, as well, with examples of highly accomplished business people, like Mr. Card, who also appreciate the importance of public service and who have willingly made the required sacrifices to make our world a better place in which to live."
A native of Holbrook, Mass., Card received his undergraduate degree in engineering from the University of South Carolina before continuing his studies at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
His career in politics began in 1974, when he was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives, a position he surrendered in 1983 after an unsuccessful run for the Republican nomination for governor of the Bay State. He then joined President Ronald Reagan's White House team as special assistant to the president, later rising to the ranks of deputy assistant to the president and director of the intergovernmental affairs office.
From 1992 until 1993, Card served in the cabinet of President George H.W. Bush as secretary of transportation and in that role was a key player in the federal government's emergency relief efforts following the August 1992 onslaught of Hurricane Andrew on much of south Florida — the second-largest natural disaster in U.S. history after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Briefly leaving government service, Card served as president and chief executive officer of the American Automobile Manufacturers Association from 1993 until 1998, when he was named vice president of government relations for General Motors Corp.
In November 2000, he was appointed by President-elect George W. Bush to be White House chief of staff, a responsibility he continued to shoulder until his resignation on April 14, 2006. Today, he has returned to the private sector, joining the Washington Speakers Bureau and, among other groups, the board of directors of the Union Pacific Railroad.
In certain political circles, it also is reported that Card may be considering another possible bid for the governor's office in Massachusetts, a post held until recently by Mitt Romney, an already declared Republican candidate for president in 2008.
Well-known throughout Indiana for her many volunteer efforts, as well as for promoting volunteerism, Judy O'Bannon currently is the host of "Communities Building Community with Judy O'Bannon" for WFYI Public Television in Indianapolis.
"Being an institution also closely identified with building better communities, it is entirely fitting that Ball State recognize Judy O'Bannon for her unwavering dedication to advancing the public good," Gora said. "Throughout her life — including her 46 years of marriage to the late governor — she has worked tirelessly in support of local and statewide programs focused on improving the quality of education, the environment, early childhood development, arts and culture, technology resources and community development in Indiana.
"For this and more, she is much-beloved among her fellow Hoosiers. And, while it may appear on graduation day that it is we who honor Judy O'Bannon, in many respects it is Judy O'Bannon who honors us. We are so pleased to have her among our distinguished guests for commencement."
After earning her undergraduate degree in social work from Indiana University, O'Bannon became the first woman admitted to the Louisville Theological Seminary as a Rockefeller Theological Scholar. She maintains a very active spiritual life in both Corydon — where she and her late husband made their home — and Indianapolis, where the couple resided during his many years in state government.
Deeply interested in history and historic preservation, O'Bannon presently serves as a trustee of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. She holds similar seats, as well, on the executive board of the Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana and the Indiana Main Street Council, commitments that in 2004 earned her additional recognition from Ball State in the form of the university's Distinguished Achievement in Historic Preservation Award.
She currently chairs the 25-member Indiana 2016 Task Force charged with planning the statehood bicentennial celebration, yet still makes time to be involved with the international friendship organization People-to-People (on different occasions leading ambassador delegations to South Africa and Moldova in eastern Europe) and the O'Bannon Book Buddy initiative — begun with her late husband — which encourages adults to help young children learn to read.
A native son of Muncie, where he was born in 1927, Hurley Goodall spent a childhood marked mostly by social and economic disadvantage. However, his family's struggles did not impede his goals for achieving success. After service in the U.S. Army, he returned home to a job at Muncie Malleable Foundry Company, in his off hours taking classes in time and motion engineering at Indiana Business College and Purdue University. In 1958, he joined the Muncie Fire Department — one of the first two African-Americans selected to work for the department — where he remained until his retirement in 1978.
Goodall also was the first African-American elected to the Muncie Community Schools Board of Education, on which he served for almost two decades.
Between 1978 and 1992, Goodall was a member of the Indiana House of Representatives, the Indiana Legislative Black Caucus and the Indiana Caucus of Black Democrat Elected Officials. In 1989, he was elected secretary of the Indiana Democratic State Central Committee and a year later was named the recipient of the Nation Builder Award from the National Black Caucus of State Legislators.
"Looking at the personal and professional challenges that Hurley Goodall has met head-on and conquered throughout his 80 years, it is hard to imagine a better example for our graduates of what perseverance and confidence in one's own talents and abilities can accomplish," Gora said. "Ball State is rightly proud to count Hurley among the scholars who every day make their knowledge and experience available to our students, and it's a great pleasure to be able to recognize his many contributions to Muncie and Ball State with an honorary doctor of laws degree."
Not least among those many contributions, Gora added, are the books Goodall has co-authored: "A History of Negroes in Muncie, Indiana," and "The Other Side of Middletown: Exploring Muncie's African-American Community." He also has published the monograph "Inside the House," recounting his years in the Indiana General Assembly.
Previously honored by Ball State with the President's Medal, Goodall also is this year's recipient of the Indiana Civil Rights Commission's Spirit of Justice Award, an honor given to those who have made significant contributions to civil rights. It was first bestowed on Rosa Parks in 1999.
John and Angeline Pruis
During his 10-year tenure at the university's helm, John Pruis initiated, expanded and improved numerous academic programs and facilities on campus, while his wife, Angeline, was active in many community leadership roles.
He established the Whitinger and Emens scholars programs, while also overseeing the funding and construction of Bracken Library, the College of Architecture and Planning and the Cooper Science Complex. He also guided efforts to enhance Ball State's foreign languages curriculum, heighten levels of support for undergraduate research and increase the number of graduate assistantships and doctoral fellows programs.
Meanwhile, in addition to hosting many university and community events in their home and on campus, Angie Pruis put her energies to work variously advancing the causes of the University Women's Club, Psi Iota Xi Philanthropic Sorority and the Muncie Symphony League, among other engagements.
Together, John and Angie Pruis are members of the Fellows Society, Quadrangle Society, Beneficence Society, Cardinal Varsity Club, Friends of the Museum of Art and Friends of Bracken Library.
"Whether as Ball State's president, or later in his roles as vice president of corporate relations for Ball Corporation, executive vice president of the George and Frances Ball Foundation and director of the Ball Brothers Foundation, John Pruis worked hard and with great success to improve the stature of the university, the quality of its academic programs and the availability of financial resources for both students and community organizations in need," Gora said.
"At the same time, Angie Pruis selflessly put her considerable talents toward the social, spiritual and cultural betterment of the greater Muncie and Delaware County communities.
"By any measure," Gora concluded, "the Pruises' importance to Ball State is extraordinary, comprehensive and significant. It would be difficult to think of a couple more dedicated to the university or more deserving of this recognition for their combined professional achievements and commitment to public service."