Board approves budgets, startup of Innovation Corp. to speed commercialization

Topic: Administrative

September 11, 2009

Specific spending plans for Ball State's various colleges, programs and other academic and administrative units for the 2009-10 academic year were adopted by the university's Board of Trustees during its regularly scheduled Sept. 11 meeting on campus.

The board also approved the establishment of the Ball State Innovation Corp. and two other entities to help speed the development, licensure and commercialization of intellectual property owned by the university and the naming of a portion of the Museum of Art in honor of Margaret Petty.

In July, following the conclusion of a special legislative session of the Indiana General Assembly, the board accepted a general fund budget plan for 2009-10 totaling approximately $296.3 million. Its latest action gives specificity to how those financial resources are allocated among the university's various colleges and departments.

As always, employee benefits and general institutional support command the major portion of the budget at roughly $108.4 million, followed by academic affairs ($102.8 million), facilities planning and management ($32 million), academic support/information technology ($21.8 million) and general administration ($13.4 million).

The budget reflects income from student fees of more than $137.2 million as well as state appropriations of nearly $146.7 million. Revenue from other sources also is expected to produce $12.5 million for the university's continuing operations.

"The board's acceptance of these budgets concludes a challenging summer of financial planning for Ball State," said President Jo Ann M. Gora. "As we all know, the current economy has claimed more than its share of victims and forced many of the survivors to take desperate steps, including across-the-board staff or salary reductions, cancellation or delays of major building projects and — as some of our peer institutions have done — the selling off of important and valuable assets such as works of art. Thanks to the hard work of so many dedicated faculty and staff on our campus, however, the university is able to continue on pace with implementation of the strategic plan while enjoying its largest first-year class in more than a decade.

"We are fortunate, but our success is more than mere chance. It is the product of careful forethought and planning as well as great team and individual effort. This is particularly true of our sound financial stewardship of the public's investment and our benefactors' generosity in supporting Ball State, which is reflected in higher — and growing — levels of external funding and our success with the Ball State Bold capital campaign. Both bode well for the university's future."

In related financial action, the board agreed to auxiliary fund budgets totaling approximately $85.4 million and covering the operations of the university's residence halls and dining facilities, as well as intercollegiate athletics, Emens Auditorium and various other operations such as vehicle facilities and parking garages on campus.

Public use and benefit

The board members also approved the formation of three university-related legal entities and charged them with the combined mission of generating economic growth and job creation through the development, licensure and commercialization of intellectual property, inventions and technology owned by Ball State.

University leaders expect the strategy to assist the university in attracting and retaining outstanding research-oriented faculty, spurring still greater innovation and enhancing Ball State's scientific and academic reputation. Ultimately, the new structure also should prove self-sustaining and even a revenue generator for the university, said Randy Howard, vice president for business affairs and treasurer.

The board agreed to establish the Ball State Innovation Corporation (BSIC) as an Indiana nonprofit corporation wholly owned by the university or the Ball State University Foundation. Its primary function will be to own intellectual property transferred to it by the university.

Meanwhile, Ball State Holdings LLC (BSH), a limited liability company, will make loans to and/or equity investments in commercialization ventures involving intellectual property transferred to BSIC. The new for-profit Innovative Management Services Inc. (IMS), wholly owned by BSIC, will provide management services to both.

The startup of BSIC extends the university's existing efforts through the Technology Transfer Office (TTO) to facilitate the transfer to public use and benefit ideas and inventions developed at Ball State.

Museum gift

The promenade portion of an expanded Ball State Museum of Art will be designated in honor of Margaret Ball Petty, daughter of original Ball brother and Museum of Art patron Frank C. Ball, following approval by the board. The late Mrs. Petty's daughter-in-law, Frances Petty Sargent, has offered the university a painting by Italian artist Alberto Pasini (1826-99) for the naming opportunity. A planned expansion of the museum is a major focus of the university's current capital campaign.

Ben Hancock, vice president of university advancement, noted that Sargent is a longtime friend and benefactor of Ball State and expressed the university's gratitude for her continuing support of the Museum of Art.

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