March 23, 2012
The Ball State University Board of Trustees have approved an honorary doctor of laws degree for highly regarded Hoosier entrepreneur and farmer Leland Boren at the May commencement, in recognition of his long and distinguished career in business and his continued commitment to the university.
An industrialist and farmer, Boren is an entrepreneur with diverse interests ranging from banking, cattle ranching, music recording and publishing, to the citrus fruit industry. He has a notable career as a business leader and philanthropist in Indiana and nationwide. He is president and chief executive officer of Avis Industrial Corporation in Upland, a holding company for 12 subsidiaries in the United States, Mexico, and Canada. Boren also is president of PHD Inc.
Three Indiana governors have honored Boren as a Sagamore of the Wabash, the highest honor a governor can bestow upon an Indiana citizen. Boren's ties to Ball State University are equally impressive. He has provided matching funds for more than 60 Bold Celebration Scholarships and other merit scholarships, has donated a number of freshman merit awards, and endowed a memorial scholarship in journalism. Furthermore he has been a supporter of the entrepreneurship program in the Miller College of Business, Muncie's public television and radio stations, Teachers College, and the David Owsley Museum of Art. Most recently, Boren has given generous support to the autism program.
Also, the board approved a policy change that aligns the university with Indiana statutes governing bidding and performing public works building or construction repair contracts to match the thresholds required by state law. The state's previous threshold for requiring public bids was $50,000, and now is $150,000.
The board also approved a proposal that allows the university to offer voluntary benefits without specifically being tied to the current plan administrator. Additionally, the board voted to renew the university's long-term and short-term disability insurance with its current vendor, CIGNA, at the same rates as last year.
The board also listened to a presentation by Randy Howard, vice president for business affairs and treasurer, about a significant and unexpected increase in medical claims this year, which will put upward pressure on insurance rates next year. Howard noted that, since the university has done a good job managing its medical insurance costs in the past, the administration is again looking at several options to restructure the plans.
Finally, the board approved Schmidt Associates of Indianapolis as architects for the renovation of Johnson A residence hall. The $36 million project, which will add about 130 beds, will begin sometime this fall and is scheduled for completion by the fall semester of 2014.