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John R. and Aline Emens' commitment to nurturing student leaders lives on through a scholarship program established in their honor.

“The scholarships provide not only opportunities for students to attend Ball State, but it allows them to expand and continue their leadership talents through participation in leadership of many campus activities” says J. Richard Emens, son of the late couple.

John Emens was Ball State's president from 1945 to 1968. Richard Emens, an attorney in Columbus, Ohio, and other members of the Emens family continue to support the Emens Scholars program. The scholarships were first awarded in 1977 and continue to shape future leaders such as Amanda Rybarczyk, '09, a double major in landscape architecture and history.

“The scholars program allowed me to participate in a lot of things at Ball State,” she says. “It’s allowed me to do the extra things I wouldn’t be able to experience otherwise.”

Not only has Rybarczyk been exposed to rewarding opportunities like traveling abroad, she says the scholarship also allows her to not have a financial burden. She’s been able to focus on her studies and on being a campus leader.

That is the goal, Emens says.

“The two statements we’ve heard many times are number one, ‘I could not have come to Ball State if not for this scholarship.’ The second thing we’ve heard more recently is, ‘Because of the Emens Scholarship, I was able to participate and be a leader in campus activities because I didn’t have to earn as much money working while I was at Ball State,’” he says.

Rybarczyk says she also enjoys the closeness in the group of Emens Scholars, who build friendships while participating in activities together. “It’s really like a family. You meet these people freshman year, and some of my really good friends are Emens Scholars,” she says.

Emens says it’s important for alumni and the community to support students who want to become future leaders.

“There are so many outstanding opportunities at Ball State. And I believe from a financial standpoint, the most important thing that Ball State alumni and friends can do after they’ve provided for their family is to create or support a scholarship for students to come to Ball State,” he says.

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