About David Letterman

In 1965, an unknown teenager from Indianapolis sat in front of his college radio station’s microphone and began playing the worst songs he could find and concocting fake news stories. That was before he became known as the quick-witted host of the longest-running late-night talk show and one of the most influential television stars of all time.

David Letterman has never let go of Ball State over the decades. On The Late Show with David Letterman, he consistently doted on his alma mater—routinely referring to cardinals as “the fiercest robin-sized bird in the animal kingdom.” But his commitment to the university goes much deeper than what he has said on his show.

David Letterman at a podium

Letterman Lecture Series

While here for the dedication ceremony of the building named after him, Letterman made one of his biggest contributions to the university. The result was a lecture series that has brought some of the biggest names in the media and communications to Ball State: Spike Jonze, Bennett Miller, Rachel Maddow, Angela Ahrendts, Biz Stone, and Oprah Winfrey, to name a few.

Letterman Scholarship

Students receive thousands of dollars every year from David Letterman’s scholarship program for telecommunications students. The award focuses on creativity over grades. The winner receives $10,000, with another $5,000 going to a first runner-up and $3,333 for a second runner-up.

Letterman Building

To honor David Letterman’s commitment to his alma mater, Ball State chose him as the namesake for the David Letterman Communication and Media Building. The facility houses offices for the College of Communication, Information, and Media, as well as classrooms for the telecommunications and communication studies departments.