Silent benefactors: gifts to University promote service, gratitude

 

Though they accept no public credit for their generosity, the anonymous donors behind two gifts to UIndy in the 2010–11 year will enhance many lives for years to come. The family of one longtime University supporter has donated $645,000 from her estate. The funds will endow a new faculty chair, the University Distinguished Professor of Service Learning.

Service learning is the concept of infusing academic curricula with service to enhance education while benefiting the broader community off campus. Still gaining traction in higher education circles, the notion was built into the foundation of UIndy, where “Education for Service” is the longtime motto. The University is among just 300 institutions nationwide to have earned the Carnegie Foundation’s Community Engagement Classification, which identifies schools whose mission, culture, leadership, resources, and practices are aligned to support community service and volunteerism.

The first faculty member selected for the new chair will begin serving a three-year renewable appointment starting in fall 2012. The endowed position will include supplementary salary, along with time and financial support for projects and travel, with the goal of engaging even more students in service-learning activities that are consistent with the University mission.

Don’t thank us . . .
Another anonymous gift this year, from a prominent couple in the Indianapolis area, took the form of a $250,000 endowment to establish a new University of Indianapolis Faculty Scholarship Fund. The generated revenue will provide students with need-based awards up to 50 percent of an undergraduate’s anticipated University expenses.

That donation came with an intriguing stipulation for the recipients of those scholarships: don’t thank us—thank someone else.
Indeed, the donors’ agreement with the University stipulates that each recipient write a letter of thanks “to a mentor who has made a significant difference in their life.”

Copies of the letters will be sent to the donors each year.