Mr. Milford P. and Mrs. Margaret M. Christenson
Milford and Margaret Christenson, of Griffith, are supporters of many IU organizations, including the Well House Society, Friends of Music, Camp Brosius, Hoosiers for Higher Education and the Woodburn Guild. They steadfastly support IU athletics as well, including the IU Stadium Club, the Twelfth Man Club and the courtesy car program. Milford also served as the IU student football manager, and is a former member of the Varsity Club National Board of Directors.
As residents of Northwest Indiana, the Christensons also hold a special place for IU’s Northwest campus, which they include in their philanthropic support.
An IU degree is a family tradition with the Christensons. Both Milford and Margaret graduated from IU Bloomington, and so did their two children, Dean and Dana.
Milford is the president and owner of Christenson Chevrolet and enjoys working alongside his son in the family business. The Christensons donated to IU Northwest the 14-passenger RedHawks van, which enables the university’s student-athletes to travel as a team to away games. Milford is a current Rotary Club member and has visited 43 rotary clubs around the world.
Second only to family, music is Margaret’s passion. Now a retired school teacher, she taught vocal music in grades all the way from first grade through high school.
Mrs. Barbara J. and Mr. Garrett L. (1928-2013) Cope
Barbara Cope and her husband, the late Garrett Cope, have made significant contributions to their hometown community of Gary, as well as at IU Northwest.
Barbara and Garrett both came to IU Northwest in 1974. Barbara served as the Director of Special Services and Vice Chancellor of Student Services until 1997. During that time, she was also the director of Career Beginnings and Higher Ground. In 1999, Barbara retired from IU Northwest but soon went on to become the Executive Director of Gary Educational Development Foundation where she worked until 2009. In 2006, she was inducted into the Steel City Hall of Fame and was recognized by the Gary Frontiers Club in 2007.
Garrett served IU Northwest in fine arts, speech and communication and later as outreach coordinator in the School of Continuing Education where he continued to work until his death earlier this year. As outreach coordinator for more than twenty-five years, he was dedicated to maintaining a close connection between the campus and the Northwest Indiana community, especially the Glen Park/University Park neighborhood in Gary. He made everyone feel welcome at IU Northwest and was responsible for such well-known community programs as the Lifestyle Enrichment Tours, Senior University and the Glen Park Conversations.
Garrett helped to establish a chapter of Alpha Phi Fraternity at IU Bloomington, participated in student government, directed The Jordan River Review and helped to integrate student housing on campus in Bloomington.
Both of the Copes’ sons, Garrett and Michael, also reside in Gary.
Mr. John R. and Mrs. Betsy W. MacLennan
John and Betsy are graduates of IU Bloomington with degrees in Business and Education, respectively.
As longtime residents of Northwest Indiana, they have enjoyed the honor of being of service to IU Northwest and IU Bloomington throughout their careers.
Their service to IU Northwest and IU Bloomington includes: IU Bloomington Presidents Circle; IU Bloomington Well House Society; IU Bloomington 1820 Society; IU Bloomington Women’s Colloquium; IU Bloomington Alumni Board; IU Bloomington Varsity Club; IU Northwest Chancellor’s Society; IU Northwest Board of Advisors; IU Northwest Associate Faculty; and the IU Northwest Scholarship Gala Committee
John and Betsy remain committed to IU Northwest by demonstrating their support by funding student scholarships.
John is engaged in MacLennan & Bain Insurance located in Valparaiso, along with his son Ross, also an IU Bloomington graduate.
John and Betsy reside in Valparaiso, as do their children, Ross (Kelly), Jill, Sara, and seven grandchildren.
Mr. Joseph N. and Mrs. Joanna G. Thomas
Joseph and Joanna Thomas are longstanding philanthropic supporters of both IU and IU Northwest.
A 1951 honors graduate in accounting from the Kelley School of Business, Joseph then passed the CPA exam with the highest grade in the state; followed by a cum laude degree from Harvard Law School. Joseph is a former faculty member at IU Northwest and was a speaker at the campus's first commencement.
During his career, Joseph served as a lawyer in Gary, and his father, Ray C. Thomas, served as an IU trustee from 1952 until 1967. Ray played a pivotal role in establishing the Northwest campus in Gary.
The Thomases have established the Ray C. and Josephine K. Thomas Scholarship Fund, as a way to honor Joseph’s parents. As trustee of the Byron Root Trust Fund, Joseph worked for many years with IU Northwest faculty, to finance and develop projects to serve older residents in Northwest Indiana.
The Thomases are also supporters of IU’s 1820 Society and the IU Foundation’s Presidents Circle (patron’s level).
Joseph and Joanna currently reside in Boynton Beach, Fla. They have three daughters, two of whom are also IU alumni, having earned their bachelor’s degrees from IU Bloomington.