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25th Annual IU Northwest Gala celebrated May 19

Event proceeds benefit students; university acknowledges the ‘Gift of Scholarship’

Chancellor Lowe and President McRobbie are joined by several of the IU Foundation scholarship recipients.

IU Northwest File Photo
Chancellor Lowe and President McRobbie are joined by several of the IU Foundation scholarship recipients.

An evening filled with camaraderie, great food and spirits was celebrated by all who attended the 25th Annual Indiana University Northwest Gala on May 19. More than 250 Gala guests joined, in the name of scholarship, to help ensure that all Northwest Indiana residents have an opportunity to attain an IU degree at the Northwest campus.

Addressing alumni, donors and friends, Chancellor William J. Lowe expressed his gratitude for the generous support that IU Northwest students have received through the years.

“Tonight, we are celebrating a quarter-century of scholarship support from you, our alumni and friends,” Lowe said. “Your generosity has enabled a generation of IU Northwest students to attain their Indiana University degrees and transform their lives through the high-quality learning experience that our academic programs furnish.”

Miracle Anokwute, a biology and pre-med student from Merrillville, is one of 120 IU Northwest students whose lives have been transformed through the generous support of individual and corporate donors.

“This scholarship helps to give me more time to excel at my studies and to become a well-rounded individual without having to worry about the financial aspects of my education,” Anokwute said. “Without this scholarship I would not have time to be involved in my community, and in my campus.

“My goal in life is not just to excel at my studies but to use the time afforded me, by the generosity of those who donated to my scholarship, in a way that benefits others. While I do not have the money, as you do, what I do have is time.”

Anokwute, a recipient of the Chancellor’s Salutatorian scholarship, was recognized during the evening’s festivities, along with several other recipients: Emily Hall of Michigan City, a 2011 graduate of the College of Health and Human Services; Megan Pollock of Hebron, a 2011 graduate of the School of Education; Brittni Smith of Valparaiso, a psychology student; and Fatima Qaisrani of Highland, a chemistry student.

“These are only a few of the many students whose accomplishments have been facilitated by your gifts of scholarship,” said Tim Weidmann, Executive Director for External Relations. “Your support will echo throughout their lives, and throughout the lives of those whom they will impact, thanks to the Indiana University education that you have helped to make possible for them.”

Helping improve the lives of current and future IU Northwest students was the impetus for alums Marisa (BA ’10) and Taylor (BA ’11) Kendra to establish a $10,500 endowed scholarship. Through the Marisa and Taylor Kendra Scholarship, a deserving psychology student will be awarded $500 each academic year.

“During the four years that we attended IU Northwest, we were privileged to be the recipients of numerous awards during the annual (College of Arts and Sciences) Tea Ceremony,” Taylor said. “We were inspired by those that had set up previous scholarships for the university and we decided that we, in turn, would like to establish one in our names. We believe this was extremely important to give back to our school, since this university has done so much for us.”

Marisa and Taylor, residents of Highland, are not new to the importance of philanthropy; their first endowed scholarship was created at Merrillville’s Andrean High School, their alma mater. The two will continue their IU education this fall at the IU School of Dentistry in Indianapolis.

“This was an easy decision for us because we have been involved in many philanthropic endeavors in the past,” Marisa said. “We both strongly believe in never underestimating the power that one person has on a community or institution.”

Both Marisa and Taylor expressed the hope that, by establishing their scholarship, they can become models for other graduates, especially those who have graduated in the past five to 10 years.

The Kendra sisters are prime examples of the necessary alumni support on which IU and its students depend, explained IU President Michael A. McRobbie. 

“Our dedicated alumni continue to invest in higher education and in the future of this nation even as state appropriations decline,” McRobbie said. “Our graduates have been the beneficiaries of over a century of wise investment in higher education by state and federal governments. That investment has helped foster an era of national prosperity and national security with tens of thousands of discoveries that have improved or saved hundreds of thousands of lives.”

The Gala committee is hopeful that the number of student scholarships will increase in the years ahead with support for this and future Galas.


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Emily Banas
Office of Marketing and Communications

Erika Rose
Office of Marketing and Communications

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Additional Article Photos

IU Northwest File Photo
Alumni and donors, Marisa and Taylor Kendra

IU Northwest
25th Annual IU Northwest Gala celebrated May 19