Bette Davenport, of Richmond, Indiana, knows first-hand the impact scholarships can have for students completing a degree. In recognition of Indiana University East’s mission and to encourage others to give, she is making a $25,000 gift to establish the Bette G. Davenport Alumni Scholarship.
As an alumna of IU East and the former alumni director for the campus, Davenport said scholarships have always been her way to enable students to complete their education without the financial stress.
“Those who know me will tell you that scholarships have always been my passion,” Davenport said. “It is my hope that a scholarship, regardless of the amount, will make life somewhat easier for the student. Whether it means a smaller loan amount, funds for a babysitter and extra monies for gasoline or groceries, the journey to their dream of higher education has been eased.”
Davenport received her Bachelor of General Studies degree in 1992, a time when many bachelor degrees were unavailable at the regional campus, she notes.
As a 27-year employee of IU East, Davenport worked in various positions for offices in alumni relations, development, ceremonies and special events, and volunteered for local alumni chapters. Davenport served as the first alumni director at IU East, retiring from the position after 19 years in 2004. As director, she helped guide the organization of the IU East Alumni Association (IUEAA), which was chartered in 1989.
“Prior to the establishment of the IUEAA I worked closely with what is now the Whitewater Valley Chapter of the IUAA,” Davenport said. “Because of that chapter’s commitment to student scholarships on the IU East campus they established an endowment which now exceeds more than $123,000.” The fund, which was created in 1989, will provide over $5,000 in awards to IU East students this year. The chapter also has an endowment for students studying on other IU campuses, such as IU Bloomington or IUPUI, Davenport said.
“I believe this is the only IUAA Chapter with such a significant endowment to be used for students on a regional campus in their area,” Davenport said. Millie Martin Emery (from Richmond, Indiana) was one of the first students to receive a chapter scholarship. She received a B.A. in Journalism in 2000.
Davenport said the IUEAA has established a similar pattern of awarding scholarships to students on the IU East campus. During the 2016-17 academic year, the IUEAA awarded $9,000 in scholarships for IU East students.
Jason Troutwine, vice chancellor for External Affairs, said Davenport is a tremendous ambassador for IU and IU East. “Bette cares deeply about our students and our mission as a regional campus of IU. She has dedicated over four decades to helping IU students graduate and, then, keeping them engaged as alumni. If you know Bette…you know she loves this campus. We are very grateful for her past support and for what this new scholarship will mean to future students.”
Originally from Indianapolis, Davenport moved to Richmond because her husband, David Davenport, was a native of the city. A composer and conductor, David Davenport was also an alumnus of IU and received his bachelor’s and master’s degree in Music Education from the Jacobs School of Music on the Bloomington campus. He was the president of Richmond Music Press and choral director at Richmond High School. He was also the director of the IU East Community Chorus and IU East Singers from 1979-1986. In 1992, he received the Singing Hoosiers Alumni Award. He passed away in January 2012.
“The presence of Indiana University East in this community, first and foremost, offered me the opportunity to complete my higher education and to receive a Big Ten degree,” Davenport said. “Like many others, I began my college career at another institution of higher learning. Again, like many other students, life intervened. I am surrounded by family members who are IU alumni.”
In 2006, Bette and David Davenport watched as their granddaughter, Kiera Davenport Landess, received her degree from IU Bloomington at the IU East Commencement. “At the time her grandfather was ill and not able to travel to Bloomington,” Davenport said. “It was the same year that I was honored with the IU East Distinguished Alumni Award. Kiera was able to receive her degree here at the IU East campus as her grandfather and I proudly watched. I was on stage and able to welcome her into the IUAA with a special IU hug.”
In recognition of her service to the university, Davenport was honored with a School of Continuing Studies Distinguished Alumni Award and an IU East scholarship in her name when she retired. She received the IU East Distinguished Alumni Award in 2006.
She continues to serve as a liaison between the IUAA and the Whitewater Valley and Henry County chapters.
In June 2016, the IUAA honored Davenport by presenting her with the President’s Award for her service and leadership to the alumni association. She said the honor was the highlight of her career, noting that IU and the IUAA provided her with a Big Ten degree, an incredible career and a plethora of wonderful friends and memories.
“Indiana University and the IU Alumni Association provide a life time of friendships and connections,” Davenport said. “It is the perfect opportunity to network and find a group who share your love for your University, no matter where you are located. You might be traveling or working in another state or country, yet finding that individual with an IU degree offers instant connection. IU is a family.”
Through her gift, Davenport hopes to provide others with an opportunity to join and benefit from the IU family.
This gift will count toward the $2.5 billion campaign, For All: The Indiana University Bicentennial Campaign. IU East’s campaign goal is $7 million, which will help fund a variety of campus initiatives, student scholarships and strategic projects. Find out more about IU East and ways to assist the campus at iue.edu/development.
For All: The Indiana University Bicentennial Campaign is taking place on all IU-administered campuses including IU Bloomington, Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis, IU East, IU Kokomo, IU Northwest, IU South Bend, and IU Southeast. The campaign will conclude in December 2019 to coincide with IU’s bicentennial year celebration in 2020. To learn more about the campaign, its impact, and how to participate, please visit forall.iu.edu.
Founded in 1936, the Indiana University Foundation maximizes private support for Indiana University by fostering lifelong relationships with key stakeholders and providing advancement leadership and fundraising services for campuses and units across the university. Today, the IU Foundation oversees one of the largest public university endowments in the country, with a market value in excess of $1.9 billion. In fiscal year 2016, IU received $360.9 million in support from the private sector. IU is consistently ranked among the top four of Big Ten universities in annual voluntary support.