First Bank Richmond supports IU East’s Student Events and Activities Center with $150,000 gift

First Bank Richmond has been synonymous with building projects in Richmond and Wayne County for more than a century.


Garry Kleer

And it’s also been synonymous with helping thousands of businesses, homeowners, investors and college students reach their dreams.

First Bank Richmond’s leaders believe higher education is a top priority. In that community leadership realm, it has served as a big benefactor for Indiana University East’s evolution over the last 45 years.

So, it’s only natural that the bank was one of the first to step up with a $150,000 gift toward the Student Events and Activities Center (SEC) that will be dedicated with a ceremony August 19.

“Education is one of the areas where we focus our philanthropic giving,” said Bank President and CEO Garry Kleer. “Projects like the SEC enhance the quality of life for all IU East students and will continue to help attract students from all over the country.”

The educational and athletic opportunities are major pluses, he said. But, so are the opportunities for better interactions between the campus and the communities it serves.

One example is the Red Wolves will have a home of their own. IU East basketball games and volleyball matches will soon be played there.

As IU East’s footprint and enrollment grow, it becomes ever more important to Richmond and the region it serves.

“(The university) plays a vital role in both education and the economic development efforts in East Central Indiana and West Central Ohio,” Kleer said. “The campus has evolved from a commuter campus to one in which today’s students are from all over and live in the Richmond community while they attend school.”

IU East was established in 1971 as a regional university. The first building on campus, Whitewater Hall, opened in 1975 and three have followed.

Enrollment reached a record 4,716 students last fall after more than doubling in the last decade.

The positive energy is obvious on campus, continues Kim Poinsett, vice president of community relations for First Bank Richmond.

“The campus has been transformed, over the past few years, into a vibrant, youthful and appealing atmosphere,” she said. “The addition of this fifth building solidifies IU East’s mission to be the best source for the educational needs of not only our community but surrounding communities.”

First Bank Richmond and its employees recently served as an IU East supporter in another way. The bank matched the first $9,000 raised in April as part of IU East’s participation in IU Day. First Bank Richmond is headquartered in Richmond and also has sites in Cambridge City, Centerville and Shelbyville. First Bank Richmond and IU East share in visions to build the community by working together as a team.

First Bank Richmond and IU East share in visions to build the community by working together as a team.

“Campus amenities play such an important role in the quality of life for students and impact their overall enjoyment of school and their success rate,” Poinsett said. “This (SEC) will act as a social gathering spot and hub for the students, giving them a feeling of community, pride and belonging that is needed.”

The support roles go both ways. IU East helps First Bank Richmond, too. One obvious way is by providing First Bank employees with great educational opportunities.

Poinsett noted these opportunities include:

    • 1993 graduate Linda Stewart, who received an associate’s degree in nursing. She now works with First Federal Leasing.
    • Assistant Branch Manager Justin Thompson graduated in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in marketing.
    • Branch Trainer Courtney Evans graduated in 2014 with a Master of Science in Management and serves on the IU East Alumni Association Board.
    • Lauren Jellison, who works at the Westside Branch, graduated last August with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in managerial accounting.
    • Mortgage Loan Officer Ryan Lathery graduated in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in finance.
    • Joshua Sutton works in the accounting department and graduated in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.
    • Commercial Loan Employee Ashley Caudill graduated in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.
    • Morgan Godsey graduated in December 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and corporate social responsibility.
    • Vice President and Commercial Lender Connie Reeve received her associate and bachelor’s degrees from IU East.

This gift counts 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

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

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 of approximately $1.9 billion. In fiscal year 2015, IU received $359.3 million in support from the private sector. IU is consistently ranked among the top four of Big Ten universities in annual voluntary support.