IU East celebrates moving forward while remembering 2021

Indiana University East knew early on in 2021 that it was going to be a different kind of year.

In February 2021, Indiana University and IU East were planning to return to more normal operations for the start of the fall semester and to have an on-campus Commencement Ceremony after going to virtual learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While a return to normal is what this year started out to be it is just a part of the good continuing to happen at IU East as the campus continues to create innovative solutions for teaching and learning, provide meaningful service near and far, and to enhance the learning and cultural opportunities for all.

student asissts mitigation test participant through process or closing the collection tube

Zachery Honeycutt provides direction on the last steps of mitigation testing at IU East. Honeycutt helped to staff the mitigation testing as a student in 2021. He is now a graduate and earned his Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry degree in 2021.

We invite you to review some of the accomplishments, celebrations and memorable moments of IU East’s students, faculty, staff, alumni and campus during 2021.

Accomplishments and Recognition
Sanga Song, assistant professor of marketing for the IU East School of Business and Economics, received a Racial Justice Research Fund grant in June 2020 from the IU Vice President for Research and the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs for the project. She is using the funding to lead a research project, “Understanding the Anti-Asian Social Media Content and Intervention Strategies.”

Aaron Comstock, assistant professor of anthropology, was awarded a Women’s Philanthropy Leadership Council (WPLC) grant in July for his project, “Past, Present, and Future Stewardship of Native Village Space: Integrating Indigenous Voices to Preserve our Cultural Landscapes.” One of 14 projects funded, the grant is covering costs for landscape management, clearing of invasive species and brush, and continued public education about the importance of what is known as the Guard archaeological site in Lawrenceburg, Indiana.

The IU East School of Nursing and Health Sciences was one of eight nursing schools in the state to receive an HRSA Diversity in Nursing sub-award grant through the Indiana Center of Nursing (ICN) in July. The grant is supporting the school’s efforts in health equity, diversity and inclusion efforts, mentoring programs and well-being.

A nursing student in red scrubs looks at a young man while she prepares his arm for a vaccine shot.

An IU East nursing student prepares to give a COVID-19 vaccination during a clinic held in April 2021.
The clinic was in partnership with Reid Health in collaboration with the Indiana Department of Health to provide free vaccinations for the campus and community.

Throughout the pandemic, students, faculty and staff have done an outstanding job of doing their part to keep their community safe and healthy. One such group of students has played a vital role since the start of the pandemic and the ongoing COVID-19 mitigation testing, now only for COVID check testing. Students have played an important role and staffed the testing initiative gaining hands-on work experience and preparation for future careers.

Students again were part of an important partnership with Reid Health to provide the COVID-19 vaccine in April 2021. Reid Health and IU East partnered in collaboration with the Indiana Department of Health to provide free vaccinations for the campus, Ivy Tech Community College, and members of the community. Reid Health administered and operated the clinics. The IU East School of Nursing and Health Sciences and Ivy Tech School of Nursing provided staffing by nursing students and faculty.

In May, two faculty received grants for research projects from IU East’s Center for Faculty Development. Deborah Miller, assistant professor of psychology, received the Erwin and Priscilla Boschmann Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Grant. Miller is a faculty member for the IU East School of Humanities and Social Sciences. Her project is “Improving Engagement and Sense of Community in Online Courses Using Popular Technology.” Beth South, assistant librarian of access and technical services and archivist, received the Center for Faculty Development Faculty Fellowship in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. South is a staff member for the Campus Library. Her project is “Exploring Open Educational Resources (OER) at IU East.”

Close connections and partnerships with the community are part of IU East’s history. This August, IU East celebrated its community connections recognized by Wayne County Area Chamber of Commerce for service to community. IU East faculty, staff, alumni and board members were recognized for their contributions at the dinner including Jerry Wilde, dean of the IU East School of Education, Kara Bellew, career services specialist for IU East Career Services and Internships alumnae Amy Dillon and Julie Frame and IU East Board of Advisor member Dr. David Jetmore.

The IU East School of Natural Science and Mathematics welcomed a new dean in August. Markus Pomper assumed the new role as dean. He was previously professor of mathematics and chair of the Department of Mathematics for the school.

IU President-elect Pamela Whitten toured IU East with Chancellor Kathy Girten, student Zachery Honeycutt, and administrators on April 27.

In April, then IU President-elect Pamela Whitten toured IU East with Chancellor Kathy Girten, student Zachery Honeycutt, and administrators. This was Whitten’s first visit to Richmond.

Memorable Moments, Events and Celebrations
IU East kicked off the new year by hosting a virtual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration with Earlham College and the Richmond chapter of the NAACP, a first-time collaboration for this type of multicultural event. April Ryan, a nationally acclaimed political analyst for CNN and longtime White House correspondent, presented the keynote for the 2021 event. This year the partnership continues with the online presentation on January 16, 2022, featuring keynote speaker Benjamin Crump, renowned civil rights lawyer. The event is open to the public. Registration and information is available at Eventbrite.

The impact of COVID meant for the second year in a row the ATHENA Leadership Awards were cancelled to maintain the health and safety of the community. However, Wayne County ATHENA Leadership Awards presented a $3,000 donation to Girls, Inc. on behalf of sponsors IU East and Wayne Bank. IU East and Wayne Bank have partnered to host the leadership awards since 2014 recognizing a diverse group of community leaders. Proceeds in the past have equally benefited the Women’s Fund of Wayne County and Girls, Inc., and the Boys & Girls Club.

Indiana University President Pamela Whitten made her first visit  to IU East soon after elected as the university’s 19th –and first female– president by the Board of Trustees on April 16, 2021. Whitten, then president-elect, toured IU East for the first time on April 27. Whitten made return visits through the year including for the Spirit of Philanthropy, held just a week ahead of her inauguration on November 4. The campus celebrated Whitten’s inauguration with an Autumn Festival and Watch Party. Courtney James represented IU East students at the event, and Chancellor Kathy Girten attended the ceremony held in Bloomington as well.

group photo of IU East students with Chancellor Girten and President Whitten in the Student Events Center

(Left to right) IU East Chancellor Kathy Girten, Gabby Mitchum, David Yocom, Sam Roberts, Richard McHone, Addie Brown, Vincent Narcisse, Terei Norman, Erin Bell, Lindsay Osborn and IU President Pamela Whitten gather for the Spirit of Philanthropy on October 22.

The Student Research Day was held virtually for the second year in a row. The event showcased the research and creative projects of 34 on campus and distance education students. During the virtual program for Student Research Day, Katelyn Brown, D.D.S., an IU East alumna provided the keynote address and the winners were announced.

IU East was the host of the IU Women’s and Gender Studies Conference, “Women’s and Gender Studies as a Site of Strength: Growth and Resilience,” for IU faculty and students held online from April 16 to May 1, 2021. Edwina Helton, director and advisor for Women’s and Gender Studies and professor of English at IU East, was the planning committee chair for the conference. Denise Bullock, chair of sociology and professor of sociology at IU East, provided the keynote address, and Carrie Longley, associate professor of fine arts at IU East, was the featured artist with the virtual art show titled “Femina Botanica.”

In May, IU East celebrated the Class of 2021 and Class of 2020 during an on campus Commencement Ceremony. Graduates in the Class of 2021 received 811 diplomas During the Commencement Ceremony, IU East to presented an IU Honorary Doctor of Music to Richmond native  Jack Everly in recognition for outstanding achievement to the arts and humanities. He is the Principal Pops Conductor of the Indianapolis and Baltimore Symphony Orchestras, Naples Philharmonic Orchestra, and the National Arts Centre Orchestra. Also during commencement, former IU President Michael McRobbie made his last trek to the IU East campus to preside over the ceremony. IU East Chancellor Girten presented McRobbie with the Chancellor’s Medallion, along with the medallions of each of the regional campuses, in gratitude of his 14 years of service.

The 2021 Commencement Ceremony celebrated the graduating classes of 2021 and 2020 on the IU East campus in May. Graduates attended an outdoor ceremony.

The 2021 Commencement Ceremony celebrated the graduating classes of 2021 and 2020 on the IU East campus in May. Graduates attended an outdoor ceremony.

The graduation celebrations continued in August at the Western and Southern Open. IU East, the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) and the Women’s Tennis Benefits Association (WTBA) celebrated 2021graduates Madga Linette, Nicole Melichar, Shelby Rogers and Teodora Mircicr, now retired. Linette, Melichar, Mircic and Rogers are four of 17 Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) players enrolled during the 2020-2021 academic year at IU East through the agreement.

With a return of campus events the Run with the Wolves 5K was back, moving to the month of September. There were 158 finishers this year. Proceeds from the 5K support student scholarship programs funded through the IU Alumni Association East Region.

In September, IU East marked the 20th anniversary of 9/11 with the nation. Contributions by students, faculty, staff and alumni on campus that day are available to read online.

New programs
Recently, IU East, First Bank Richmond and the Wayne County Foundation announced a new partnership to provide opportunities for underserved high school students in Wayne County. High school students across Wayne County now have the opportunity to take free college courses at IU East through a new program, College Now. The program is funded by the Wayne County Foundation and First Bank Richmond. College Now is a program designed to benefit area high school students by providing free college-credit courses that in turn, introduces them to the college environment, stimulates learning and encourages future academic achievement.

The College Now program first began as a pilot program in 2019 with Western Wayne Schools and Northeastern Wayne Schools to help meet the districts’ needs for college-level courses. College Now proved so successful that it will include all six Wayne County high schools in the spring 2022 semester.

Four individuals standing in front of the IU East media backdrop include Steve Simon, Shelby Rogers, Nicole Melichar and Lisa Gratta

WTA CEO Steve Simon, Shelby Rogers, Nicole Melichar and Lisa Grattan, WTBA Chairperson and WTA Player Board Representative.

A new degree program gained the attention of business leaders across the region. The Bachelor of Science in Accounting degree program was offered with the start of the fall semester in August. The degree is helping to meet an increasing demand for skilled accounting candidates with regional employers.

Gifts supporting students
To begin the new year, IU East announced a new scholarship established in 2021. The Edwin Lewis Pike and Marilynn Craig Pike Scholarship was established after IU East received an $850,000 bequest from Marilynn Pike’s estate. The scholarship will be awarded annually to one or more students pursuing a degree at IU East any academic program and residents of the state of Indiana in need of financial aid.

The Jerry & Terri Logan Fine Art Scholarship was endowed at IU East with gifts totaling $50,000 in 2021. The scholarship, established by Dr. Jerry Logan and Terri Logan, is designed to help more IU East students to achieve success and to entice others to give. Read more about the scholarship and the Logans’ longtime service to IU and the community.

Jamie Andrews of Fountain City, Indiana, and Alison Juday of Richmond, Indiana, are the 2021 recipients of the Paul and Pat Lingle Scholars Program. The scholarship award continues throughout their pursuit of a four-year degree while at IU East. The Paul and Pat Lingle Scholars Program award is given to two students who have been accepted into the IU East Honors Program, an academic program that provides an intellectually enriching curriculum for highly motivated students. Recipients receive a four-year scholarship, provided by the Lingles.

Remembering legacy and leadership
IU East mourned the loss of Professor Emeritus Paul Kriese, Ph.D., who passed away on March 6, 2021, at Friends Fellowship Community in Richmond. The legacy Kriese established as part of the IU East campus community – and the larger Richmond and Wayne County community – is guided by his life-long passion for civic engagement, equality, justice, and support for the success of students.

Before long, IU East soon felt the impact of losing two additional emeritus faculty.

Professor Emerita of History Eleanor Turk passed away on July 18, 2021, in Richmond. Turk was one of IU East’s earliest full-time faculty members, helping to establish the campus’ history and leaving a legacy in research, scholarship and travel abroad. Read more about Turk’s legacy.

Professor Emerita of Nursing Jane Vincent, Ed.D., R.N., passed away on October 26, 2021, in Richmond. Vincent was the example of servant leadership, earning local and state recognition for her leadership in nursing education. She was passionate about being a nurse and that passion carried through to serving others through teaching, mentorship, and philanthropy. Read more about the life of Jane Vincent.

IU East's women's soccer team won its second consecutive River States Conference Championship in April 2021.

IU East’s women’s soccer team won its second consecutive River States Conference Championship in April 2021.

Red Wolves Athletics
An IU East athletics year unlike any other was highlighted by a spring season unlike any other.

The traditional Red Wolf fall sports – soccer, volleyball and cross country – concluded their seasons in the spring due to the global pandemic. Those teams made the most of the opportunity.

The IU East women’s soccer team won its second consecutive River States Conference Championship. The Red Wolves won the RSC title match on a rainy afternoon in early April to advance to the NAIA Women’s Soccer National Championship for the second year in a row.

The IU East volleyball team, led by freshman All-Americans Jessica Swimm and Reece Shirley, made an April trip to the Kansas City area to compete in the NAIA Women’s Volleyball National Championship. The Red Wolves played a competitive match against No. 2-ranked Park University.

Chance Klipstine and Julia Arruda represented IU East at the 2020 NAIA Cross Country National Championship, held in April 2021 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Not to be outdone, IU East’s traditional spring sports also shined.

IU East is adding varsity esports at the start of the 2021 academic year.

Varsity esports joins Red Wolves Athletics for the start of the 2021 academic year.

The IU East women’s tennis team made history by winning the RSC regular season and tournament titles for the first time. The Red Wolves’ triumph at the RSC Championship tournament in late April in Nicholasville, Kentucky, resulted in a trip to Mobile, Alabama, for the NAIA Women’s Tennis National Championship in May.

Jo Wisecup continued the tradition of Red Wolves leading the pack at the women’s golf conference tournament. Wisecup won the RSC Championship in Florence, Indiana, with a record-setting score. Wisecup’s conference medalist finish was the fourth by Red Wolf golfer in a five-year span. Wisecup later fulfilled a career-long goal by competing in the NAIA Women’s Golf National Championship in Oklahoma City.

Jake Miller gained national respect for the IU East men’s golf program. Miller became the first Red Wolf men’s golfer to make the NAIA All-America team. Miller earned the recognition on the strength of a No. 19 finish in the NAIA’s national individual computer rankings.

A year of much change included a new sport plus new coaches for several Red Wolf programs.

IU East athletics welcomed its 16th varsity sport. IU East esports competed in its first varsity season during the fall semester, with competitions most Mondays and Tuesdays in the new IU East Esports Arena in Springwood Hall. The Red Wolf program fielded teams in Rocket League, League of Legends, Valorant and Overwatch.

Jeff Williams stepped in as IU East’s new men’s golf coach in the spring and directed the Red Wolves to a runner-up finish at the conference tournament.

New coach Cam Tiberg assumed the helm of the IU East cross country program in October, just in time to help Red Wolf senior runner Savannah Hart qualify for the national meet for the first time in her career. Hart passed her closest competitor in the final stretch of the RSC meet – held in early November on the familiar terrain of the IU East Cross Country Course – to earn a trip to Vancouver, Wash., for the NAIA Women’s Cross Country National Championship.

JW Maierle made his debut as new IU East track and field head coach in December.

The IU East basketball seasons started anew in October after the 2020-21 Red Wolf seasons were cut short due to the pandemic.

Even without playing a game, the Red Wolf women’s basketball still found a way to make a difference last February. IU East’s players and coaches raised more than $2,000 to contribute to the fight against women’s cancers during its first annual “Free Throw-athon.” Women’s basketball fundraiser: Red Wolves women’s basketball raising donations for Reid BRAvo! for this year’s breast cancer awareness campaign.