Larry and Jane Richards create the Venus Williams Tennis Scholarship at Indiana University East

Larry and Jane Richards have donated $25,000 to endow a scholarship for an Indiana University East tennis player, the proceeds of which will be matched annually by Indiana University to create a $2,250 annual scholarship. The scholarship will be named after distinguished IU East alumna and accomplished professional tennis player Venus Williams and will help support a participant in IU East’s intercollegiate tennis program for up to four years.

Jane and Larry Richards

Larry Richards states that “we hope the Venus Williams Tennis Scholarship will help recruit and retain accomplished students who wish also to play tennis for IU East, especially for the women’s team. We also hope that this endowment will inspire others to donate additional funds for this purpose.”

Jane Richards adds that “Venus Williams was one of my mathematics students when she was working on her degree in business administration. We are honored that she has agreed to let this scholarship be named for her. She has been a role model for many students and tennis players.”

Williams was the first student to graduate under the agreement that IU East has with the Women’s Tennis Benefits Association (WTBA). The WTBA agreement supports WTA players who wish to complete their bachelor’s degrees while continuing to play professionally. The agreement makes IU East the sole provider of online bachelor degree level education for WTA players.

Lisa Grattan, chairperson of the Women’s Tennis Benefits Association, thanked the Richards for their gift in recognition of Williams.

“We congratulate Jane and Larry Richards for establishing the Venus Williams Tennis Scholarship at IU East,” Grattan said. “It was Venus who inspired the partnership between the WTBA and IU East, and this endowment celebrates that legacy. The WTBA is proud of our educational partnership with IU East and its accomplishments.”

IU East’s men’s and women’s tennis teams were added to the athletics program in 2009-2010 academic year. At the time, the addition of the programs brought IU East’s intercollegiate teams to eight; now there are 15 programs for student-athletes.

Both programs have earned notable accomplishments. The IU East women’s tennis team qualified for the River States Conference championship match in 2011 and 2017. The IU East men’s tennis program received the 2017 Buffalo Funds Five-Star Champions of Character Team Award, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics’s (NAIA) “national championship” for Champions of Character efforts. The IU East tennis program has earned numerous NAIA Scholar-Team awards for team GPAs of 3.00 or better since its inception.

Larry Richards served as executive vice chancellor for Academic Affairs at IU East during the period 2004-15, with a one year appointment as interim chancellor (2012-13). Jane Richards was an adjunct lecturer in mathematics over this period of time. They are now both retired.

This gift will count toward the $3 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, IUPUI, IU East, IU Kokomo, IU Northwest, IU South Bend, and IU Southeast. The campaign will conclude in June 2020 to coincide with IU’s bicentennial year celebration. 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 in excess of $2 billion. IU is consistently ranked among the top four of Big Ten universities in annual voluntary support.