There’s a lot to celebrate about IU East, its alumni

October 10, 2019 |

A gala event on September 6 celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Indiana University East Alumni Association (IUEAA).

Two people talk with each other in Whitewater Hall Lobby.

Donna Spears and Charlie Nelms

In reality, though, the evening celebrated much, much more.

It was a time to reflect on how IU East became the vibrant, record-setting campus that it is today.

It was a time to thank those who paved the way for steady progress, who had the passion to build alumni activities and statewide relationships, and who had the drive to build a campus to serve record numbers of students.

It was a time to hand out IU Bicentennial Medals to founders of the IUEAA and the university’s only two directors of alumni relations: founding leader Bette Davenport, ’92, and current leader Terry Wiesehan,’96.

“The event was a great reunion of so many who have been so important to our success,” reports Jason Troutwine, B.S. ’01, vice chancellor for External Affairs at IU East. He emceed the event in the recently renovated Whitewater Lobby.

“It all gets back to relationships that started here,” he said in the days following the event. “How much we’ve matured and evolved and how our alumni played a role in that evolution.”

Family gathered around Margie Weller in WZ lobby

Margie Weller with daughter, Marcia Holman and her husband Jerry, son, Mark Weller and son, Dr. Robert Weller and his wife, Ann.

He had touched on those roles in opening remarks. “In tonight’s audience we have original charter members, alumni board members, board of advisor members and many who have served in several roles throughout the years. We are grateful to all of you.”

During the program’s welcome, Troutwine noted the work of IU Board of Trustee member Donna Spears, who lives in Richmond.

“We truly appreciate all you do to support IU East and our University,” Troutwine said.

Other speakers included current Chancellor Kathy Cruz-Uribe who said, “I have met so many alumni like you who are absolutely passionate about IU East. People often say that IU East is like a family, and that has certainly been my experience.”

Cruz-Uribe credited those in the room for helping to build the foundation for IU East’s current success. She noted that IU East now has more than 10,000 graduates.

John Hobson also spoke. He is the former senior vice president and chief operating officer of the IU Alumni Association who was instrumental in establishing the charter of the IU East Alumni Association in 1989.

Hobson remarked about how alumni were essential to the success of IU East and the Indiana University system.

Emeritus Chancellor Charlie Nelms gave the keynote speech. He was at the helm when the IUEAA started three decades ago.

three women in front of 30th anniversary screen in WZ lobby

Tricia Riveire Stumpf, Bette Davenport and Terry Wiesehan

Nelms is also the former vice president for Institutional Development and Student Affairs for Indiana University.

Nelms opened his remarks quoting Herman B Wells, president of Indiana University 1938-62: “Make no small plans. They are too difficult to achieve and are unworthy of your ability and your opportunity.”

Nelms enthusiastically recounted the origins of the IU East campus. During his tenure as chancellor, IU East grew from one building to a multi-building campus with a growing enrollment and additional degree offerings.

Nelms charged alumni and others in attendance to continue to assist with the growth of the campus by investing and supporting IU East.

He emphasized that alumni are not only obligated to invest and support their alma mater, but they are also privileged to be able to support its future.

In addition to the 30th anniversary of the IU East Alumni Association’s charter, Troutwine noted that the gala also celebrated the 200th anniversary of Indiana University — and that IU East will begin celebrating its 50th anniversary on July 1, 2020.

He said these anniversaries – in particular, the Bicentennial – provided a unique opportunity to recognize those who have been instrumental to the association’s success.

Tricia Riveire Stumpf, senior executive director of Alumni Engagement at the IU Alumni Association in Bloomington, presented six Bi-Centennial Medals as she addressed the crowd of approximately 150 attendees.

Those receiving the special medal included Margie Weller, Greg Chamness ‘84, Ingrid Toschlog ‘87, Lari Hunt ‘76, Lora Baldwin ‘89, Davenport, and Wiesehan (see details later in this article).

The Bicentennial Medal honors distinguished and distinctive service, broadly defined, in support of Indiana University’s mission as a public university, individuals who have enlarged the footprint of IU, or have helped to put IU on the map in unique ways. The medals themselves are unique, made from materials salvaged from the old bells which hung in the Student Building on the IU Bloomington campus, giving recipients a lasting piece of IU history. Those receiving the Bicentennial Medal should be seen as models for future students, faculty, alumni, and organizations to emulate as IU enters its Third Century.

Bicentennial Medal Recipients
Margie Weller and her late husband, Robert (Bob) W. Weller were instrumental the establishment of the IU East campus. Bob, an area businessperson and community leader, served on the campus’ board of advisors for several years. Margie’s grass roots efforts helped establish the, then, Wayne County IU Alumni Club bringing together IU Alumni in the Richmond area for social and philanthropic events.

Margie is a lifetime member of the IU Alumni Association and the mother and grandmother of a large family of IU alumni.

Greg Chamness was the first president of the IU East Alumni Association when it was chartered in 1989. He earned an associate’s degeee in Applied Science in 1983 and a bachelor’s of General Studies in 1984. He was the recipient of the IU Alumni Association President’s Award in 2007. Chamness and his wife, Victoria, are both lifetime members of the IU Alumni Association.

Ingrid Toschlog was the vice president at the time of the charter. Toschlog holds an associate’s degree in Business (1984) and a bachelor’s of General Studies (1987). She served as president of the IUEAA 1990-91. She received the IU Alumni Association President’s Award in 1995. She has served on the IU Alumni Association’s executive council and the board of managers. She is a member of the IU East Alumni Hall of Fame and is a lifetime member of the IU Alumni Association.

Lari Hunt served as the charter treasurer. He received associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in Business (1976). He is a lifetime member of the IU Alumni Association.

Lora Baldwin, who passed away March 14, was a founding charter secretary of the IUEAA. She received associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in Business (1982) from IU East. She also earned a master’s of Library and Information Science (1985) and a MS in Educational Psychology (1989), both at Indiana University Bloomington. She was a lifetime member of the IU Alumni Association and worked for IU East for over 35 years, first as a work study student in the library and then as librarian/faculty member starting in 1985. She was the recipient of the IU Alumni Association President’s Award in 1994.

Michele McClellen, Lora’s daughter, received the bicentennial medal as a posthumous award for her mother.

Bette Davenport graduated from IU East with an associate’s degree in General Studies in 1983 and a bachelor’s of General Studies in 1992. She served the IU East campus for 27 years – 19 years as IU East Director of Alumni Relation. Following her retirement in 2004, she assumed a volunteer role with the IU Alumni Association and has been an active member of the chapter for many years. Bette was honored with a School of Continuing Studies Distinguished Alumni Award in 2004 and the prestigious IU Alumni Association’s President’s Award in 2016. She is an IU East Alumni Hall of Fame Inductee and a lifetime member of the IU Alumni Association. She has also given back to the campus by creating the Bette G. Davenport endowed scholarship.

Terry Wiesehan graduated from IU East in 1996 with a Bachelor’s of Arts in English. She served on the alumni board from 2000 to 2004 and became director of alumni relations in 2004. She made a $100,000 commitment to the campus to create the Rick and Terry Wiesehan International Travel Scholarship, the Terry Hawkins Wiesehan Women’s Athletics Scholarship, and the Hawkins-Wiesehan Memorial Scholarship … in memory of her father, Dick Hawkins, and her late husband, Rick.

Wiesehan is a lifetime member of the IU Alumni Association.