Indiana State University Newsroom

$700k bequest from retired ISU couple to benefit students

August 10, 2010

Jack Johnson and Lavelda Johnson Goble dedicated their professional lives to Indiana State University. Now, their devotion will continue in the form of a bequest to the university's first comprehensive fundraising campaign.

The $700,000 gift will help provide financial support to students via "March On! The Campaign for Indiana State University." With the upcoming disbursement from Goble's estate, the value of scholarships set up in her name and that of her late husband will increase by eight times.

Goble worked in the university president's office from 1961 to 1987, during the tenure of Presidents Raleigh Holmstedt, Alan Rankin and Richard Landini. Johnson retired from the political science department faculty in 1982.

They couple had great empathy for students and found their greatest pride in student accomplishments, according to those who knew them.

"She was a mentor to the work study students in her office," remembers longtime friend Dorothy Jerse. "She was aware of the struggles young people faced and was happy to know so many students."

Johnson "was a brilliant man," said longtime colleague William Maxam, "one of the nicest guys I ever knew."

Maxam, who began his ISU career with Johnson in 1964, said Johnson always put students first, even ahead of being published Johnson and Maxam began their ISU careers.

The Jack T. Johnson Political Science Scholarship is awarded to undergraduate students majoring in political science who maintain a 3.0 grade point average or higher. The Lavelda Johnson Goble Scholarship is awarded to a Linton-Stockton High School graduate enrolled in Indiana State's Donald W. Scott College of Business. Linton was Goble's hometown.

Michael Scott, a recent ISU political science graduate from Gary who served as president of the ISU Student Government Association, is a past recipient of the Jack Johnson Scholarship.

"This scholarship helped alleviate financial concerns, which has given me the opportunity to focus more on academics. It has been a great value to my career at Indiana State," Scott said. "I was pleased and actually shocked when I received it."

Students do not apply for the scholarship, but are selected by political science faculty based on their accomplishments.

Brianna Henico, a sophomore business major, and 2010 accounting graduate Thomas Wilson are among Linton residents who have benefitted from the Lavelda Johnson Goble Scholarship.

"On registration day, I went to the financial aid office and was presently surprised with this scholarship. It has encouraged me to work even harder to pursue good grades and to keep a strong grade point average. I am very grateful to everyone who made this scholarship possible," Henico said.

"I was very honored to receive the Lavelda Johnson Goble Scholarship. It meant a lot to be recognized for my academic achievements, and it was very helpful in relieving some of the financial burden associated with higher education," Wilson said.

The Johnson and Goble scholarships currently provide between $1,000 and $3,000 per year. Eventually the income from the two scholarship endowments could provide full-ride scholarships for the deserving students selected to receive them, said Joel Harbaugh, associate vice president for development with the foundation.

"This gift provides a legacy for Dr. Johnson and Lavelda to continue to serve ISU students," Harbaugh said.

To date, the March On! Campaign has raised more than $59 million for students, faculty, programs and facilities. The campaign continues through December 2012 with a goal of $85 million.

Photo: - Lavelda Johnson Goble

Contact: Joel Harbaugh, associate vice president for development, Indiana State University, 812-237-3774 or

Media contact: Kim Bloch, communications coordinator, Indiana State University Foundation, 812-237-8875 or