Indiana State University Newsroom

Indiana State Honors four with Distinguished Alumni Awards

October 6, 2010

The Indiana State University Alumni Association will honor four recipients of the Distinguished Alumni Award at a reception Friday, Oct. 8, in University Hall. This year's recipients are:

R. Brent Beeler graduated from Indiana State University with a Bachelor's degree in Marketing and Management in 1975 and has been widely recognized in the business community. Until his recent retirement, he built a 24 year career with Berry Plastics; an Evansville based plastic packaging company. During his tenure at Berry, Indiana's largest privately held company, Beeler successfully assisted with the organic and acquisition growth as Chief Operating Officer. He was responsible for the sales and profits of Berry's $ 4.1 billion business. Outside of his work at Berry, he is extremely involved in the community in which he lives and also with his alma mater. He is on the Board of Directors of the Boys & Girls Club of Evansville, the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation Foundation Board and the Growth Alliance for Greater Evansville. Beeler is a member of the ISU Foundation Board, ISU Scott College of Business Dean's Executive Council, ISU Alumni Association, and member of Lambda Chi Alpha Social Fraternity. As a member of the Scott College of Business' Dean's Executive Council he has worked tirelessly to advance the mission of the college in many respects including student recruitment, program development, and alumni connectivity. Beeler and his wife, Cindi, also an ISU graduate, live in Evansville and have two children, Brandon and Brittany.

Elkhart native David Darling, world renowned cellist, and 2009 Grammy Award winner for Best New Age Album "Prayer for Compassion", earned both his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Music Education from Indiana State University and has dedicated his life to teaching others about music. He is co-founder of "Music for People" an internationally recognized non-profit educational network dedicated to teaching and fostering music improvisation as a means of creative self expression. For over 30 years Darling has performed at major festivals and in concert venues all over the world including Lincoln Center, Carnegie hall, Merkin Concert Hall, Grace Cathedral, Queen Victoria Hall, The Kennedy Center. Darling has supported his alma mater as a Barnes Lecturer in Music for the ISU Music Department and has spoken in the department's convocation series. He currently resides in Goshen, Ct.

Born and raised in Clinton, Gerry Dick has become the most recognizable journalist covering business and economic development issues in Indiana. He received his bachelor's degree from Indiana State and went on to enjoy a 14-year broadcasting career with WRTV in Indianapolis. In 2000, Dick co-founded Grow Indiana Media Ventures, LLC, a media company created to deliver Indiana business news and information through multiple media sources. He currently serves as president and managing editor of Grow Indiana Media Ventures and is the host of Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick, Indiana's most watched local business television program. He is active both in his community and with his alma mater. Dick is a member of the board of directors of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and Junior Achievement of Central Indiana and supports Indiana State University as a member of the Scott College of Business Advisory Board, and annually participates in the Groundhog Day Economic Forecast event. He and his wife Roz, make their home in Indianapolis and have two sons, Spud and Reese.

Connia Nelson, is senior vice president for Verizon Telecom Human Resources which supports approximately 124,000 employees. Nelson, a native of Lawrenceburg, earned her bachelor's degree from ISU and a master's degree in organizational management from Dallas Baptist University. She was awarded the 2007 CareerFocus Eagle award from the National Eagle Leadership Institute and CareerFocus magazine which is the nation's premier leadership achievement for African-American and Latino professionals who excel in business and leadership. She has served as an active volunteer for the American Diabetes Association; National Campaign for the International Civil Rights Center and Museum; Board of Trustees for Post University; and in the National Urban League's Black Executive Exchange Program. Nelson served as keynote speaker for the March On! Campaign kickoff; served as alumni speaker at ISU's May 2010 commencement and has served as a speaker for ISU's Black Leadership Conference. She and her husband, Darrell, live in West Orange, New Jersey and have a daughter Adriel.

First awarded in 1957, the Distinguished Alumni Award provides recognition for the outstanding achievements of graduates of Indiana State. Only living alumni, who were regularly enrolled in any department of Indiana State University, and completed a degree of Indiana State University (or Indiana State College, Indiana State Teachers College or Indiana State Normal College) are eligible. Recipients should have made significant contributions benefiting his/her community, state or nation while continuing their connection with the University and/or the Alumni Association since leaving the campus.

Writer: Paula Meyer, ISU Communications & Marketing, 812-237-3783 or