Indiana State University Newsroom

New scholarship established for Lake County students

February 23, 2011

A new Indiana State University scholarship in memory of a Gary resident will benefit students from Gary and Lake County.

The M. Frances Bliss-Hill Endowed Scholarship will provide one-time awards of up to $5,000 to high school seniors planning to attend Indiana State or current ISU sophomores with financial need. Eligible students must also have a 2.5 grade point average or higher on a 4.0 scale

The scholarship honors Mae Frances Bliss-Hill, a seamstress and tailor who designed and made clothes for people throughout Gary.

As a young lady in 1943, Bliss-Hill moved to Gary with her mother, Augusta Harris-Bliss, following the death of her father, Nelson Bliss.

The family previously lived in Mississippi and viewed their new home in Gary as a "promised land," said Edwin A. Hill, Bliss-Hill's youngest son and a 1973 ISU graduate with a bachelor's degree in art education and advertising design.

"Her flawless creations and alterations for the young and the old were testaments to her dedication to quality. She exemplified that commitment and dedication can lead to success," Hill said. "This same dedication to quality and commitment is the basis for the formation of this scholarship fund. My mother's hope and vision for what is possible in Indiana and in the U.S. is invested in our desire to assist our youth in gaining access to a quality education at Indiana State University."

Hill and his wife Brenda, founders of the scholarship, are graduates of Gary Roosevelt High School.

A gift from Hill, a retired Johnson & Johnson executive, together with matching funds from the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies, helped establish the scholarship fund. The gift is part of "March On!" the ISU Foundation's first comprehensive fundraising campaign. Launched in fall 2009, the campaign has so far raised $75 million toward its $85 million goal. The fundraising campaign is scheduled to conclude in December.

Contact: Kim Bloch, assistant director of communications, Indiana State University Foundation, 812-514-8486 or

Writer: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3743 or