Indiana State University Newsroom

ISU Foundation recognizes donors

April 19, 2011

The Indiana State University Foundation hosted the 2011 Philanthropy Awards Celebration at Hulman Memorial Student Union on the ISU campus. The Philanthropy Celebration annually recognizes Indiana State donors for their generous contributions to the University.

"This has been a phenomenal year at Indiana State," said university President Dan Bradley.

Highlights of the evening included recognition of ISU donors who have given generously to support students, faculty, programs and facilities. The April 16 celebration included the introduction of the recent 1865 Society members, who have established a planned gift benefiting Indiana State. Also recognized were the newest Book and Torch Society members, who have a cumulative lifetime giving of more than $100,000.

Indiana State band students and scholarship recipients opened the evening with a special trumpet fanfare. The foundation then recognized recipients of three philanthropic awards and the John P. Newton Spirit of ISU Award.

George Graesch received the Faculty and Staff Philanthropy Award in recognition of the significant impact he has made by inspiring others and providing financial resources for the university and its students. Graesch scholarship recipients Jenny Goodwin Nation, who graduated in 2010, and junior Jordan Black told the story of Graesch, a 1947 alumnus and ISU music faculty member from 1953 to 1984.

Nation said that Graesch's 31 years as a teacher and mentor impacted students through their access to education.

Graesch, emeritus director of bands and coordinator of the wind division, has established five scholarships in support of Indiana State students. His most recent scholarship endeavor was in memory of his colleague and predecessor as ISU director of bands, Joseph Gremelspacher, composer of the university's fight song "March On You Fighting Sycamores." The university's first comprehensive campaign, "MARCH ON!," was inspired by the fight song. The Joseph A. Gremelspacher Memorial Band Music Education Scholarship supports band students studying music education in the College of Arts and Sciences.

"What a wonderful opportunity students have at Indiana State because of the program that we have that was started primarily by Joe Gremelspacher," said Graesch, who first became involved with the ISU music program as a student in1941. "The reputation that we have in music education has been terrific through the years and we want to maintain that reputation."

Graesch partnered with the foundation to help solicit funds for this scholarship from other music alumni.

Black said he was connected to Graesch through their love of music and was fortunate to have an opportunity to meet Graesch at the 2009 homecoming celebration.

"It is his dedication to students that motivates him to give," said Black.

Catherine Saunders, ISU Foundation director of development, said Graesch's philanthropy touches nearly all areas of the university through his interests. Most importantly, he and his late wife, Lois, have funded four endowed scholarships in addition to the Gremelspacher Scholarship, including: the Lois E. Graesch Nursing Education Scholarship in honor of his wife, the David G. Graesch Memorial Scholarship in honor of their son, the Karen Graesch Lukens Scholarship in Cross-Linguistics in honor of their daughter and the George M. Graesch Wind Scholarship.

Gary and Georgine Riley received the Philanthropic Excellence Award, which is presented to those with a passionate commitment to philanthropy through leadership, vision, volunteerism and personal giving. Since 1998, the Rileys have supported Indiana State in memory of their deceased son, William G. Riley, a 1989 accounting graduate who died in an auto accident in 1998. Their support honors their son through the William G. "Bill" Riley Endowed Scholarship in Business.

The Rileys "have a real affection for Indiana State," said Jeff Harper, director of the MBA program in the Scott College of Business.

Harper also introduced the current recipient of the Riley scholarship, Shyam Sammidi, an international student in the MBA program.

In addition to establishing a scholarship in their son's honor, the Rileys have assisted the Scott College of Business through their financial support. A pledge to the MARCH ON! campaign will name the William G. Riley MBA Project Room and Development Fund to support renovation of a room in the Scott College's new home. The gift will also fund work on various projects by MBA students.

The Rileys' support comes from their belief in education. Gary Riley said he and Lois have seen the importance of higher education in each of the communities in which they have lived.

"Bill's memory and the Rileys' impact on our students and faculty will live on forever," Harper said.

Dever Distributing Co. received the foundation's Corporate Philanthropy Award in recognition of strong financial support or coordinated volunteer efforts.

"Dever Distributing has impacted ISU athletics in a profound way," Ron Prettyman, director of athletics, said.

A dedicated supporter of Sycamore athletics, Dever Distributing recently pledged to support both the baseball and football programs through gifts for facility renovations. The company named both the Dever Distributing Concession Stand at Bob Warn Field at Sycamore Stadium and a meeting room, The Sycamore Room, at Memorial Stadium. Annually, Dever supports cross country and track and field, athletic fundraising events and the Terre Haute REX.

"Dever Distributing has made countless contributions to ISU and their investment in Sycamore Athletics is helping athletes, like myself, to become successful both in competition and in life," Kayla Alexander Kunz, former cross country and track athlete said.

The company also provides annual support through its contract with Nelligan Sports Marketing.

"We're happy to help give back to the community and support ISU," said Tom Dever, the company's general manager. "It's a great opportunity to assist the university and help the city of Terre Haute."

Donald W. Buttrey received the John P. Newton Spirit of ISU Award. An Indianapolis attorney who graduated from ISU in 1956 with a degree in business education, Buttrey has been a longtime supporter of Indiana State, including through his service on the university's board of trustees and on the foundation board. 

Established in 2009, the John P. Newton Award pays tribute to those who, like the long-time alumni director for whom it is named, have demonstrated a lifetime commitment to the university.

"My attendance at ISU was pre-ordained by my mother, but at the end of the freshman year I wanted to come back," Buttrey said.

He described how professors at what was then Indiana State Teachers College "nurtured my newfound desire to learn with just the right amount of encouragement and discipline." They insisted he come to class prepared to participate in discussion and lured him into the areas of accounting, insurance, and international economics. Those professors helped him develop the self-confidence and eagerness that enabled him to attend law school, graduate at the top of the class and enjoy a successful career as a business attorney, he said.

"ISU changed my life," Buttrey said. "I accept the great honor of receiving the John P. Newton Spirit of ISU Award with humility. I have done nothing to earn it except to attempt to utilize the education I received here. Whatever I have been able to do for this great institution pales in comparison to what it has done for me."

Photos: - George Graesch (center), recipient of the Faculty and Staff Philanthropy Award from the Indiana State University Foundation, poses with scholarship recipients Jenny Goodwin Nation and Jordan Black. (ISU/Tony Campbell) - Gary and Georgene Riley, recipients of the Indiana State University Foundation's Philanthropic Excellence Award, address the audience during the Foundation's Philanthropic Awards Celebration. (ISU/Tony Campbell) - Dever Distributing received the Indiana State University Foundation's Corporate Philanthropy Award for 2011. Pictured (left to right) are Gene Crume, president of the ISU Foundation, Tom Dever, ISU President Dan Bradley, Bill Dever, former ISU track and cross country athlete Kayla Alexander Kunz, and Ron Prettyman, ISU athletic director. (ISU/Tony Campbell) - Donald W. Buttrey, recipient of the Indiana State University Foundation's 2011 John P. Newton Spirit of ISU Award is flanked by Newton (right), longtime executive director of alumni affairs at ISU, and foundation board member Larry Boulet. (ISU/Tony Campbell)

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