Indiana State University Newsroom

Alumni Association announces 2014 Distinguished Alumni Awards

September 11, 2014

The Indiana State University Alumni Association has announced the recipients of this year's Distinguished Alumni Awards, the association's most prestigious honor.

Tom and Debbie Bareford, Charles E. Brown and Krishna Pendyala will be recognized at the Distinguished Alumni Awards on Oct. 10 at 7 p.m. in in the Sycamore Banquet Center.

"These four alumni have had a tremendous impact both in their careers and the communities they live. We could not be more proud of these Sycamores and are thrilled to honor them at this year's Distinguished Alumni Awards," said Rex Kendall, Alumni Association executive director.

More than 280 Indiana State graduates have received Distinguished Alumni Awards since the program began in 1957. The award is presented annually to alumni who have made significant achievements professionally and within their communities.

The Barefords, who graduated in 1964, are best known at Indiana State for co-founding, with classmate Michael Simmons, the Sycamore Tricycle Derby. After more than 50 years, the annual trike race remains one of the university's most well-known traditions in which the Barefords are still involved.

Tom spent more than 40 years in the banking industry, retiring as vice president of Chase Bank's Large Corporate Banking Group. Debbie, who completed a master's degree at Indiana State in 1968,, served as an educator in the Indianapolis area. She retired after 44 years of teaching business, math and computer science.

Today, the couple dedicates much of their time to volunteering for Indiana State. Debbie has served on the Alumni Association board of directors and as chair of the Indianapolis Alumni Club. Tom serves on the ISU Foundation board of directors. Both are members of the President's Society, Book and Torch Society, 1865 Society and have received the foundation's March On! Philanthropy Award in recognition of their longstanding philanthropic support of their alma mater. Tom and Debbie reside in Carmel.

Brown began working for Indiana State following his 1976 graduation with a bachelor's degree in English. He served as assistant director of Upward Bound and, in 1979, became director of the African-American Cultural Center, which now bears his name. During his tenure, Brown increased the center's library and art collections, guided the Ebony Majestic Choir and was responsible for such ongoing programs as the Martin Luther King Jr. Dinner, Miss Ebony Pageant and Black Leadership Conference.

In honor of Brown's dedication and service to the center and to Indiana State students, the Charles E. Brown African-American Cultural Center Endowment was created to help fund the center's needs.

In addition to his role with the center, Brown served as faculty advisor to the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, Alpha Angels, Indiana State Soul Review and Sigma Gamma Rho sorority. He also founded and served as advisor to the Black Student Organization and the Black Greek Council.

Brown earned a Master of Public Administration from Indiana State in 1993. He and his wife, Scotia, a 1993 and 2003 Indiana State graduate, reside in Terre Haute.

Pendyala completed a master's degree in educational foundations and media technology from Indiana State in 1986 after moving to the United States from his native India.

A life coach, author, workshop leader, and social entrepreneur, Pendyala is deeply passionate about helping people make more mindful choices in life. He is the founder of two multimedia companies and serves as chief empowerment officer at Tetra Advisors, and president of the Mindful Nation Foundation.

Pendyala, who lives in Allison Park, Penn., is a blogger for, and is the author of "Beyond the PIG and the APE: Realizing Success and True Happiness." A committed volunteer in the Pittsburgh community, he is a member of TiE Pittsburgh, the National Association for Self-Esteem, Pittsburgh NOW and Discover You meetup organizations.

In addition to his master's degree from Indiana State, he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology and has attended executive management programs at Carnegie Mellon University and Harvard University.

In addition to being recognized at the Distinguished Alumni Awards, the recipients will be honored during the Blue and White Parade and half time of the Indiana State University Homecoming football game on Oct. 11.

Photo: - Tom and Debbie Bareford

Photo: - Charles E. Brown

Photo: - Krishna Pendyala

Contact: Rex Kendall, director, Indiana State University Alumni Association, 812-514-8446 or