Indiana State University Newsroom

Gala honoring Bradleys raises nearly $240K for students

October 21, 2017

Fittingly, Indiana State University's First Couple, who have tirelessly dedicated their careers to the service of students, were honored with a gala Friday night that raised nearly a quarter of a million dollars to support a career-readiness scholarship.

Described as "visionary" and "impactful," distinguished guests President Dan Bradley and First Lady Cheri Bradley were lauded by past university presidents, federal, state and local officials, employees, students and friends gathered. The Bradleys will retire in January.

Sen. Jon Ford (R-Terre Haute), on behalf of Gov. Eric Holcomb, presented Dan Bradley with the Sagamore of the Wabash Valley, the state of Indiana's highest award. The term "sagamore" was used by the Native American tribes of the northeastern United States to describe a great man among the tribe to whom the true chief would look for wisdom and advice.

In addition to garnering record enrollments and $300 million in capital improvement projects, Bradley's presidency has been marked by improved student success, increased focus on community service, development of new degree programs in high-demand fields including numerous health care programs as well as unmanned systems and engineering.

U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly, who spoke by video, said Dan Bradley's leadership has provided "unprecedented progress and growth and has made a tremendous impact on all of our students. Lifelong success starts with a good education. Through your commitment to quality higher education, Indiana State is imparting the skills and knowledge students need."

Last week, Congressman Larry Bucshon (R-Indiana) paid special tribute to Dan Bradley, who he described as a "true champion," on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.

"From his service to our country in the U.S. Army to his service to the students of Indiana State University, I urge my colleagues to join me in congratulating Dr. Bradley on his retirement at the end of this year," Bucshon said.

A series of videos captured the Bradley's family life, pre-Indiana State life and campus life.

"Many people might think the impact that Dan and Cheri have made on our university, our community and most importantly, on our students is immeasurable, but as we have learned from the Bradley presidency, there are benchmarks for everything," joked Dave Campbell, chair of the ISU Board of Trustees. "The reality is that the goodwill and morale created by these two incredible individuals cannot always be quantified, but its impact can be visibly felt."

The event also raised nearly $240,000 for the State Works Scholarship, a career-readiness program that helps students earn valuable work experience while also helping pay tuition costs.

"Together with tonight's donations, nearly $410,000 has been raised for State Works since its creation last year," said Indiana State student Nuri Rodriguez, a State Works scholarship recipient.

The State Works Scholarship is awarded to first-time freshmen, who are Indiana or Illinois residents and unconditionally admitted to Indiana State. State Works completed its first year with 98 active participants. Of that, 91 participants completed the Workplace Professional Skills Certificate addressing the eight Career Readiness Competencies defined by NACE and 96 of the participants completed a résumé review incorporating their State Works positions into the document.

More than $49,000 has been earned by students working on-campus and paid toward their education. The goal is to serve 600 Sycamores with unmet financial need by providing each student with a job that not only helps fund their college education but also provides at least 300 hours of resume-building work experience.

Also during the ceremony, the Bradleys were presented with honorary alumni status by the ISU Alumni Association, and their official portrait as First Couple was unveiled. Painted by Bill Wolfe, it will join the 10 portraits of the university's other past presidents in the Heritage Lounge of Tirey Hall. Wolfe also sculpted the 17-foot-tall statue of Larry Bird and the statue of the V-12 soldier on campus.

"When it came time to commission the portrait of our eleventh president, the board decided that this portrait should properly reflect the partnership that Dan and Cheri brought to this presidency. Therefore, we decided it should be a portrait of both of them," said trustee Jeff Taylor.

The President's Medal for Leadership, Scholarship and Service given to an outstanding student from each graduating class will be renamed the Daniel J. Bradley Medal for Leadership, Scholarship and Service, announced Professor Liz Brown, chair of the Faculty Senate.

"While he may be a data-driven engineer, he also cares deeply about individuals, particularly our students and their success," Brown said. "The first newly named medal will be awarded in conjunction with winter commencement in December."

Bradley was also presented with a replica of the Indiana State University Presidential Medallion in recognition of his service.

"Universities are interesting places that have traditions that are not found in the corporate world with which I am familiar," said trustee Randy Minas. "The origins of academic dress date back to the 12th and 13th centuries and evolved by the flowing gowns worn by the clergy. In addition to the gowns, anyone attending commencement ceremonies today will witness various combinations of hoods, hats, cords, sashes, stoles and tassels worn by the faculty and graduating students. But only one individual - the president - wears the President's Medallion."

Cheri Bradley was presented with a pair of earrings to match a necklace made out of pieces of glass from the original Normal Hall stained-glass dome that her husband gave her as a Christmas gift.

"Cheri, we hope that whenever you wear these, you will remember that special evening and the way that the lighting of the dome illuminated everyone's faces and touched everyone's hearts," said Peggy Campbell. "Please know that you have had a similar effect on everyone who has come into contact with you. You have been a constant source of inspiration and have illuminated our lives with your compassion, your enthusiasm and your friendship. Thank you for being our ‘Keeper of the Light.'"

Last month, Cheri Bradley was awarded the Keeper of the Light distinction at the Torchbearer Awards presented by the Indiana Commission on Women.

For more information on the State Works program or to donate, go to


Photos: -- Dave Campbell, chair of the ISU Board of Trustees makes remarks at a gala honoring President Dan Bradley and First Lady Cheri Bradley Friday night at the Hulman Center. -- Nuri Rodriguez, a State Works scholarship recipient, announces the total amount fundraised for the program. -- The official portrait of Indiana State University's First Couple is seen as it is unveiled at a gala honoring the Bradleys Friday evening.

Media Contact: Libby Roerig, director of media relations and communications, Indiana State University, 812-237-3790 or