Indiana State University Newsroom

President’s Dinner honors distinguished alumni, philanthropists

November 7, 2021

The inaugural President’s Dinner on Friday at the Sycamore Banquet Center honored recipients of Indiana State University’s Distinguished Alumni Award and recognized the philanthropy of generous donors. 

The event, presented by ISU Federal Credit Union, was emceed by Mike Alley, emeritus member of the ISU Foundation Board of Directors, and Buffy Boulet, a member of the ISU Foundation Board of Directors.

The honorees:

Distinguished Alumni Awards 

Since 1957, Indiana State has presented the Distinguished Alumni Award to alumni who have been outstanding in their professional accomplishments and have significant achievements that benefitted their local and global communities.

Honoree — Michael “Mike” Alkire, ’85

Alkire grew up in Akron, Ohio, and was a two-time All-American swimmer before attending Indiana State. He graduated magna cum laude with a degree in computer science. Alkire now serves as President & CEO of Premier Inc., a technology-driven healthcare improvement company uniting an alliance of more than 4,400 hospitals and health systems and approximately 225,000 other providers and organizations.

Since joining Premier, he has taken the company public and created more than $4 billion in value for member health systems across the country. Alkire is a thought leader in the healthcare industry, and led Premier’s efforts to address a nationwide drug shortage, testifying before the U.S. House of Representatives regarding Premier research on shortages and gray market price gouging. More recently, during the COVID-19 pandemic, he led his company to use domestic suppliers and global sourcing to bring 226 million masks and respirators, 106 million gowns, and 750 million exam gloves to U.S. providers in a time of need.

Alkire currently serves on Premier Inc.’s Board of Directors as well as the board of the Alliance for Healthcare Policy, and participates on the Healthcare Leadership Council. He is also host of the InsideOut podcast, sharing compelling stories of innovation across America’s healthcare system. He was named one of the Top 25 chief operating officers in healthcare for 2018 by Modern Healthcare.

Alkire and his family reside in Dallas, Texas.

Honorees — Paul Chaney, ’88, and Susan Chaney, ’92

The Chaneys are both first-generation college graduates. Both were active in Greek life at ISU — Paul as a member of Kappa Alpha Psi and Susan as a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha.

Paul Chaney attended ISU because it has an excellent ROTC program. He served on Active Duty, in the Army Reserve, and the Army National Guard from 1983-2009. He retired as a lieutenant colonel with two Bronze Star medals and having served in Desert Storm and Operation Enduring Freedom.

Paul Chaney has also worked over 20 years in the pharmaceutical industry. He is currently an Executive District Sales Manager for AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, overseeing a team of 10 sales professionals in the cardiovascular area.

Susan Chaney, originally from Indianapolis, attended ISU "because it was a smaller university that offered my major" and "was close to home so I could go back home frequently to visit my family." She graduated with a bachelor's degree in fashion merchandising. She is owner of Pinky's Classy Creations LLC, an online retail store specializing in personalized custom gifts for special occasions.

The couple is active in community service. Paul Chaney has mentored youth through his fraternity’s Guide Right Program; coached AAU track; and served as a Big Brother for more than five years. Paul Chaney currently serves on the ISU Foundation board. Susan Chaney mentors college women in her sorority.

In Alabama, the Chaneys are members of the Union Chapel Missionary Baptist Church. The couple resides in Madison, Alabama.

Honoree — Richard “Rich” Porter, ’77

Porter, from Hammond, Indiana, graduated with a degree in business management while also competing for ISUs track and field team as a hurdler.

Porter’s 40-year career includes positions at Kimball International, Rockwell International, and Ingersoll International. For the past 15 years, he has been a partner in a private equity group. He has built a platform of manufacturing companies in Ohio and New Hampshire.

The Porters have a history of giving to ISU. In 2015, Rich played an instrumental role in the donation of $500,000 in software to the College of Technology from Hurco Companies, where he serves on the board of directors. Porter and his wife, Robin, recently donated $250,000 to create the Rich & Robin Porter Cancer Research Center. The donation will support five research fellows.

Porter currently serves on the ISU Foundation Board as Chair. He also serves on the boards of the James Cancer Hospital (Ohio State University) Foundation and the French Oil Company. The Porters reside in Troy, Ohio, and Hilton Head, S.C.

Student Philanthropy Award 

The award recognizes Indiana State students for their dedication and significant contributions to enhance the University’s culture of philanthropy. 

Honoree — The Honors Council

The Honors Council has championed student giving by hosting events and activities, They have produced creative videos to energize students while spotlighting the importance of philanthropy at Indiana State.

John P. Newton Spirit of ISU Award 

The John P. Newton Spirit of ISU Award was established in 2010 honoring John Newton’s longstanding dedication and service to Indiana State University. This award honors alumni who, in John’s likeness, show a deep connection to their alma mater.

Honoree — Sycamore Alumni Legacy of Change Endowment (SALCE) Group

The SALCE Group formed with the purpose to support students further in their education while building a culture of philanthropy and engagement among Black alumni. Their vision, dedication, and philanthropic commitment led to the creation of an endowed scholarship to support students striving to be a catalyst for change in their communities.

March On! Awards 

The March On! Award is the most prestigious award presented by the Indiana State University Foundation. It honors transformational philanthropy to Indiana State University.

Honorees — Susan and Norman Abazoris

Sue and Norman Abazoris made a $300,000 gift to Indiana State to create the Susan Dauberman Abazoris Scholarship in the Bayh College of Education. The endowed scholarship is the first to support students pursuing a Master’s Degree in School Counseling.

Honorees — Jerry and Jan Cockrell

Jerry and Jan Cockrell have been loyal donors to Indiana State for more than 30 years. . The couple has created two endowed scholarships supporting students in the College of Health and Human Services and College of Technology.

Honorees — Sandy Senior Dauer and Keith Dauer

The Dauers established an endowed $250,000 scholarship to support students and faculty in the Department of History. The endowment will provide support for academic and cultural learning experiences through travel.

Honoree — Magnet Forensics

The company’s $1 million software gift provides students and faculty in cyber criminology with access to the company’s XIOM Cyber software and training.

Media contacts: 

Mark Alesia, Director of University Communication 

(O) 812-237-3837 

(C) 812-229-8020

Dianne Powell, Associate Director of University Communication

(O) 812-237-8764

(C) 812-878-2131