Indiana State University Newsroom

Alumnus creates business scholarship

March 10, 2022

Indiana State University alumnus and Sullivan, Indiana, native James "Jim" Lear has created the James and Wanda Lear Family Business Scholarship.

The scholarship will provide support to students who, much like Lear, are from Sullivan or Vigo County and are studying business at Indiana State University. 

"My wife Wanda and I saw in our lifetimes how important it was to have a college education," Lear said.  "Knowing how expensive a college education can be, I feel every little bit can help."

After graduating from Indiana State in 1950, Lear built a successful career in banking, creating connections across the Terre Haute and Sullivan communities for nearly 40 years.

"Jim Lear's impact on the local community has been tremendous, and it will continue to grow through this scholarship," said Terry Daugherty, Dean of the Scott College of Business. "He is not only creating positive change in the lives of current students but inspiring them to be engaged leaders within their communities as well."

Lear said he appreciates the support he received throughout college and his career. His mother and sister both passed away before he turned 15, and his father was a German immigrant who never graduated high school.

"Given the opportunity, I was determined to work hard, make it happen, and not disappoint my dad," Lear said. "Along the way, there were teachers, friends, and others, who gave me advice and provided me learning opportunities for whom I'm forever grateful."

Jeremiah Turner, Associate Vice President of University Advancement, called Lear an "inspiration."

"By overcoming obstacles and paving a path for others to do the same, Jim Lear is the bold embodiment of the Sycamore spirit," Turner said. "We are incredibly grateful that his journey has brought him back to Indiana State in such a generous manner."

Lear offered words of advice to the students who will receive the scholarship.

"May you go on to do great things and remember those individuals and institutions that helped you along the way," he said.