NewsWinter/Spring 2020

A Passionate Commitment

Walt Koon ’74 (economics and finance) and wife Janette Koon ’75 (sociology)

hen the newest members of the 1902 Society began giving, it was 1994, and the University of Indianapolis celebrated the opening of the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center. That same year, 1958 alumnus William Raspberry received a Pulitzer Prize in Commentary, and the University mourned the passing of longtime president Dr. I. Lynd Esch. Elsewhere in the world, South Africans elected Nelson Mandela president, travelers could use the newly opened Channel Tunnel to travel quickly between England and France, and NBC debuted “E.R.” and “Friends.”

While a lot has changed in the past 25 years, the steadfast commitment of these supporters to the University of Indianapolis has not. The 1902 Society, named for the founding year of the University of Indianapolis, recognizes the University’s most loyal alumni and friends who have made gifts during 25 or more fiscal years. Even small gifts over time have a significant effect on the institution, students, and faculty. The 1902 Society’s impact continues to grow, with 1,271 dedicated supporters (771 households) and a combined lifetime giving of $22,248,240.95.

The 1902 Society celebrates this group of loyal alumni and friends. Society supporters are recognized for gifts of any size to any fund, and membership is perpetual. Members receive special communications and event invitations throughout the year, as well as a special gift from the University. Society members represent a broad spectrum of interests and backgrounds; whether they are an alumni couple who met in a German class on campus or proud supporters of UIndy as parents of a former student, all share a passion for the University of Indianapolis.

Walt Koon ’74 (economics and finance) and Janette Koon ’75 (sociology) shared their first date at Dr. Marga Meier’s “all German (no speaking English allowed)” Christmas party. Now approaching their 44th anniversary, Janette said that while German class was where they met, “statistics class kept us together. I could not be mad at Walter (during those brief dating spats) for long that semester because I needed him to get me through the required class!” Janette and Walt both experienced UIndy in such personal ways, from the liberal arts schooling that provided foundations for their careers to close friendships they still have to this day.

Walt shared how UIndy gave him the opportunity to develop a personalized course of study, of which he took full advantage.

“My degree is in economics, which was a small department in the early 1970s, and I was able to take a variety of courses in philosophy in addition to the liberal arts courses prescribed for all of us. Through these courses, I developed a broad appreciation for different cultures, disciplines, and people. Problem-solving skills and critical thinking are by-products of the classroom and social interactions with other students on campus. These are the elements of college that stay with you as you mature.”

Walt received grants and scholarships while attending UIndy and wanted to continue to pay it forward for future generations. “Supporting the University through our unrestricted giving allows the University to support those areas of greatest need,” he explained. “We’ve also contributed to specific programs and events over the years. We are excited about the direction of the University. We are amazed at the diversity of the campus community and the exceptional reputation many of the degree programs enjoy.”

Small-town natives Allen and Jane Milburn came to the UIndy family as proud parents of Kirk Milburn ’81 (management science). They fell in love with that same small-town feel on the campus of UIndy.

Allen and Jane Milburn
Allen and Jane Milburn

“The size is a great advantage. It is not too small, and it is not too large. The relationship-building options provide you the accessibility to administration and staff, and provides a really good balance.”

As active parents, the Milburns enjoyed watching their son grow and develop on campus within the UIndy culture and religious connection that continued throughout their son’s four years. “Universities need ongoing support, just like a life. In our case, it is not a one-time gift; it is more of a long-term commitment.”

They continue to see the value in supporting “the positive influence and contributions UIndy graduates are having on their professions and throughout the community. That is the value of what
we do.”

Faithful annual gifts to the University mean many more UIndy supporters are on their way to membership in this society. For more information about the 1902 Society, please contact Carrie Sorensen, donor relations and stewardship coordinator, at 317-788-2070 or


“UIndy has provided me with so many opportunities to grow as a person. Without your generosity, I would not be able to partake in these experiences. Thank you for your willingness to give and support my education at UIndy!”

-Jenson Harris ’21

“UIndy has opened up a world of possibilities for me, and for that opportunity I am grateful to the school, and especially you.”

-Hope Coleman ’22

“I have made meaningful friendships and countless unforgettable memories in my time here so far. I can’t wait to see what my future at UIndy will hold. Thank you again for your donation. I really appreciate it.”

-Hanna Stamm ’22

“Thank you for your gift! You provide endless opportunities and help students have access to higher education.”

-Noel Wolfe ’19

“Being able to go to a college, especially UIndy, is such a privilege and an honor. Thanks to your donations, I can be here at UIndy receiving a world-class education.”

-Jenna Crafts ’23

New 1902 society members

  • Lorin Clemenz and Kathie Clemenz
  • Jennifer Fogo
  • Steve Goddard and Barbara Goddard
  • Lisa Hicks
  • Barbara Johnson and Richard Johnson
  • Elizabeth Johnson and Michael Johnson
  • John Kelly and Stephanie Kelly
  • Bruce Kercheval and Judy Kercheval
  • Linda Richard and Michael Richard
  • Suzanne Ruth and Richard Ruth
  • Robert Showalter
  • Joseph Watson and Linda Watson
  • Mary-Margaret Willbanks

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