Office of Gov. Mike Pence
INDIANAPOLIS – Governor Mike Pence yesterday signed an Executive Order to formally change the name of the 21st Century Scholarship Program to the Evan Bayh 21st Century Scholars Program. Evan Bayh, who served as the 46th Governor of Indiana from 1989 to 1997, made the scholarship a top priority during his tenure, with the goal of helping ensure Hoosier students afford the opportunities provided by post-secondary education.
“Thanks to the vision of former Governor Evan Bayh more than 25 years ago, tens of thousands of Hoosier students have taken advantage of the 21stCentury Scholars program as a way to achieve their goal of going to college,” said Governor Pence. “This program offers students across our state a path to educational success, and I’m proud of the students who have committed to developing the character traits and work ethic that will carry them into adulthood. I’m grateful to sign this Executive Order to formally recognize the man who made the dreams of these students a reality.”
Governor Pence was joined by former Governor Bayh, former State Representative and Commissioner for Higher Education Stan Jones, who authored the legislation that created the scholarship program, Indiana State University President Daniel Bradley, state leaders, and several current and former 21st Century Scholars to recognize the occasion at Indiana State University’s Bayh College of Education.
Founded in 1990 and signed by former Governor Bayh, the 21st Century Scholars program has provided scholarships to more than 70,000 Hoosier students – many of whom were the first in their families to attend college. According to the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, 21st Century Scholars are more likely to go to college than their peers, and are more likely to be academically prepared and complete a degree than their low-income peers.
Students who meet certain income requirements can apply for the 21st Century Scholars program during 7th or 8th grade and must complete several steps, including signing a pledge to not use illegal drugs or alcohol or commit a criminal act, maintaining a cumulative 2.5 GPA, graduating high school with a Core 40 diploma, and applying to an eligible Indiana college. 21st Century Scholars can receive a maximum of 4-years paid undergraduate tuition at an Indiana college.
In 2013, Governor Pence signed into law legislation (House Enrolled Act 1348) that added an additional prerequisite to the 21st Century Scholars Program, which required students take at least 30 credit hours of courses per academic year. The change resulted in a double-digit increase in the number of scholars staying on track to complete their degrees. Since Governor Pence took office, Indiana has more than doubled funding for the 21stCentury Scholars program.
Indiana is currently ranked 1st in the Midwest and 7th nationally in providing need-based financial aid. To learn more about Indiana’s Evan Bayh 21stCentury Scholars program, visit http://scholars.in.gov/.
Indiana State University
When Tim Leman was a student at Indiana State University, he never envisioned he’d return as the university’s featured commencement speaker.
“Not a chance!” he said. “In fact, I just hope the attendees stay awake for (my speech).”
Indiana State will conduct two commencement ceremonies on May 7 in Hulman Center.
The College of Arts and Sciences and Bayh College of Education will begin with a processional at 9:45 a.m., followed by the ceremony at 10 a.m. The Scott College of Business, College of Health and Human Services and College of Technology will begin with a processional at 1:45 p.m., followed by the ceremony at 2 p.m. No tickets are required for either ceremony.
For his part, Leman plans to talk about “being unconditional” in his message to graduates. “It has to do with not setting limits for yourself,” he said. “We all have a tendency to place glass ceilings on what we're doing. Being unconditional is about not having any limits — not just better or higher ones.”
Leman definitely knows from experience how important it is to live unconditionally. Born in Fort Wayne, Leman aimed high even as a youngster. “In fifth grade, I wrote a story that culminated in me becoming president. Of the United States.”
Once he became a Sycamore, Leman knew he had made the right choice. He enjoyed being active in campus organizations and getting to know fellow students and faculty.
“I liked that I knew everyone. ISU is small enough that you can have a personal relationship with your professor, with the dean of your college and with many, many students,” he said. “I got to know lots of the other fraternity guys and sorority girls.”
Graduating magna cum laude in May 1997 with a Bachelor’s of Science in insurance and risk management from the Scott College of Business, Leman entered the insurance brokerage business.
It was through an industry advisory council in the Scott College of Business while he was living in Arizona that Leman met Dave Gibson. “His father founded Gibson (insurance),” Leman said. “He talked me into moving back to Indiana. Dave’s a pretty good salesman.”
Family owned for the first half of its existence, Gibson is today 100 percent owned by company employees. Now chairman and CEO of Gibson, Leman makes it a point to hire Indiana State graduates.
“We have 15 now, and No. 16 starts in June,” he said. “We’ve experienced tremendous growth and can’t find enough experienced people, so we’ve focused on hiring directly out of college and training them... That’s where ISU comes in. The IRM grads are fantastic: smart, energetic and hard workers.”
In fact, Leman says, he would recommend Indiana State to prospective students. “If they’re looking for a hands-on education with internships and relationships with professors, it’s a great place.”
Other Indiana State commencement speakers include Ishaiah Williams, a health science major from Evansville and Mariah Wright, a construction management major from Clinton.
The afternoon commencement speaker, Williams was entrenched in campus life, serving as the president of the Applied Health Science Committee, treasurer of Promoting Health Across Campus Together, Community Service chair of Trendsetters, resident assistant, a member of Hines hall Council and the National Society of Leadership and Success.
She was on the dean’s list, named a Richard Landini Outstanding Junior, African American Cultural Center Academic Achievement Award, Best Mid-Year Hire for Residential Life. She earned several scholarships — Richard Lugar Nominee Scholarship, Fifth Third Bank Scholarship and the Academic Merit Scholarship. Within the Terre Haute community, she served in the Mollie R. Wheat Memorial Clinic, Union Hospital student ambassador and in a church daycare.
Upon graduation and completing her internship, Ishaiah plans to return to her hometown of Evansville to pursue a Master’s of Public Administration at University of Southern Indiana with the ultimate goal of working in an adoption agency to improve mental health policies for children.
Wright, who will speak at the morning commencement ceremony, landed an internship with Thompson Thrift her freshman year and helped plan, hire contractors and oversee the construction of the $22.7 million student housing project at 500 Wabash Ave. Fittingly, she now calls that address home.
“Every time I’m walking somebody up to my apartment, I’m like, ‘Oh, I built this,’” Wright said with a laugh. “It’s an experience that not many people get. It’s pretty amazing. It’s always something I bring up in job interviews. Everyone’s like, ‘Really?’ I got really lucky. Things just lined up.”
With the Wabash Avenue project complete, Wright spent her next to last semester at State balancing an eye-popping 24 credit hours and commuting to Indianapolis for a full-time internship with Pepper Construction. She helped the company with their biggest project at the time at Community East Hospital.
“It’s insane,” she admitted, “all in between trying to fit in job interviews and stuff like that.”
Another quality that makes Wright stand out is her Spanish language fluency — a skill she further perfected during a study abroad experience at Veritas University in Costa Rica. About half of the workers at the Thompson Thrift job site did not speak English, she said. Further south, that ratio can be 80 percent or more.
“The language barriers on construction sites can cause problems down the line, so it’s an amazing skill to have. When you have someone there who can help out, it definitely changes things,” she said.
After graduation, Wright plans to move to Houston, where she has accepted a position with Hunt Construction Group - An AECOM Company.
“A lot of it is thanks to my professors for just being willing to go out of their way, like helping students, even after hours — just putting your name out there to all these different companies,” she said. “Indiana State has such a great program that companies want to come out and they want to receive the resumes of the students. Opportunities come because of that.”