Put aside the pandemic for a few minutes and take a trip down memory lane.

The seemingly distant past captured below represents the many beloved highlights of the academic year—friends embracing amid triumphs, packed football stadiums, and the elation and excitement of starting a new life at college.

An empty campus, though, provided a bittersweet opportunity for Ball State University’s photographers. With human life absent, campus’s natural beauty took center stage.

These are some of the best moments the captured during the 2019-2020 academic year.

Let There Be Light

The Beneficence statue and three columns are surrounded by blue skies and a star-shaped sun flare
Photo by Don Rogers

Beneficence appears to hold the sun in her hand during a spring morning in 2020.

On to New Beginnings

A smiling female student pushes a cart full of her personal items into her residence hall
Photo by Bobby Ellis

Move-in Day is always a momentous occasion for new students and their families. In a matter of hours, the quiet calm of summer on campus bursts to life as everyone carries, pulls, pushes, and shoves their belongings into their homes for the school year.

Yoink! No You Don’t

Students in red puffy vests navigate a brightly-colored inflatable obstacle course
Photo by Bobby Ellis

A cord pulls back a student – a little surprisingly – while running in an inflatable bungee race. The game was part of Welcome Week activities for new students to become familiar with campus and get to know their classmates.


A Ball State police officer in uniform, shivering while standing waist-deep in water in a dunk tank
Photo by Bobby Ellis

Ball State Police Lieutenant Terrell Smith emerges after plunging into the icy pool of a dunk tank. The police department hosts Dunk-A-Cop at the beginning of the academic year as a fundraiser for Riley Hospital for Children.

Look to the Stars

Frog Baby statue lit up at night
Photo by Samantha Strahan

Ever the night owl, “Frog Baby” looks up to the stars on a late summer evening.

Still Time to Celebrate

Three field hockey players embrace on the field, their faces full of emotion
Photo by Samantha Strahan

Ball State Field Hockey Forward Michelle Shampton receives hugs from her teammates as they celebrate their 1-0 win against Appalachian State University in the final 39 seconds of the game.

Windows of Opportunity

A glass-front multi-story building surrounded by an evening blue sky
Photo by Don Rogers

With its glass facades, the back side of the new Health Professions Building is a marvel of modern architecture. The building opened in 2019 and is the home of Ball State’s College of Health.

Clear Skies on the Horizon

Scheumann Stadium's bright green turf and red end zone accents is surrounded by football fans in the stands
Photo by Samantha Strahan

Blue sky and red end zones create a colorful panorama during the Family Weekend football contest against Florida Atlantic University on Sept. 14.

In Sync

Student dance on stage while illuminated by colorful lights
Photo by Bobby Ellis

Going strong since 1987, Air Jam is Ball State’s most popular student Homecoming event. Student organizations dance and compete in the annual lip-sync competition.

October Skies

Schafer Tower at sunset
Photo by Samantha Strahan

The evening horizon glows with a final goodbye as the sun sets behind Shafer Tower and the Letterman Building.

Cardinal Pride

A marching band performs in a parade, illuminated by hazy yellow sunshine
Photo by Bobby Ellis

Bathed in autumnal radiance, the Pride of Mid America Marching Band led the Homecoming Parade with a flourish of drumbeats.

She Has the Voice

A woman plays a keyboard and sings for fans on the floor of Worthen Arena
Photo by Don Rogers

Alumna Lauren Hall, ’16, returned to her alma mater to perform at halftime of the women’s basketball game on November 20. Hall, who played soccer at Ball State, was a crowd-favorite contestant on season 17 of  NBC’s The Voice. 

First Gen Pride

A smiling male student holds out a button which reads "#FirstGenBSU"
Photo by Don Rogers

Aaron Lor proudly participated in the University’s “I Am First” celebration in L.A. Pittinger Student Center, showing he is among the first generation in his family to go to college. Aaron is a master’s student in student affairs administration in higher education and an assistant residence hall director.

What’s up, Doc?

On stage at commencement, a man in academic regalia is being honored by Ball State administration
Photo by Don Rogers

Winter Commencement speaker Freeman A. Hrabowski III receives an honorary doctorate degree from Ball State University on Dec. 14, 2019.  Hrabowski is the President of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. President Barack Obama nominated Hrabowski to serve on the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans, and he is currently chair.

Moment of Reflection

A female student stands in a hallway while reading a plaque
Photo by Samantha Strahan

Ball State students ventured to Toronto, Canada in early November to visit Toronto’s various maker spaces as part of a fellowship with Virginia Ball Center for Creative Inquiry. Students created various printed pieces and a documentary of their research.

Mid-Winter Warmth

The stately Administration Building is surrounded by snow and sunshine
Photo by Bobby Ellis

Sunlight glows upon the cool ground near the Administration Building during a crisp day on the Quad. 

Just Keep Swimming

Swimmers wearing caps and goggles underwater take a streamline form
Photo by Samantha Strahan

Ball State’s women’s swimming and diving team defeated Indiana State 159-141 on January 18 at Lewellen Aquatic Center.

United We Stand

Several people in coats and hats march peacefully down a road while holding a banner that says "One Community: Ball State University and the City of Muncie Keeping the MLK dream alive"
Photo by Don Rogers

Ball State students, plus faculty and staff members, showed their support for diversity, inclusivity and solidarity at the MLK Unity March on January 20. The Martin Luther King Jr. Day procession was part of the 39th annual Unity Week celebration on campus.

Trustworthy Trustees

A group of 10 men and women in sharp business clothing pose in two rows while smiling for the camera
Photo by Don Rogers

The Board of Trustees posed with President Geoffrey S. Mearns after electing new officers in January 2020. Renae Conley (shown front row, second from left) succeeded Rick Hall as chair and is the first woman to serve in the position.

Balancing Act

A gymnast does a leap split above a balance beam, surrounded by her teammates and a crowd
Photo by Bobby Ellis

A member of the Ball State Gymnastics Team performs a balance beam routine during the final home meet of the 2019-2020 season.

In Tune with His Surroundings

A male student with dark wavy hair and a black jacket sits at a piano on a stage
Photo by Bobby Ellis

Alessandro Riccardi was drawn to Ball State to be a piano assistant, which lets him teach plus play for ballet classes. The Italian native expects to graduate in December with his artist diploma in music performance.


A bridge spans a creek surrounded by snow-covered pine trees and an undisturbed snowy bank
Photo by Don Rogers

A February 2020 snow creates a peaceful scene with these evergreens nestled up to the eastern branch of York Prairie Creek on campus and the walking bridge over it near Jo Ann Gora Student Recreation and Wellness Center.


A basketball player makes an emotional face in front of the basketball net
Photo by Bobby Ellis

Jarron Coleman celebrates after scoring two of his 19 points against Eastern Michigan at home Feb. 22. It was the guard’s second-best point total this season. Coleman, redshirted as a freshman, was an Indiana All-Star as an Indianapolis high school senior.

Hugs All Around

Two students hug in a gymnasium full of people, tears and emotion evident on one student's face
Photo by Bobby Ellis

Tired but happy, students celebrate the success of the 13-hour Dance Marathon that raised $566,207.20 for Riley Hospital for Children this year. In 2008, Ball State Dance Marathon became a campuswide student organization. Ball State University is one of more than 150 universities and high schools around the country to host a Dance Marathon for a Children’s Miracle Network hospital.

Getting Creative

A man sitting in a chair at his desk while looking at a laptop, surrounded by art supplies
Photo by Don Rogers

Mike Prater, associate professor of art education, conducted Spring semester 2020 classes from his home office after COVID-19 resulted in a campus shutdown. Here, he works with a painting student using a video camera to show strokes and progress on art work.

Bell of the Ball

Schafer Tower surrounded by blue skies and whispy clouds, with pink blooms in the foreground
Photo by Lucinda Stipp

Dedicated in 2002, Shafer Tower rises 150 feet in the air and is home to 48 custom-made carillon bells. Here, the tower stands tall over a blooming yet empty campus on May 1, 2020.

Wanna Be Friends?

A cheerful-looking squirrel stands on its hind legs while looking at the camera
Photo by Samantha Strahan

“Hey, where did everyone go?” might be a question on the mind of this campus-loving squirrel who seems overjoyed to glimpse the human who snapped this photo. Don’t worry, guy, we’ll all be back soon!

The One and Only

One purple tulip stands out in a field of yellow tulips
Photo by Lucinda Stipp

A single purple tulip stands out in a flower bed full of yellow ones in March 2020.

Good for the Goose

A Canada goose sits in grass with a red Ball State bus in the background
Photo by Don Rogers

A Ball State bus sports a colorful WE FLY message, but this waterfowl stays put. April is typically the time when the birds arrive on campus. The most common among them, the Canadian goose, can be territorial and hostile during its nesting season—behavior that inspired the Ball State police to post a good-natured “notice of trespass” for the birds on Facebook.

Taking Shape

A construction scene showing a concrete and rebar frame with blue sky overhead
Photo by Samantha Strahan

Development of the new East Quad continues with the construction of the Foundational Sciences Building just to the south of the new Health Professions Building. The $87.5 million, five-story structure will be the home of the chemistry and biology departments and is a significant step in the University’s plan to meet the growing demand for STEM professionals in Indiana.

Perfect Timing

The sun peeks through an opening in the very tall Shafer Tower in the afternoon
Photo by Don Rogers

Shafer Tower synchronizes with the afternoon sun for an image that would be suitable for accompaniment by a grand symphony.

Sailor’s Delight

A tall building with a banner saying "WE FLY" stands out in this landscape image, a colorful sunset in the background
Photo by Lucinda Stipp

A fading sun casts orange and red colors in the sky behind Teachers College Building in April 2020. The photo, taken from the McKinley Avenue Parking Garage also shows an empty Scramble Light during social distancing.