Despite the demands of being the CEO of an Indianapolis based home building company as well as a wife and mother, it was important for Kelli Lawrence, ’01, to stay connected to her alma mater. She found the Ball State University Alumni Council was an ideal way for her to do so. A member since 2012, she became council president in July 2019. “Through Ball State, I met my husband and was prepared for a fulfilling and successful career,” she said. “It is an easy decision to give back my time to the University and is truly a family affair.”
What are some of the biggest changes in the council in recent years?
We have improved our nomination processes to ensure the highest caliber of members in all positions, collaborated more closely with the Foundation board, and supported important new alumni and University programs such as the Cardinals Connect mentoring platform, One Ball State Day, and Day of Beneficence.
What are some of your priorities in where you want to lead the council?
Developing a strategic alumni engagement plan that supports the University’s strategic priorities is a key focus of the council this year. We are working now to collaborate with the leadership of Ball State, including the academic deans, enrollment, career services, and other areas in which alumni can be engaged to help advance the University and support students.
In addition to this major strategic planning effort, we are evaluating the composition of the council to make sure it is best positioned to support the strategic alumni engagement plan. Ensuring each member’s service is purposeful and all constituencies are represented in a meaningful way is a key focus this year. Finally, we are evaluating each program we offer to ensure it has relevance and adds value to the alumni we serve.
There’s uncertainty now created by the COVID-19 crisis. Yet you and your husband (Russ, ’94) recently gave a significant gift to the new George and Frances Ball Scholars Program that’s funding undergraduate Indiana students scholarships. Why was that important to you at this time?
Now, more than ever, we need to support our students. The George and Frances Ball Scholars Program is a fantastic way to support those students and participate in a generous matching opportunity to allow our donation to go further. Given the current economic uncertainty, providing financial support to students will be even more critical to attract them to Ball State and keep them on track to graduation.
If an alum said to you, “I want to help Ball State but don’t know how to get involved,” what would you tell them?
There are literally thousands of ways to be involved. The alumni engagement team is a fantastic resource to help direct alumni to an area of service or involvement that would be meaningful to them — be it social, academic, professional, or based on the place they live. Any person can contribute to Ball State regardless of financial means, from attending an event to sharing Ball State news through your social media networks. Sharing your Ball State story, encouraging students to attend, and proudly wearing your Cardinal attire are great ways to show support for your alma mater.
Great universities are known, in part, because of the achievements of their alumni; Ball State is no different. I would encourage all alumni to show their Cardinal pride and to brag a little about their accomplishments.