Mike Earley
Mike Earley, ’78

Mike Earley, ’78, brings a lifetime of leadership experience to his new role as chair of the Ball State Alumni Council.

The Council serves as the governing body of the Alumni Association and as a representative voice of the University’s 201,000 alumni.

Looking back at his Ball State experience, Earley says his involvement in organizations and leadership positions “was by far the best part of my education.” An Accounting and Management major, he went on to serve as a senior executive at several enterprises and is now owner of Earley Group LLC.

He recently sat down to discuss the many opportunities Ball State offers to all alumni, both near and far.

How did the pandemic affect alumni activities these past months?

The pandemic was unfortunate and kept people away from each other, but what it did do is show us that you can engage alumni in other ways. It may not always be the preferred way, but you can do it. With creativity and extra planning, the Alumni Association was able to host more than 200 virtual experiences.

What are the Alumni Council’s priorities right now?

The No. 1 goal is to increase engagement of our alumni base worldwide. Staff is working to develop a comprehensive communication and digital engagement strategy which will aid in this effort.

We will be working with the colleges to partner with them in promoting career, professional development, and mentoring opportunities. Engaging alumni worldwide in activities such as Cardinals Connect, where you can help connect collegiate members with potential mentoring opportunities, is a great way for alumni to give back.

The alumni base is a great networking opportunity. Regardless of what type of work you are in, it is always helpful to be able to reach out to somebody that you have some type of relationship with.

For instance, what better way for a small businessperson to reach new customers than to tap into the Ball State network? If you were a teacher looking for a job, chances are that the reputation of the Teachers College means something, and there is probably administration in that school that are BSU alumni.

Keeping involved also opens opportunities for alumni to give back. Obviously, the University can always use your financial help, but the important thing is not how much you give but just that you participate with your fellow Cardinals, finding ways to give of your time, talent, and resources. Being willing to act as a mentor for college students is incredibly helpful. Can you get involved with your local high school to promote Ball State? There are many opportunities to match your availability and interests.

What motivates you to stay involved?

I had an incredible Ball State experience, with lasting friendships. Staying engaged in the University has given me great opportunities to remain connected with friends from college, but also to meet many new people from different generations.