Indiana University Northwest held its annual Chancellor’s Medallion Celebration at Avalon Manor in Merrillville Thursday night. The Chancellor’s Medallion is a prestigious award that is presented annually by the Chancellor of IU Northwest, William Lowe, to those who personify excellence in the community.
Since 1996, 21 Medallion awards have been presented by IUN Chancellors, and this year it was given to 3 recipients. Honored during this year’s Chancellor’s Medallion Ceremony were John and Ann Barney, Dr. William and Leslie Nelson and BP Corporation North America, Inc.
“It is without a doubt that these honorees have rendered distinguished service to the university and to the northwest Indiana community,” said Chancellor Lowe. “Their exemplary work and philanthropy have been instrumental in advancing our campus, and supporting our greatest asset, our students.”
John and Ann Barney’s love for Indiana University date back more than 50 years. They first met at IU as undergraduates and have since earned degrees that led to their success in business and education. As chairman and CEO of Barney Enterprises, John oversees the management of 11 Wendy’s restaurants, serves as a co-developer for student housing developments, an imaging center and co-operates a heating company, among other pursuits. Ann worked as an educator and is an avid volunteer and philanthropist. The Barneys have formerly served on the Chancellor’s Board of Advisors.
Dr. William Nelson has been a professor of finance at IUN for the last 35 years while serving as the Associate Dean of the School of Business and Economics. He believes the education he received as an undergraduate was made possible from others’ generosity. His wife Leslie is also an educator, and both have given back to the university so students have the same opportunities and learning experiences as they had. The Nelsons have also established the William and Leslie Nelson Trading Floor, an interactive and real-time trading floor within the IUN School of Business and Economics.
For more than 125 years, BP’s Whiting Refinery has been an anchor for the Northwest Indiana economy. With more than 1,600 employees at its 1,400-acre complex, BP is the largest oil refinery in the Midwest and BP’s largest refinery in the world. Last year, BP made $3.9 million in charitable contributions in Indiana, with nearly $1.8 million made directly to Indiana University. BP is an active participant of many IU Northwest boards, including the Chancellor’s Board of Advisors and the Chancellor’s Commission on Community Engagement.
With close to 200 attendees, Avalon Manor was filled with smiling faces that were proud to be honored and recognized. The night was made possible with the help of Indiana University Northwest’s Vice Chancellor for University Advancement and External Affairs, Jeri Pat Gabbert.
“Thanks to the hard work and dedication to the University Advancement and External Affairs team, we have been putting on this event for many, many years,” said Gabbert. “We are very lucky to honor individuals in the community as Chancellor Medallion recipients. We will be distributing four student scholarships as well.”
This year, 4 students were awarded the Chancellor Medallion Scholarship. The tradition began last year, and this year it was rewarded to Kathryn Carr, Anmol Sethi, Katherine Sullivan, and Garrett Weeks.
Sullivan won the scholarship last year as well, and she said this year she was delighted to be given the honor for a second time. She graduates in May with a Bachelor of Science in health and service management and is currently working on her masters in the MPA program for public and non-profit management.
“This means a lot to me. Last year I got a call and they let me know that I was receiving a scholarship for $1,000 and if I kept up my GPA then I could renew it, which I did,” said Sullivan. “It makes me less worried about spending time at work to afford school books.”
As Chancellor Lowe stated, “Give enough so it hurts just a little bit, so somebody else hurts a little bit less. We believe in IU Northwest. We believe in its mission. And most important, we believe in our students and their futures.”
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