By AMANDA ARNOLD
NEW ALBANY —
After graduating from IU Southeast, Anne Ragains stayed in New Albany where she is now president of the Great Escape Movie Theatre.
“I am a strong believer and supporter of IU Southeast,” Ragains said during the 19th Annual Chancellor’s Medallion Dinner on Saturday evening at the Horseshoe Foundation.
The Great Escape Theatre is among many area businesses that employ IU Southeast students and graduates. In fact, as Sandra Patterson-Randles, Chancellor, IU Southeast explained, according to statistics, more than 90 percent of IU Southeast Alumni remain in the Southern Indiana and Greater Louisville area.
“The impact is immeasurable in many ways,” said Patterson-Randles.
As Doug England, Shaping Powerful Futures Campaign Co-Chair, and IU Southeast Alum, explained, “the graduates enter every sect of the local workforce. This institution, and what it does for our region is immeasurable. When we further develop the university, and shape the future of students, we all win.”
When graduates stay in the community, there has been an impact of $124.4 million to the community, and thousands of jobs, Patterson-Randles said. She continued that IU Southeast was responsible for 1,476 jobs in the community which includes direct jobs and indirect jobs. She explained as jobs are created, money is spent throughout Southern Indiana in places like the grocery store, movie theater and hardware store.
The Annual Chancellor’s Medallion Dinner is held each year in order to recognize the university, thank the community for it’s continued support and raise funds for student scholarships.
“IU Southeast is a great university, and a large part of that is because of its great network of friends, supporters, volunteers and donors just like you,” Crystal Gunther, Chair, IU Southeast Medallion Committee, said during the dinner.
However, raising funds for student scholarships is essential, because as Gunther pointed out, “without the proceeds, some of the young leaders would not be where they are today.”
All funds raised from Medallion Dinner ticket sales, silent and live auctions will be used for student scholarships. In addition, during dinner, a special scholarship was announced. In honor of Kevin Hammersmith, IU Southeast has partnered with Duke Energy to create a scholarship in his name. The endowed scholarship has begun with a $25,000 gift from Duke Energy.
“He [Hammersmith] touched our lives with his generous support and his commitment to quality and boundless enthusiasm,” said Patterson-Randles.
The 19th Annual Chancellor’s Medallion Dinner hit a record in attendance with 688 seats sold and $96,292.87 raised. Four IU Southeast seniors were honored with the 2012 Chancellor’s Medallion Leadership Scholarship. Patterson-Randles described the recipients as people who demonstrate academic excellence and leadership skills. In addition, the university will continue to provide scholarships for deserving students who choose IU Southeast.
“It is my promise to you that IU Southeast will stay true to its mission. We will continue to transform good students into great leaders, one graduate at a time,” said Patterson-Randles.
The evening also celebrated Donald McMahel and Michael Naville with the presentation of the 2012 Chancellor’s Medallion.
“Those who receive the medallion are those with a lifelong dedication through their work and their contributions to the economy and education of the community. Their success has made a lasting impact with Southern Indiana, the Louisville area and beyond,” Patterson-Randles said.
McMahel is known in Southern Indiana for teaching the youth the art of music. He serves as the music director at IU Southeast and has received numerous honors including Chancellor’s Distinguished Service Award for teaching in 1975 and the Lifetime Arts Achievement Award from the Arts Council of Southern Indiana in 2005. A. Fielder Myers noted that McMahel is a superior teacher. McMahel explained to the audience that what he does is not necessarily work, but something he loves to do. However, McMahel expressed honor and gratitude.
“This is such an honor, and quite surreal. I am getting to see friends that I haven’t seen for years. This is a golden moment that I will remember for the rest of my life,” said McMahel.
Naville is known as an accomplished attorney with Lorch & Naville, where he specializes in adoption, business and land use and zoning. He also continues to support IU Southeast.
“All you have done for Southern Indiana for all the years. You have been passionate for this university and countless civic organizations. Your commitment to Southern Indiana in both professional, and with personal accomplishments, and the number of lives transformed through actions is worth true recognition. It’s hard to imagine what Southern Indiana would be like without your dedication and accomplishments,” Patterson-Randles said.
During the evening it was announced that the Shaping Powerful Futures campaign is now at $10.7 million. Also, $125,000 has been raised for international studies.
“I am honored to be on the committee and to co-chair and help raise $10.7 million. We are here with a record-breaking crowd with fantastic medallion recipients,” England said.
The Annual Chancellor’s Medallion Dinner will continue to be a crown jewel of Southern Indiana.
“I think the Medallion Dinner has become the premier black tie event in Southern Indiana,” Patterson-Randles said. “This is really to thank our community and let people know how much IU Southeast values the community and the great relationships with community members. When we spotlight our wonderful students, and how their generosity have helped young people go on to great careers, I think it makes everyone feel good.”