Dunbar Family Celebrates Passion for Ball State By Creating Endowment Funds
Although most of Joe Dunbar's passions in life are separate from those of his parents, their common enthusiasm for Ball State University inspired a legacy that will honor their family and aid future students and faculty forever.
Joe came to Ball State to study education, and with two parents as alumni, the university was what his family knew best.
Deep Ball State Roots
Joe's mother, Elizabeth, enrolled at Ball State because of its proximity to her hometown of Parker (now Parker City), Ind. Joe's father, George, came to the university to be near his aunt who lived in Muncie. Having lost his parents when he was only 11, George grew up in northwestern Ohio and was raised by aunts and uncles.
Elizabeth, who was known as "Betty," had a long history of playing music and carried that interest to Ball State, where she was a member of the university marching band and orchestra. While she studied music and art education, George studied business education, social science, and physical education while also working at the Hotel Roberts in Muncie.
Although different paths led his parents to the university in the 1930s, a blind date would ultimately be the avenue that brought them together.
Like his parents, Joe enjoyed his undergraduate studies at Ball State but began to look elsewhere to continue his education.
"I had first wanted to go to law school and had taken the LSATs and even decided on Duke University," Joe says. "But after I completed my student teaching at Ball State, education was where I wanted to stay."
Steering his path to a career in education, Joe completed his master's degree at Ball State while teaching in his hometown of Kokomo. He continued teaching many years in Kokomo and was later promoted to various positions in the central administration office. Upon retirement in 1996, he continued to give back to the Kokomo schools by serving on the board of trustees in addition to contributing to the community through several activities and projects.
Supporting Their Passion for Ball State
It was not until the 2003 death of his father that Joe joined forces with his mother, before her passing in 2008, to combine all their interests to support their passion: Ball State.
"I think giving back to the university had always been in all of our minds," Joe says. "Deep down, I think, my father knew that we would end up doing something like this."
Their combined love of education, music, business, and family took center stage as each endowment will be created from their estate with a planned gift. Two endowments will be funded to reflect Joe's interests and past activities such as debate team and teaching. Additionally, the funds allowed Joe to honor students and professors particularly dedicated to achieving success.
The Joe Halliday Dunbar Distinguished Professorship will provide funds that allow the university to attract and retain excellent teacher-scholars whose passions lie in the same areas the Dunbar family once studied: communication studies, social studies, and education. Because of their research and professional reputations, the recipients of these awards can invigorate the classroom atmosphere and guide students as they work toward their degrees.
Likewise, the Joe Halliday Dunbar Scholarship will recruit outstanding students in communication studies, social studies, and education. The scholarship allows the university to recognize students who achieve high honors while studying in some of the same areas in which Joe was once devoted.
The George C. Dunbar Scholarship will be created to recruit outstanding students majoring in education, business education, elementary education, and physical education. The Elizabeth Halliday Dunbar Scholarship will be established to attract outstanding students of music, performance in violin, and education. Finally, the family also planned the Dunbar Family Ball State Unrestricted Endowment Fund to support the greatest needs of the university.
"You consider various avenues when you want to give back-should you help the church, the community, and so on-and you try to spread it around," Joe says. "But for us, Ball State had the most meaning for our family."