Faces of Philanthropy: Leaving a Legacy Through a Bequest
Penny Ralston would like others to recognize the impact a bequest can have on Ball State and how it can be a reflection of one's values, principles, and commitment.
"Most people have more resources than they realize and, through the power of estate planning, can reach their philanthropic goals, giving a larger gift than might be possible in their lifetime," she says.
Penny grew up on a farm in the small town of Modoc, Ind., only 25 miles from Ball State. Although her parents did not attend college, they did instill the value of a good education for Penny and her older sister-both attended Ball State.
Salutatorian of her high school class, Penny held the same achieving attitude at Ball State by becoming president of her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta, a member of Cardinal Corps, and recipient of the Emens Outstanding Senior Award.
"My experiences at Ball State really helped me develop my leadership skills, which prepared me for the future," she says.
Penny earned her bachelor's degree in home economics education and social sciences in 1971. She continued on to the University of Illinois to earn her Master of Education (1975) and Ph.D. (1978) in home economics education. She worked at the University of Massachusetts and Iowa State University before becoming dean of the College of Human Sciences at Florida State University in 1992. She is now dean emeritus. She also serves on the Ball State University Foundation board of directors.
To pay tribute to her parents for their ongoing support and to show her commitment to Ball State, Penny made a provision in her will to create the Elizabeth and Frank Ralston Scholarship Fund. The fund will provide scholarships for African American students majoring in family consumer sciences at Ball State.
"My parents provided a constant source of encouragement and inspiration, and this is a very fitting and permanent way to honor them," says Penny, who enjoyed the ease and impact this type of gift provided.
"Giving through a bequest really costs nothing now, yet it gives you a great deal of satisfaction to know that your gift will affect the future of Ball State and its students," she adds.