Leaving BSU Better Than They Found It
By Alexandra A. Donaldson, Communications Intern
Through the generosity of Dr. Richard and Dorothy Burkhardt, Ball State's liberal arts programs and Museum of Art have been able to grow. Knowing that the need for scholarships would never end, the Burkhardts created three endowments to benefit students in history, foreign language, and study abroad programs.
Richard received an LLD from Ball State and served the university as a history professor, vice president for academic affairs, and provost, and was acting president in 1979. Dorothy (MA '58) was a French professor for 27 years.
Many would say that the Burkhardts' donation to the renovation of the Ball State Museum of Art was their most impressive gift. Their sentimental connection to the museum is what makes it even more special. Dorothy often spent her mornings there for classes, and Richard has fond memories from his early years of reading the graduates' names at commencement from the walk inside. "I always thought of the building as a place where really important things happened for the university, and the two of us had reasons for sustaining and enhancing this important campus landmark," Richard says.
The inspiration to give not only came from the Athenian Oath, but from Dorothy's father building churches wherever they moved when she was growing up. When Richard heard about the foundation's gift-giving program from former chairman Ralph Whitinger (1953-1982), there was no turning back. After discussing the program with him, Richard has lived by the philosophy of giving back and given generously to BSU.
The Burkhardts plan to continue their legacy through planned gifts from their estate with a bequest, beneficiary designation in a life insurance plan, charitable remainder unitrust, and charitable remainder annuity trust. "Ball State has given us the opportunity to live in a pleasant and friendly community and to be part of the development of a strong university. It has been a privilege that is priceless and deserves our thanks and support," Richard says.