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Giving Back to the Place Where It All Began

Ball State Alumna Inspires Future Generations to Give Back to Ball State

Dr. Jan McCarthy, '52 MA '58, gives back to the place where it all began as a way to inspire future generations at Ball State.

Dr. Jan McCarthy, '52 MA '58, gives back to the place where it all began as a way to inspire future generations at Ball State.

By Sierra Jackson

Throughout the time she spent at Ball State, Dr. Jan McCarthy, '52 MA '58, was fortunate to leave with a variety of experiences that contributed to her professional growth. Graduating in less than four years, she was offered a position that she had not even applied for, thanks to a professor's referral.

"The absolute most important thing about my time at Ball State was the impact of the faculty and staff. My professors were always suggesting that I needed to expand my professional relationships and pursue new challenges, so that is what I did," McCarthy says.

When she attended, the school was still called Ball State Teachers College, and the only dorm available was Lucina Hall. As enrollment increased, students had to draw names to secure a spot living on campus.

McCarthy and a few other students spent their time in school living with a local family. This was an enriching experience—having education discussions with the educator in the family and enjoying classical music sessions and discussions with another family member. The friendships continued throughout their lives.

Following graduation, McCarthy was extensively involved in the advancement of early childhood education. Along with honors from her time teaching at Indiana State University and the University of South Florida, she received the Ball State Distinguished Alumnus Award (1998), the State of Indiana Sagamore of the Wabash (1991 and 1992), Outstanding Educator in America (1978), and Ball State's Outstanding Teachers College Alumnus Award (1972).

"The bond that I had with my professors showed me how much they really cared about their students' successes. Pushing me to gain new and challenging experiences caused me to be more self-aware of my own strengths and weaknesses that guided me on a professional career and study path. This is a model that I attempted to exemplify with my own students in higher education," McCarthy says.

These experiences motivated McCarthy to give back to the place where it all began. She feels that one should always take time to remember how we ended up with our success.

"My husband, also a professor, always told me to remember that high quality undergraduate programs are the building blocks for successful graduate study. It is important to acknowledge all of the support we received while working to reach our goals, and I think that people sometimes tend to forget about that part," McCarthy says.

After her husband passed away, she made a provision to her will to create the Dr. Jan (Gorrell) McCarthy and Dr. John McCarthy Scholarship and Faculty Development Fund to benefit graduate and doctoral students concentrating in early childhood education at Ball State.

"I decided to give because I value the doors that were opened for me, and I want to provide students with the same experiences I had. All of my successes stemmed from the quality of education and experiences at Ball State, and that made the difference in my career and in my life," McCarthy says.

Since then, McCarthy has continued to give back through a charitable gift annuity. This is a type of life income plan that pays a fixed sum each year for the life of one or more beneficiaries.

"I found the charitable gift annuity very helpful since it provides a fixed amount of additional income for my retirement and has additional income tax benefits. Ultimately, the residual of the annuity will support our scholarship and faculty development fund. It was very easy to establish with the Ball State foundation—and I have done it more than once," McCarthy says.

Strengthen Your Future and Ours
Because of the generosity of friends and alumni like you, Ball State students are provided with dedicated professors, top-ranked programs, and state-of-the-art facilities. Contact D. Mark Helmus at 765-285-8312 or to learn how you can extend your support to Ball State.

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