When Titans come together we can make a big difference in our students’ lives
In its fourth year, the Battle of the Decades has made a big impact on students who have received scholarships thanks to the campaign’s success, and promises to continue that impact well into the future.
The Battle of the Decades is a crowdfunding campaign that groups Titan alumni by the decade they graduated, starting with our first class in 1967, and encourages them to join in a friendly competition to see which decade can raise the most money for student scholarship and achieve the highest percentage of participation from their graduates. The battle, which began in 2018, has raised more than $54,000 for interest-earning scholarship accounts, and has provided funding of $11,750 for 13 scholarship awards to date. With donations being directed to endowed accounts, the impact from the Battle of the Decades will continue in perpetuity.
The Battle of the Decades was conceived by alumnus Casey DeSmith, a 2014 graduate of the Judd Leighton School of Business and Economics. As a member of the alumni board and scholarship committee at the time, he was looking for ways to increase awareness and support for student scholarships. Casey wanted to tap into the competitive nature of our alumni and saw an opportunity to engage with a larger number of Titan alumni through crowdfunding. Gifts of any size make a big impact when we work together.
“I have been pleased with the number of alumni who have given to the Battle of the Decades campaign over the past several years,” Casey shared. “Many of us would not be in the positions we are in today without the education we received from IU South Bend. This campaign is about giving those same opportunities to future leaders within our community.”
In 2018, we launched the first Battle of the Decades. With generous support from the community each of our five decades was underwritten by a local business for $2,500. These gifts provided seed money that alumni were asked to match. If each decade raises $2,500 to match the underwriting gifts the campaign will raise $25,000.
Crowe, Inc. has stepped up to underwrite the Battle of the Decades each year, including this year. Office Managing Partner Gary Fox said, “We want to support the community, and specifically the university. IU South Bend is a gem in this community. Students and graduates stay around and stay engaged. You can see that in the number of IU South Bend graduates holding leadership positions.”
Another community underwriter since the beginning is 1st Source Bank. President and COO of the Specialty Finance Group Chris Craft said that underwriting is a way to acknowledge and reinvest in the school that graduates a big proportion of its team members.
“We are a community and charity-minded bank. We want to reinvest in institutions that are shaping our community – the next generation of Titans are future leaders of the bank, area hospitals, schools,” Craft said, “We know these students will get a great education. We know they tend to stay here or return here. These folks have a positive impact right here in our backyard.”
Thank you to our 2021 Battle of the Decades underwriters: 1st Source Bank, Crowe, INOVA Federal, Kem Krest, and May Oberfell Lorber, for their support of our students at IU South Bend. This year’s campaign will open on Wednesday, November 17 and run through Tuesday, November 30. Join the battle and help your decade take the lead in this year’s campaign.
The real winners in the Battle of the Decades are our talented Titan scholarship recipients. The funds raised have assisted students at the beginning and end of their academic careers.
Arianna Johnson received the Legacy Award from the IUSB Alumni Association Scholarship Endowment Fund. As a senior pursuing a bachelor’s degree in marketing and advertising, Arianna has been primarily responsible for paying her way through school. Receiving this scholarship has allowed her to look for internship opportunities. Arianna is also a legacy Titan, having followed in her grandfather’s and mother’s footsteps by coming to IU South Bend. She said, “Thank you to all of the alumni for allowing this scholarship to be here. Thank you to Professor Pant for choosing me. I’m so grateful.”
Heidi Jackson is the recipient of the IU South Bend Jubilee Alumni Scholarship, a renewable award for up to four years that she first received in 2019. Heidi returned to school to pursue her dream of becoming a nurse 10 years after getting married and starting a family. Heidi works at Elkhart General Hospital as a patient access representative in the emergency room. She is a member of the Student Nursing Association. To the alumni donors Heidi would like to say, “Thank you so much. I know I’ll be a better nurse because of the scholarship. I do better in class because I have more time to study, am able to rest better, and do well on assignments and exams.”
Precious-Gold Akpadija, a recipient of the IU South Bend Jubilee Alumni Scholarship, is majoring in biochemistry, with a dance minor, and plans on going to medical school. Originally from Nigeria, Precious-Gold believes in community and giving back. At IU South Bend, she is the treasurer of the Residence Hall Association, works at the Student Activities Center, and is involved with the Black Student Union. She says that without the scholarship, she likely wouldn’t be able to attend IU South Bend.
Giving to IU South Bend
When you make a donation to IU South Bend, your support changes the lives of students and our community. Private support is made up of gifts and grants given to IU South Bend by alumni, friends, corporations, foundations, and organizations who are committed to helping IU South Bend fulfill its mission.
Please visit University Advancement to make a difference today.