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2024 Marian Univerity Gala

Marian University Gala, October 25, 2024

At the 2023 Marian University Gala, we welcomed 2,000 of our closest friends, alumni, and donors to celebrate our continued strategic effort — Journey to 2030: Always Forward. The Mary McNulty Young ’47 Opportunities for Excellence Scholarship Dinner, continues our long-standing, 31-year tradition of sharing our successes and recognizing our milestones. Marian University has a bold vision for investments providing much-needed scholarships, programs, and facilities improvements allowing us to attract and retain a diverse student population. Our graduates integrate faith in their profession and are taught the value of lifelong service to their communities.

Check out the photos from the 2023 Marian gala on our Marian University Flickr page!

The 2023 Marian University Gala also celebrated 10 Years of educating medical doctors in Indiana. Marian University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine became Indiana’s second medical school in 2013. Since that time, more than 1,000 students have graduated entering the healthcare field focusing on treating the “whole body” — mind, body, and spirit.

  • 100% Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine Class of 2023 placement
  • 45% matched into Indiana residencies (70% in primary care)
  • 79% of all Indiana residency matches are in areas with physician shortages

Since it transitioned from a highly successful education program in 2017, the re-imagined Fred S. Klipsch Educators College has distinguished itself from other programs as an innovative outlier. In 2023, Marian University’s Fred S. Klipsch Educators College became one of only 48 institutions in the United States to earn an A+ rating, the highest distinction, from the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), and is the only school in Indiana to receive the honor.

The 2023 Marian University Gala also celebrated the expansion of Marian’s STEHM offerings with the new E.S. Witchger School of Engineering, enabling Marian to provide students with top-ranked engineering education in a state-of-the-art facility. Students can earn degrees in six engineering disciplines: biomedical, chemical, civil, computer, mechanical, and engineering physics.

This year, we continued the tradition of honoring and recognizing deserving honorees that have made, and continue to make our community better


Rafael SanchezRafael Sánchez returns for the 2024 Marian University Gala.

A multiple Emmy award winning investigative reporter, now with FOX59/CBS4 in Indianapolis, Mr. Sánchez participates in many fundraisers each year focused on raising thousands of dollars for charitable causes. As the son of immigrants from the Dominican Republic, he’s focused on charities that champion education, promote self-empowerment & compassion, and encourage leadership and civic responsibility.

The Sisters of St. Francis

ChoirWe celebrated the long-standing tradition as members from the Marian University Sacred Choir join the Sisters of St. Francis, Oldenburg for the Benediction and Blessing of St. Clare.



Monsignor Joseph Schaedel ’70
2024 Dillon Family Distinguished Alumni Award

Marian University proudly claims Monsignor Joseph F. Schaedel, M.S., M. Div. ’70 among our alumni who has for many years given back as a long-standing member of our Board of Trustees. For over 40 years, as a priest of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, Monsignor Schaedel has served the people and Catholic Church of central and southern Indiana, touching and inspiring lives everywhere he has served.


The story of Al Leighton ’62 and Kathy Fox ’75 is unapologetically Marian. Separately, both were students and supporters of Marian University, but together, they make an unforgettable duo that brighten the campus every time they visit.

Leighton graduated from Marian College in 1962. During his time as a student, he was the manager of the baseball and basketball teams, secretary for the M-Club, and a member of the Phoenix business staff. After graduating, he worked for the CPA firm of Haskins and Sell (now Deloitte) in Dayton, Ohio. Shortly thereafter, he left to work for Marian Inc. and their 15 related companies. During his time there, he served in various leadership roles including secretary, treasurer, and CFO, to which he said, “I must be in a rut or I really like working there—you figure it out!”

Leighton was married to his wife, Sue, for 51 years before she passed away in 2020. Together, they had one son, Erik Leighton, married to Mindy, and they have two grandchildren, Rachel and Ryan, who, says Leighton, “definitely keep me young.” Shortly after Sue’s passing, Leighton was introduced to Kathy Fox at the Marian University’s St. Joseph Chapel ribbon cutting.

Fox graduated from Marian College in 1975 with a degree in accounting. After working for some time, she returned to Butler University for her teaching license and master’s in business education and business—she proceeded to teach accounting, keyboarding, typing, and web design, an incredible feat as she was teaching this during the infancy of widespread internet access. It wasn’t until her mother passed, having left some money for Marian University in her will, that Fox found herself back at Marian. After a long discussion with the Office of Institutional Advancement, Fox decided to use that money to dedicate a pew in the new St. Joseph Chapel to her mother.

After the ribbon-cutting, Fox, fellow alumni Joseph Kuzmitz ’75 and Al all went to lunch together. As Al and Kathy got to know eachother better, they discovered some common mutual connections, realized they lived in the same area, then promptly exchanged numbers agreeing to meet again. However, time went by, and Fox had not heard from Leighton, so she decided to give him a call. The two proceeded to get lunch, return to his deck, and talk for five hours. They are so in-tune with each other, according to Fox, and have similar senses of humor and goals. They kept meeting up, grabbing lunch, and talking, until they eventually married in July 2022, in the St. Joseph Chapel—the place they’d originally met. Truly, a Marian University love story.

In more ways than financial, Leighton has been generous to Marian University for the past 30+ years. He has supported numerous scholarships, including the: Eugene S. Witchger Memorial Scholarship, Athletic Endowed Scholarship Fund, Henry K. Engel Accounting and Finance Endowed Scholarship, Class of 1962 Anniversary Endowed Scholarship, and the Alan E. and Sue E. Leighton Endowed Nursing Scholarship. He financially supported the stained-glass windows effort for Marian University’s St. Joseph Chapel, and, in 2013, the School of Nursing was renamed the “Leighton School of Nursing,” in honor of his generosity. Additionally, he has served as the co-chairman of the annual alumni fund drive, has been a member of the Board of Trustees since 2004, chairing the Facilities committee, and is on the Finance, Executive, and Investment committees.

On a national level, Leighton has also served on the Board of Directors for the profit-sharing 401k council of America (PSCA) and has chaired their Education/Communications Committee. He has also generously volunteered his time and treasure to his alma mater, Cathedral High School, Dayspring Center, Gleaners Food Bank, the Rotary Club of Indianapolis, the Rotary Foundation, and the United Way of Central Indiana. And, Kathy Fox accompanies Al through all this work, while also volunteering for Teachers’ Treasures.

Both Al Leighton ’62 and Kathy Fox ’75 have proven their dedication to philanthropy, service, and Marian University. Their presence on-campus is enough to light up a room. It is incredibly fitting that they be honored as the 2023 Dillon Family Distinguished Alumni Award recipients.

Mike and Rebecca Kubacki
2024 Franciscan Values Award

As a two-term member of the Indiana General Assembly, Rebecca Espinoza Kubacki has been a champion for women’s causes, children and human affairs and has served on the Marian University Board of Trustees and chairwoman of the Latino Leadership Initiative. The former CEO of Lake City Bank, Michael Kubacki has had a distinguished career in the banking industry, which eventually brought him back to his home state of Indiana.

Married for 50 years, the Kubacki’s, have both individually and together as a couple, taken on leadership roles throughout the state to improve the overall well being of Hoosiers.

Mr. Theaodis (Ted) Gary, Jr. was born in 1945 in Jackson, Mississippi, to Theaodis and Aura Neely Gary. He attended Lanier High School, graduating in 1963; graduating four years later, in 1967, from Southern University with a degree in marketing. Gary was always entrepreneurial—all his life he wanted to be a business owner and has often said that he feels incredibly fortunate to be living out that childhood dream.

Shortly after graduating, he began his first post-graduate job in New York City, New York. He was then drafted, served in Vietnam, and, when he returned, worked a variety of jobs in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, before finally settling in Indianapolis, Indiana, long-term. 

With no formal engineering training, nor a mentor in the field, it may be shocking how successful Gary has been as president of AMG Engineering & Machining. When asked how he transitioned from marketing to engineering, he said, “I didn’t choose it—it chose me.” Gary is a self-starter. He used his factory experiences and vast network to build a strong foundation for his company, and he couldn’t be happier with the exponential growth he’s seen over the past few decades.

Gary has supported a variety of Marian University fundraising initiatives, including but not limited to: the Helen J. Randolph ’77 Endowed Scholarship, President’s Helping Hand Fund, Sister’s Legacy Fund, the new E. S. Witchger School of Engineering, and 21st Century Scholars. However, his involvement goes beyond treasure, as Gary has also been an active member of the Marian University Board of Trustees for many years.

Additionally, in honor of his mother’s non-traditional educational journey, he established the Aura Neely Gary Scholarship in Jackson Mississippi, which was initially given to young women who had received their GED and were seeking a college degree—but has since transitioned to a scholarship for African-American high school students seeking college degrees. After a few years, he began to support a K-12 mentorship organization based on his late-mother and -father’s home county, all in the name of his parents. He believes this is the best way to honor their legacy, as he credits them for his unending work-ethic and outlook on life.

Gary is an incredibly selfless supporter of what he believes to be good. To be honored by Marian University with the 2023 Franciscan Values Award means the world to him, and most importantly, he’s “happy that somebody saw the good.”

Mike Wells
2024 John A. Purdie Innovator and Mentor of the Year Award

Mike Wells serves as President of REI Investments, Inc., the manager of REI Real Estate Services, LLC. Over the past 25 years Mr. Wells has been involved in a number of significant real estate projects including the JW Marriott Hotel, Marriott Place, Circle City Mall, Wellpoint Operation Center, Emmis Communications Headquarters and the Indianapolis Marriott Hotel, all in downtown Indianapolis. Currently, REI has a number of hotels and multi-family projects under development in Indianapolis, Louisville, Kentucky and Austin, Texas.


Teresa Lubbers graduated from Warren High School in 1969, before attending Indiana University for English. Eventually, she would go on to hold a master’s in public administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Lubbers credits her passion for politics to her upbringing in eastern-Indianapolis. Growing up, she spent each of her summers working for Indianapolis’ Department of Transportation, which began her storied career in local and national politics. In reminiscing about her youth, she remarked, “I have often said that other than my faith and family, Richard Lugar [United States Senator, Indiana 1932-2019] has had more of an impact on my life than anything.”

Lubbers currently serves as president of the Sagamore Institute, an Indianapolis-based think tank that aims to build and implement public policy solutions that she refers to as a “place of hope.” As she continues to lead Sagamore, her long-term goals include minimizing income disparity and international security threats, while maximizing opportunity and talent in the heartland of the United States.

Lubbers has formerly served as the Indiana Commissioner of Higher Education, where she sought to align the needs of students and the state with Indiana’s postsecondary education system. She also spent 17 years in the Indiana State Senate, serving as the Chair of the Senate Education and Career Development Committee. Beyond these career milestones, Lubbers was also a high school English teacher, started her own public relations firm, and has worked in a variety of other political roles.

It is clear that Teresa Lubbers is dedicated to bolstering Indiana’s educational and political systems. At the forefront of everything she’s done…is change. She is a workhorse, a visionary, and someone who truly wants the best for this community.

In her spare time, she serves the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis, the YMCA Foundation, Tabernacle Presbyterian Church, and is a co-founder of the Lugar Excellence in Public Service Series. She feels honored to be recognized as the 2023 John A. Purdie Innovator of the Year award recipient.


Presenting Sponsor

2024 Presenting Sponsors

Reception Sponsor

  • Signage located in the foyer and on bars during the reception
  • Recognition in printed event program and on digital signage at event
  • website recognition
  • One table with preferred placement
  • $100,000

Dessert Sponsor

  • Recognition on the menu page in the event program
  • Recognition on digital signage at event
  • website recognition
  • One table of 10 with preferred placement
  • $100,000

Entertainment Sponsor

  • Recognition on stage during band performance
  • Recognition in printed event program and on digital signage at event
  • website recognition 
  • One table of 10 with preferred placement
  • $100,000

Video Sponsor

  • Recognition for the gala videos debuting during the event
  • Recognition in printed event program and on digital signage at event
  • website recognition 
  • One table of 10 with preferred placement
  • $75,000

Printed Program Sponsor

  • Full back page ad in printed program
  • Recognition in printed event program and on digital signage at event
  • website recognition
  • One table of 10 with preferred placement
  • $50,000

Skywalk Sponsor

  • Logo included on skywalk over West Street
  • Recognition in printed event program and on digital signage at event
  • website recognition
  • One table of 10
  • $75,000

Giveaway Sponsor

  • Logo included on giveaway packaging
  • Recognition in printed event program and on digital signage at event
  • website recognition
  • One table of 10
  • $25,000

Platinum Table Sponsor

  • Recognition in printed event program and on digital signage at event
  • One table of 10
  • $10,000

Gold Table Sponsor

  • Recognition in printed event program and on digital signage at event
  • One table of 10
  • $5,000

Individual Pricing

  • Individuals: $500
  • Marian staff and faculty: $250
  • Marian alumni: $250

Of note:

  • Pledges for sponsorships can be fulfilled over three to five years. 
  • All sponsorships at $50,000 or more are eligible to endow a scholarship in the donor/company’s name.
  • To secure your sponsorship contact John Finke at: 317.955.6202 or email

2024 Gala Reservations

Provide the names of your guest(s) by entering your: Guest(s) Information.

If you've reserved a table, please provide the names of all guests by entering your: Table Guest Names

Black tie optional.

For more information or questions, please call Lauren Bowman at (317) 955-6599 or

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Notice of Nondiscrimination
Marian University does not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, color, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, creed, national origin, age or disabilities in the selection of administrative personnel, faculty and staff, and students.
*Placement rates are gathered from data collected from graduates within six months of graduation.

Students may make a complaint to the Indiana Commission of Higher Education.

Marian University is sponsored by the Sisters of St. Francis, Oldenburg, Indiana.

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