Marian University Annual Gala: Elements of Excellence

by Tori Kincaid | Sep 04, 2015

By Ken Scheer, Development Officer and Director of Rebuild My Church Outreach

GalaIn the fall of each year Marian University holds a special gala in which we: recognize remarkable leaders in our community; raise funds for scholarships so that we can continue to provide meaningful support to students of all economic backgrounds; and highlight Marian University’s role in educating transformative leaders for business, education, health care, sciences, ministry, and civic life through an ever-expanding number of programs and initiatives.

On November 13, we will once again gather at the JW Marriott in downtown Indianapolis for this joyful occasion, Elements of Excellence Gala. In a room filled with remarkable leaders from corporate and non-profit institutions alike, we will honor:

  • Sarah and John C. Lechleiter, Ph.D. for their tremendous work to advance STEHM (science, technology, engineering, health, and mathematics) education in Indiana and beyond. The Lechleiter’s have been generous supporters of Catholic causes here in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis and beyond.
  • Raul Zavaleta for his entrepreneurship which has breathed new life into our community through the creation of new opportunities and the stimulation of new ideas. Zavaleta’s leadership has been instrumental in Marian University’s efforts to recruit and retain outstanding students from the Hispanic community. He has helped us to build strong relations with Latino leaders throughout the state of Indiana.
  • Bill Eckman ’74 for his distinguished service to his alma mater. Eckman has served on the Board of Trustees since 2002 and as chairman since 2009. He is deeply committed to teaching ethics to students in health care, business, education, and all professions.
  • Dennis Donahue ’62 for his distinguished professional achievement. Dennis has spent his life embodying the Franciscan sponsorship values as a transformative leader throughout the world, to include his 30-year dedication to the United States Foreign Service.

We are working hard to raise $1.7 million for scholarship support, and expect to have 2,000 guests at this year’s gala. As of early August, over $1 million has been raised.

GalaThis year’s gala carries a STEHM theme. At Marian University, we are integrating our Franciscan sponsorship values into all areas of the curriculum, with particular emphasis on science, technology, engineering, health care, and mathematics (STEHM). The dollars raised during our annual gala benefit all scholarship programs, including Rebuild My Church. Annually, we provide over $2.3 million in scholarship assistance to the San Damiano Scholars and the Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminarians. (The Seminary is owned and operated by the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, but the seminarians receive their academic formation here at Marian University.) Marian University greatly appreciates your past involvement and support, and we look forward to having you with us at the gala as we celebrate our community’s achievements and bolster critical scholarship support for our students—the future leaders of our city, state, and nation.

Learn more about the Elements of Excellence Gala and the honorees by visiting Contact Ken Scheer at or 317.955.6204 with any questions regarding your attendance at and/or support of the 2015 gala.

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