On Friday, October 29, Marian University hosted the Rise Gala which helped secure $2.5 million in student scholarships, including the creation of the President Elsener and Beth Elsener Helping Hands Endowment Fund.
“I am edified by the incredible support we receive from our students, staff, faculty, many alumni, and other friends of the university in attendance at the annual gala,” said President Elsener. “It is our mission to develop transformational leaders for service to the world, and with the support of our university community and many others we are able to raise a significant amount to fund additional student scholarships.”
More than 1,400 students, staff, faculty, alumni, supporters, partner and community members attended the event, including Archbishop Charles C. Thompson from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, who delivered the opening prayer. Marian University’s sponsor, the Sisters of Saint Francis, Oldenburg, Indiana, sang the closing benediction—a time-honored tradition at the event.
In recognition of the president's 20 years of service to Marian University and the central Indiana community, Denise Feser, chair of the Marian University Board of Trustees, honored President Elsener and his family with:
- the creation of the President Elsener and Beth Elsener Helping Hands Endowment Fund, established with approximately $165,000 in donations;
- a new 20 for 20 Club established to endow the Elsener Family Scholarship, established with approximately $800,000 in contributions; and
- A stained-glass window in the new St. Joseph Chapel, dedicated to President Elsener and his family. The St. Joseph Chapel is located in the university’s newest residence hall, Caito-Wagner Hall.
“President Elsener’s commitment to Marian University and extraordinary vision over the past 20 years is nothing short of a miracle,” said Feser. “His tireless efforts have been seen in the expansion of the campus footprint, increasing the level of academic quality and offerings, creating a robust campus life that has impacted thousands of students, and will continue for generations to come.”
Emceed by WRTV-TV, Channel 6 Anchor and Reporter, Rafael Sanchez, the gala not only raised funds for student scholarships but also honored several prominent community and business leaders, as well as distinguished alumni.
- Fritz French, board chair for On Target Laboratories and Kovina Therapeutics, received the John A. Purdie Innovator and Mentor of the Year Award. French has worked in the life science industry most of his career and has served as chief executive officer for two biopharmaceuticals and two life sciences start-up companies, as well as serving in senior executive positions for Guidant Corporation and Eli Lilly and Company.
- Vicki Yamasaki, president of Yamasaki ERM Solutions and retired chief risk officer for OneAmerica Financial Partners, was honored with the Franciscan Values Award. Following her retirement, Yamasaki embarked on several efforts to promote her Catholic faith and provide for those in need, including founding Corpus Christi for Unity and Peace. She is also active in her church, holding several leadership positions at Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
- Ken Tyrrell, president of The Cary Company, received the Dillion Family Distinguished Alumni Award. Under Tyrrell’s leadership, The Cary Company has gone from 34 to 145 employees and has acquired Gurman Packaging, Three Rivers Packaging and Quality Container.