Marian University will award 933 degrees at its commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 6 at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. A record 781 undergraduate and graduate students will receive bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the university’s 81st Commencement Ceremony. An additional 152 future doctors will graduate from the Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine (MU-COM), which is larger than last year’s inaugural graduating class from MU-COM.
Former Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard will deliver the commencement address, which is being held at the Fairgrounds due to construction on campus. The university will open a new arena/convocation center in October 2018, and a new student fitness center will open in August 2018.
Marian University will confer honorary degrees during the ceremony. Recipients are:
Greg A. and Winnie S. Ballard
Recipients of Doctor of Public Service
Former Indianapolis Mayor Greg A. Ballard served a 23-year career in the United States Marine Corps, holding leadership roles on a variety of fronts including the Gulf War and the United States European Command. Acting as Mayor of Indianapolis from 2008-15, Greg successfully launched and led several initiatives to better the city. One initiative, RebuildIndy, was a $400 million project to rebuild deteriorating thoroughfares, residential streets, sidewalks, and bridges throughout Marion County. He also launched the “Your Life Matters” initiative to connect people, including at-risk children, to groups that can help with a wide variety of issues from parenting and education to mentoring, jobs, and re-entry. Greg also demonstrated innovative leadership by signing an Executive Order mandating the entire city fleet run on electric, hybrid, or domestically produced fuel by 2025 in support of reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil, its impact on foreign policy, and the billions of dollars being spent and lives lost protecting oil chokepoints around the globe.
Born in Pampanga Province, Republic of the Philippines, Winnie S. Ballard moved to the United States in 1977. She received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Accounting from Campbell University in 1991, and from 2001-08, she owned her own bookkeeping company, Bookkeeping Solutions, in Indianapolis. As First Lady of Indianapolis, Winnie focused on financial literacy, helping the unbanked to open banking accounts, providing tax preparation for lower income people, and offering financial coaching. She was also the first First Lady of color in the history of the city.
In 2014, Greg and Winnie were named Co-International Citizen of the Year for Indianapolis. Greg is currently a visiting fellow at the University of Indianapolis and has a book coming out in January 2019 on the relationship between the use of oil and national security.
Marilyn Strasburger Brouillette
Recipient of Doctor of Philanthropy
Marilyn Strasburger Brouillette, co-owned and operated Demeter, Inc., a national leader in the grain industry, along with her late husband, Donald. Marilyn has served in leadership roles on various boards throughout her career, including: Group Homes for Children, past board member; Benton County Country Club, past officer and board member; Benton County Catholic School Educational Trust, originating member; St. Mary’s Rosary Society, past officer; Fowler Summer Swim League, past officer and board member.
Marilyn is an active supporter of the Benton Community Foundation, Camp Tecumseh YMCA, Sacred Heart Elementary School, and the Prairie Preservation League. Whether it be as a fundraiser or volunteer, Marilyn continues to pursue opportunities to make an impact, particularly in the areas of her greatest passions: family, youth, education, and her community.
Phil and Brigitt Caito
Recipients of Doctor of Business
Growing up in Indianapolis, Philip Joseph Caito IV greatly appreciated the Catholic education he received from the Sisters of St. Francis, Oldenburg, Indiana, at Holy Rosary Parish Grade School and Scecina Memorial High School. Phil started Caito Foods Service, Inc., and served as president, chief executive officer, and chairman of the board for nearly 50 years, during which time the company grew to more than 1,500 associates serving customers in 27 states. He was also a co-founder of Blue Ribbon Transportation. Phil served on numerous boards throughout his career, including the Board of Indiana and Midwest Retail Grocers Foundation, the Indiana University School of Business Entrepreneurship and Leadership Program, and the Marian College Board of Trustees in the mid-1990s.
Roberta “Brigitt” Ruth Reno Caito’s community involvement has included 24 years in the music ministry of St. Lawrence Catholic Church as an organist, as well as serving five years on the Board of Education at the same parish. With a 38-year membership in the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Caroline Scott Harrison Chapter, she has served as regent and volunteer genealogist. She has also acted on the chapter's committees of Music, National Defense, Americanism, Women's Issues, and Business and Professional.
Maxine McIntosh Ferguson ’52
Recipient of Doctor of Arts
Maxine McIntosh Ferguson graduated from Marian College in 1952 and later earned a master’s degree from Butler University. Maxine taught at Holy Angels School and several schools in the Indianapolis Public School system. She also served as principal of St. Rita School, the same elementary school she attended as a child. For many years, she has been a loving supporter of children and adults at her parish, St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church. Some of her service has included taking communion to the parish’s sick and homebound members, visiting those in prison, and greeting people as a volunteer at the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry.
In 2004, Maxine was awarded the Franciscan Values Award by Marian College for her contributions to the community and embodiment of the Franciscan values the university strives to live by each day. She was also awarded the Spirit of Service Award in 2009 by Catholic Charities Indianapolis for her service and sharing of Christ to people of all ages.
About Marian University Indianapolis
Marian University (www.marian.edu), founded in Indianapolis in 1937, is the only Catholic liberal arts university in central Indiana. It serves a student body of more than 3,400 through dedication to excellent teaching and learning in the Franciscan and liberal arts traditions. Marian University is one of Indiana’s 31 independent colleges and one of 244 Catholic colleges and universities nationwide.