Marian University announces $500 million fundraising goal in support of strategic plan, raises record $2.7 million for student scholarships at annual gala

by News Release | Nov 01, 2022

Marian University leaders, students, staff, faculty, and alumni came together last Friday, October 28, for the annual gala to announce the university’s bold new strategic plan, Journey to 2030: Always Forward. The bold plan calls for an extraordinary fundraising goal of $500 million with more than $240 million already committed.

At the annual gala, the university raised a record $2.7 million for scholarships to invest in talented students from all social economic backgrounds.

Funding from the Journey to 2030: Always Forward campaign will be invested to support Marian’s three strategic pillars:

  1. Student access and success 
  2. STEHM education illumined by the liberal arts
  3. Faith in action

Special emphasis will be placed on providing capital, scholarship endowment, and program expansion for the new E. S. Witchger School of Engineering, increasing the scholarship endowment and hiring more faculty in the continued development of the nationally recognized Fred S. Klipsch Educator’s College, and deepening Marian’s Catholic identity by investing in programming to enhance students’ faith, character, and ethics development across the entire university.

“We have a remarkable vision to provide an education distinguished in its ability to prepare transformative leaders for service to the world, and we are able to create a record of remarkable success in pursuing this vision because of all our generous partners,” said Marian University President Daniel J. Elsener. “We are blessed that members of our university community, the Indianapolis community, and many alumni and friends are eager to generously support our efforts in building this great Catholic university to be at the service of all.”

Nearly 2,000 students, staff, faculty, alumni, supporters, partners, and community members attended the gala, 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.

Emceed by WRTV-TV, Channel 6 anchor and reporter, Rafael Sanchez, the gala also honored several prominent community and business leaders, as well as distinguished alumni.

  • Mario Rodriguez, chief executive officer of the Indianapolis Airport Authority, received the John A. Purdie Innovator and Mentor of the Year Award. Rodriguez has worked in the aviation industry for most of his career, having been appointed to serve on the United States Department of Transportation's Aviation Consumer Protection Advisory Committee by three United States presidents. He has also been awarded the highest honor given to an active airport chief executive officer, the Airports Council International's Excellence in Visionary Leadership Award.
  • Janet Holcomb, Indiana’s 51st first lady, was honored with the Franciscan Values Award. Holcomb serves on the boards of Riley Children's Foundation, the Hoosier Salon, the alumni chapter of the Indianapolis Federal Bureau of Investigation Citizens Academy, and The Nature Conservancy. She also lends her leadership and support to numerous child- and youth-related causes. 
  • John and Phyllis Cardis, co-chairs of Marian University’s first-ever national capital campaign, received the Dillion Family Distinguished Alumni Award. The Cardis’ successful campaign raised over $140 million, far surpassing the initial goal of $68.1 million in October 2012. John Cardis, a Marian University alumnus, spent 41 years with Deloitte, serving on its board of directors and executive committee.

The Journey to 2030: Always Forward initiative is being co-chaired by Mike and Bea Becher and Phil ’81 and Terri ’80 Carson. For additional details please visit

News Media Contact

Brad R. Wucher
Vice President of Enrollment, Marketing Communications
(317) 955-6307
Stokley Mansion, Room #1

Can't Find What You're Looking For?

Search for it.