By: Cassidy Clouse, Bicentennial Intern, Class of 2018, Psychology and Human Life Science, East
The IU East Alumni Oral History Project to celebrate IU’s Bicentennial in 2020 is beginning to wrap up for Spring 2017. Most recently we have been able to interview Denice Honaker, David Markley, Kara Bellew, Doris Phelps, Kimberly Schwartzel, Kraig Rose, and Rachel Rose.
Beginning in August 2016, I have immersed myself in the history and legacy of Indiana University East.
From IU East’s humble beginnings in the basement of neighboring Earlham College, to the big move to our own campus in 1975, to offering advanced degrees and becoming Indiana University’s main campus for online education, we have flourished and will continue to grow on this path in years to come.
While learning about the history of IU East through archived newspapers and timelines created for past celebrations is certainly interesting, nothing is more informative or immersive as speaking to the people who were present to witness the evolution of IU East.
Through the 25 alumni interviewed so far, several themes and groups have emerged. One sentiment was overwhelmingly prevalent- many IU East alumni will always think of IU East as home and as part of their family.
“I can’t even think of another place that I would want to go, I want to be here with my people. It’s home.”—Kara Bellew
Kara Bellew is a Student Loan Advisor in the Office of Financial Aid. Through attending IU East for both her undergraduate and graduate degrees, she has enjoyed watching the campus grow physically, through online programs , and most importantly in community engagement.
“I enjoyed the classroom atmosphere and always wanted to go to college, and this was my dream… [IU East] has become much more involved with everybody, with so many students… It’s grown from one building, Whitewater Hall, to all this. It’s really remarkable, I watched it grow.”—Doris Phelps
It was always Doris Phelps’ dream to earn a college degree, so after putting her two children through college she enrolled at IU East in 1980. Doris spent eight years as a student, worked with esteemed IU East artist Tom Thomas for six years, and remains active in the IUEAA today.
“It was a very good start to my adult life and got me started on a career that has been very good to me. I lucked into a very good education.”—David Markley
David Markley began his college career at IU East but holds his B.S. in Accounting from IU Bloomington, as IU East didn’t offer four-year degrees in 1977.
However, it isn’t a stretch to say that he has been with IU East since the beginning. His time with the college began when it was still based out of Earlham College’s basement, he served as an ambassador when appealing to and thanking donors for the brand new campus building, and may have been one of the first attendees who returned to teach at Indiana University East.
He is thankful that he was able to find such an outstanding resource in his hometown that provided him with so many connections and mentors. He has worked for a variety of big name companies, but now teaches and lives in China with his wife.
“To me, first and foremost, it’s a local resource, which I think is very valuable. When I was here I developed what I would consider a secondary family here… I think it’s become an essential part of this community and I hope it continues to stay that way.”—Kraig Rose
“IU East means to me… family. I would love to continue to see our nieces and nephews and maybe someday our future children be on campus here at IU East. We have such a great family with the IU East Alumni Board here and the other IU members who we’re involved with that you can’t really separate out, it’s not enough to call it a friendship it really is a family.”—Rachel Rose
Rachel (Russell) Rose and Kraig Rose are high school sweethearts who both graduated from IU East. Kraig was a highly engaged student in his time at the college, and now serves on the IU Alumni Executive Council and is President of the Whitewater Valley chapter of the IUEAA.
Rachel graduated just last year with her MSN and remains active in the IUEAA; she feels that IUEAA has helped her realize just how widespread the IU community is, and is grateful that she has always felt included by other alumni even though she didn’t attend one of the main IU campuses.
“For me, it’s my home away from home. I started here as a student and never left. I’m very comfortable in this environment… The opportunities I’ve had, professional development, employment opportunities, so yeah, it’s my second life.”—Kimberly Schwartzel
Kimberly Schwartzel began at IU East by taking classes sporadically, but in 1989, after IUE began offering four-year degrees, she returned part time and graduated with her B.A. in Secondary Education with a concentration in math. While a student, she was heavily involved in the Math Resource Center and after graduation has continued to teach at IU East and work in Academic Support.
This structure of this semester’s project was slightly different from last semester, as we moved from interviewing on-campus alumni to off-campus alumni. The quality of the oral histories have only continued to improve, but it was more challenging to schedule and complete the interview process with alumni this semester.
My experiences with the bicentennial internship program has been beneficial beyond words for my professional development, connection to alumni, and my understanding of the campus and its unique history; I look forward to my continuation of these experiences next semester!
For part one, please visit: https://blogs.iu.edu/bicentennialblogs/2016/11/08/oral-history-project-at-iu-east/