By Anne M. Kostyo, JWS President
Dear JWS Members, Union Board Students, IMU Staff & Friends,
As the leaves change on campus, and I had the opportunity to attend our own 42nd Biennial Reunion, I can’t help but reflect on the core nature of our alumni group and our connection to the Union.
At the heart of the IMU and Union Board is both the ability to adapt, but also to carry forth the values of our foundation. Each year a new student board of directors chooses which committees will best serve the student body, and as alumni we get to watch in awe at their ingenuity, creativity, and ability to lead through changing tides—and most recently a global pandemic.
At the same time, our alums respond to the larger needs of the Union and students by continuing to volunteer and by supporting key initiatives through personal giving.
Together, approximately 240 donors have pledged over 400 gifts totaling nearly $140,000 through online giving, participating in annual appeals, and providing generous personal gifts just in the past year alone. Those contributions have been put towards a variety of initiatives that support students and the student experience in the IMU. Some of these gifts were for donors’ passion projects while other gifts went to the greatest needs of the IMU.
They’ve allowed the Advisory Board to support students and staff in diversifying the IMU Art Collection to include both a wider variety of types of art, and art that is more reflective of our diverse Indiana University culture. We’ve also provided funds for students to participate in important leadership development opportunities like ACUI and the Sundance Film Festival for several years in a row. Similarly, we maintain a strong scholarship program, that in a pandemic year became especially important to many students.
For those of us who were able to attend our recent Biennial, it is impossible not to admire the new building renovations including a significantly revamped dining space that is now also a showcase for Union and Indiana University history pieces—including the original IMU sign. We also enjoyed a sneak peak of the new Vault Pub, now housed in the former Kiva/Dunn Meadow Café space! As those spaces continue to be renovated many alums have stepped forward and offered their own support—which is an honor to see and be part of. Just as Union Board committees shift over time, the building is molded by current leadership—especially Hank Walter—to meet the needs of each generation.
Finally, as I reflect on these changes, I cannot help but thank the five members of the JWS Advisory Board who have recently cycled off. Susan Burns, Kathy Cook, Megan Ditton, Jerald Harkness, and especially Laura Osteen—our most recent president and the first female president of the John Whittenberger Society.
Thank you for your unwavering support and dedication to the Union and Union Board. I am honored to work with our current JWS Advisory Board members to build on the initiatives that you began and to carry on the values of leadership, service, and a “student first” mindset that we all share.
Anne M. Kostyo
President, John Whittenberger Society
2008 Union Board, Director of Comedy
The John Whittenberger Society Advisory Board:
- Lydia Shanklin Roll (UB 2003), vice president
- Julie Singer (UB 2009), vice president
- Cathy Deal (UB 1969-70 Alumni Rep. 2014-2017)
- Martín Gimenez (UB 2001)
- Adele Kaplan (UB 1985-86, 1986-87)
- Beth Loeb Davies (1981-82, 1982-83)
- Kerry Maller (UB 1996, 1997)