President Geoffrey S. Mearns will join panelists at Cornerstone Center for the Arts Thursday to discuss economic development in Muncie.

The four community and Ball State leaders are Delaina Boyd, Ball State’s interim associate vice president of community engagement; Chris Caldwell, Mutual Bank’s senior vice president of commercial and business banking; Traci Lutton, Muncie-Delaware County Economic Development Alliance’s vice president of economic development; and David Terrell, Ball State’s director of the Rural Policy Research Institute and co-director of the Indiana Communities Institute.

The forums, hosted jointly with The Star Press, look to strengthen bridges between Ball State and greater Muncie.

At the previous forum on Sept. 27, Mearns and panelists praised the connections that already exist with campus and the surrounding community.

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“I’m starting to not be surprised anymore by the passion I see in the community,” Mearns said. “As I get more engaged in this community, I become increasingly encouraged, and very good things await us.”

Mearns and the panel agreed that athletics serve as a “front door” to the campus and make Muncie locals aware of other performances and exhibits open to the public at Ball State.

Ryan Hourigan, director of the school of music, sat on the arts and culture panel and pointed out the performances the school of music holds with community ensembles; this includes a yearly concert with both the Pride of Mid-America Marching Band and the Muncie Symphony Orchestra.

The third and final public forum will be at 6 p.m. Thursday.