As faculty members and students crowded into Cardinal Hall C, nearly a decade of Ball State education was remembered. 

Kelli Huth, former director of immersive learning, served her final day as a Ball State University faculty member Wednesday. She worked for the department of entrepreneurial learning for more than nine years. 

Huth is transferring to Binghamton University in New York to serve as director of civic engagement. 

“I feel like I’m leaving a huge part of myself behind,” Huth said. “I’m really proud of what has been accomplished over the last 10 years, and it’s hard to walk away from something you’ve been a part of for that long.”

But to Huth, it wasn’t about the work. The relationships built through the years is what really mattered to her. 

A collection of farewells and affirmations could be heard throughout the room as she hugged friends and said goodbye. 

“I realized, over the last 10 years, this is exactly what I’m meant to do,” Huth said. “I understand my career now. I really do believe that the work that we’re doing is important. I’ve seen the transformational effect that it’s had on students and faculty.”

Jennifer Blackmer, associate provost for entrepreneurial learning, spoke about the people Huth interacted with over the last decade, the lives she touched. 

“Her passion for community engagement has translated to the students," Blackmer said. "They begin to feel that connection when they go out into the community and they bring it back to campus with them."

Blackmer said Huth transformed the department and introduced a more interactive form of immersive learning. 

“She has been instrumental in the development of the concept and the brand of immersive learning over the last decade,” Blackmer said. “[Passion] is probably the word that comes to mind when somebody asks me about her. What is her strength — I think it is her passion for community and community engagement, community development, and she’s taken all that passion and knowledge and really helped us ramp up the immersive learning program around here.”

Moving forward, the department of entrepreneurial learning might look to expand Huth’s position. 

“The difficult thing with somebody like Kelli is it’s going to be really hard to find one person who embodies everything that she’s been able to bring to this job,” Blackmer said. “So we are going to take a little bit of time and look at what she has accomplished and figure out the best way to move that forward. That might be two people, that might be somebody who is like Kelli. It just takes us a while to find that person.”

Contact Garrett Looker with comments at galooker@bsu.edu.