Jo Ann Gora: Ball State's 14th president
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Joining the university in 2004, Jo Ann Gora was the 14th president of Ball State and the first female president of an Indiana public institution.
Before coming to Ball State, Gora was chancellor at the University of Massachusetts Boston and previously served as the vice president for academic affairs and provost at Old Dominion University.
During her 10 years with the university, more than $520 million of construction and renovations were seen on campus. These projects included the David Letterman Communication and Media Building, Kinghorn Hall, Park Hall and the Student Recreation and Wellness Center.
Additionally, she was an integral part in the implementation of Ball State’s geothermal system, which is the largest ground-source, closed-loop geothermal district energy system in the U.S.
Aside from construction, Gora pushed for immersive learning programs at the university. Since 2004, Ball State has held immersion projects both locally and internationally.
In 2005 she was awarded the Sagamore of the Wabash, which is Indiana’s highest civil honor. It is given to those who have contributed to Hoosier heritage.
She launched the school’s national marketing campaigns Education Redefined and Education Redefined 2.0. Gora also oversaw two capital campaigns, the Bold campaign which raised $210 million and an athletic campaign that raised $20 million.
Gora made an extra effort to reach out to students. Each year, she took freshmen to lunch if they asked her. This close relationship with students earned her the nickname “JoGo.”
Her office, though, didn’t contain a single picture of her family. Instead, the walls were covered with Ball State history and pictures of influential people who came to Ball State’s campus.
In 2010, the Jo Ann Gora Student Recreation and Wellness center was dedicated in her honor. After 10 years with the university, Gora retired in 2014.