Editor's note: In honor of the university's centennial year, The Daily News is counting down 100 days to the university's celebration Sept. 6 with 100 of Ball State's most famous traditions and figures. Check back each day to read about Cardinal history.    

Focus on global awareness and technology was former Ball State president Blaine A. Brownell’s goal. 

Brownell became the 12th president July 1, 2000, and served until 2004. During his presidency, he expanded Ball State’s international programs to enhance global partnerships and appointed a vice president to oversee technology. 

During his tenure, Shafer Tower and the Art and Journalism Building were completed, the Fine Arts Building saw renovations and construction began on the Music Instruction Building. He also created the first comprehensive strategic plan for Ball State. Enrollment rose to its highest level in 12 years, with a record freshman retention rate of 80 percent. 

Ball State also received the largest single grant in university history when Lilly Endowment Inc. Invested $20 million in the iCommunication initiative, which established the university as a leader in digital media use. 

The largest single private gift in university history — $17.2 million — was given, leading to the naming of the Miller College of Business. 

Additionally, the university launched its “Building Better Communities” campaign, which highlighted the various ways Ball State could partner with local government to promote growth and development. 

In addition to president, Brownell was a professor of history and urban planning at the university. 

He is a recognized author of urban history and the history of the American south. He has authored or co-authored seven books and 22 articles or book chapters. 

Prior to working at the university, Brownell was the executive director for the center for international programs and services, as well as a professor of history, at the University of Memphis. 

Additionally, he served as the provost and vice president for academic affairs at the University of North Texas and held several positions at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. 

Brownell resigned in January 2004 to become CEO of U21 Pedagogica. 

Read more centennial content here. 

Contact Brynn Mechem with comments at bamechem@bsu.edu or on Twitter @BrynnMechem.