Logo for Newslink Indiana at Ball State University Logo for Newslink Indiana at Ball State University

First ladies of Ball State panel

MUNCIE, Ind. — In honor of Women’s History Month, a panel discussion about former Ball State presidents’ wives occurred on March 13.

Held at Westminster Village, this panel about Ball State’s first ladies is part of a project called Notable Women of Muncie and Delaware County. This panel took a deeper look into the history of the four first ladies of Ball State and revealed their impact on campus. Covering various topics about community events, life before becoming first lady, and their dedication to the foundation of Ball State, all these women contributed to Ball State in many ways.

A member of the Delaware County Historical Society, Karen Vincent, recognized the work they did on campus and its impact on Ball State members.

“How they ran the house, how they interacted with students, how they interacted with faculty, the dinners they held, the events they held, the speaking they would do on campus, they’ve had a huge influence on a lot of different people,” Vincent said.

Vincent believes it is critical to hear the stories of these women because they don’t receive much recognition.

“There are so many women that we don’t talk about, and even the Ball State’s first ladies who did so much for this community here, and several of them who then, even after their husbands were no longer president, spent the rest of their lives here,” Vincent said.

Various historic photographs were shown throughout the panel, bringing their stories to life. Some photos showed how these women played a part in the campus arts and culture; according to Melissa Gentry, Supervisor of Map Collection in University Libraries, their contributions caught her eye.

“When I came to Ball State, I had never been to Ball State before; when I first came here, I was just taken by the arts and culture. Muncie is like that, but I think a lot of the First Ladies have really promoted that as part of campus activities,” Gentry said.

The work done by these ladies made history, and their stories will continue to be told at Ball State. A second panel will be held at Bracken House with Ball State’s first lady, Mrs. Mearns, on March 25. There is limited seating available, and for more information, contact the Women’s, Gender, and African American Studies office.

Contact Kahmara Munn with comments at kahmara.munn@bsu.edu.