BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – When the late Conrad T. Prebys committed $20 million to Indiana University and its Kelley School of Business in October 2015, the real estate developer and philanthropist was profuse in his admiration for his alma mater.
“I love Indiana University, the beautiful Bloomington campus, and it’s exciting to be able to make this gift to the university,” Prebys famously said. “I am very proud to help the Kelley School build on its strong foundation and further its profound promise to students and their futures.”
Sadly, Prebys (pictured below), who was president of San Diego-based Progress Construction and Management, passed in July 2016, before seeing the fruition of his generosity.
Raised in a working-class area of South Bend, he was the first of his five brothers to attend college and participated in the ROTC Program at IU. After graduating in 1955, he returned to his hometown, where was a manager at a steel company and operated a pizzeria. A decade later, he moved to San Diego and became a successful developer of affordable, middle-class residences.
The $14 million Conrad Prebys Career Services Center was built and dedicated in March 2018, and addressed important career development and placement needs for an increasing number of students at the Kelley School of Business and IU.
The summer before, IU President Michael McRobbie also presided over the inauguration of a new outdoor amphitheater for musical and theatrical productions named for Prebys, located next to Bryan House.
These facilities were vitally needed, but this fall Prebys’ gift is contributing to another building project – in the form of the next generation of future successful Kelley alumni, through a new student scholarship program.
The Kelley School selected its first group of 13 Prebys Scholars, who began their studies this fall.
Entering freshmen who applied to IU and were directly admitted to the Kelley School were eligible. Preference was given to students who are traditionally underrepresented in the field of business. Students receive partial funding toward standard tuition and fees and other support in the form of an advisor and a Kelley student mentor.
This year’s Prebys Scholars, their high schools and their hometowns are:
- Eddie Bolivar, Oak Park & River Forest High School, Oak Park, Illinois
- Janyssa Chavez, Pike High School, Indianapolis
- Nathan Gonzalez, Wellington High School, Wellington, Florida
- Zachary Harper, Detroit Country Day School, Detroit
- Nicholas Lugo, Marlboro High School, Manalapan, N.J.
- Jack Luzzo, Marist High School, Orland Park, Illinois
- Mercedes Maldonado, Munster High School, Hammond, Indiana
- Devin Pope, Merrillville High School, Crown Point, Indiana
- Ashanti Price, Merrillville High School, Merrillville, Indiana
- Stefano de la Riva Aguero, Western High School, Davie, Florida
- Ashley Robinson, Lake Central High School, Schererville, Indiana
- Donovan Snulligan, Lawrence North High School, Indianapolis
- Jacob Vrankin, Naperville North High School, Naperville, Illinois
The scholarships are renewable as long as recipients meet the expectations of their scholarship program. More information about the Prebys Scholars program is available from the Kelley Office of Diversity Initiatives at 812-855-4474 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to the student scholarships, Prebys provided funding for attracting and retaining accomplished faculty members. There are three Conrad Prebys Professors at Kelley: Rebecca J. Slotegraaf, also a professor of marketing and chair of the school’s doctoral programs; and Leslie Hodder and Terri Lombardi Yohn, both professors of accounting. They will soon be joined by a fourth professor.
Prebys’ gift was made as part of IU’s university-wide philanthropic campaign, For All: The Indiana University Bicentennial Campaign, which concludes on June 30, 2020. Opportunities to follow in Prebys’ footsteps and support the future of business education and future generations remain.