When referring to the Ball family, we often focus on the five Ball brothers and their legacy. With the new Ball Family Leadership Legacy Fund for Women, the Ball State University Foundation honors women who are visionaries and contributors to our community.
The fund recognizes the history of outstanding women who have served Ball State. It awards professional-development scholarships to eligible female-identifying administrative, support, and service staff members to further sharpen their skills, talents, and leadership abilities.
Winners for 2020, and the fund’s first honorees, are Debbie S. Kirby, administrative coordinator in the Department of Nutrition and Health Science, and Tania Said, director of education at the David Owsley Museum of Art.
Kirby has been at Ball State for 13 years. Dr. Carol A. Friesen, professor of nutrition and dietetics and director of graduate studies in the Department of Nutrition and Health Science, nominated Kirby.
While working full-time, Kirby is also completing a degree in residential property management and plans to graduate in May 2021. Her dream is to own and manage a senior housing community that would also provide employment and professional development opportunities for young adults who have aged out of the foster system.
“Over the last four years, I have come to know a caring, passionate, hard-working human being who would give the shirt off her back to help someone in need,” Friesen wrote about Kirby.
Said’s award-winning career at DOMA began in 2005. She was nominated by Dr. Lynne Stallings, association professor of English.
Stallings commended Said for developing outreach programs for local elementary students, some of whom were intimidated by the Ball State campus or did not typically visit art museums. Said also developed pre-visit and post-visit curriculums that relate to state standards for language arts, visual arts, and social studies.
In her personal and professional life, she is committed to education, accessibility, equity and inclusivity, and improving race relations.
“There is no doubt that Ms. Said ‘values the intrinsic worth of every member of the community,” Stallings wrote, borrowing language from the Beneficence Pledge to describe Said.