Don and Jeanne Fields of Yorktown have been loyal donors to Ball State since graduating with bachelor’s degrees: Don in 1965 and Jeanne in 1966.

Even early on, as cash-strapped, public-school educators, they gave back.

“Giving back is a matter of priorities,” Don said. “First, you have to decide how you want to spend your disposable income.”

In 2020, that lifelong commitment culminated when the Fields family established the Don and Jeanne, Jim and Kiley Fields Family Scholarship, with help from the George and Frances Ball Foundation’s Scholars Program.

The Fields described the matching fund contribution as a huge incentive and a means for the family to fulfill a dream.

“We love to see kids be successful,” Jeanne said.

Combined, Jeanne and Don went on to earn three more degrees from Ball State, all of them in education-related programs. And their children earned University degrees: Robert, ’93; Jim, ’97; and Jennifer, ’95, MAE ’98. All earned scholarships to attend Ball State, inspiring their parents to pay that generosity forward. Jim and his wife, Kiley, ’98, are also contributors to the family scholarship. They live in Downers Grove, Illinois.

Jim, who is a past member of the Alumni Council, said: “My parents and Kiley’s parents always pushed the importance of education, and we’ve seen firsthand the career and life opportunities that education creates for people.”

Learn more about the George and Frances Ball Foundation Scholars Program at