Haven Fields is the Deputy Athletics Director at Ball State University, a proud husband and father, previous professional athlete, and someone who is passionate about philanthropy and serving others. On the heels of the pandemic and continuing social justice issues, Fields discusses his hope for Ball State’s future and what Black History Month means to him.

Q: What is your “why” for serving at Ball State?

A: My “why” is about serving others and impacting lives, personally and professionally. As a leader, I’ve always felt the need to be of service to all others you have the privilege to build something with. Ball State is a special place because of the people. It’s what attracted me to become a member of this great institution and community.

Q: What is your hope for Ball State’s future?

A: My hope for Ball State’s future is to continue enhancing our core values and mission within higher education, the community, and the state. We have lots of great leaders who have made a tremendous influence on the lives of our students, and many of our students have inspired others within this community and nationally. Our country has been challenged at the highest of levels with social injustice, filled with hate and judgement. Ball State’s impact through it’s inclusive excellence focus will not only reach our campus—all of us adhering to it will affect the lives of so many others above and beyond. Ball State will continue to bring more light to a dark world, show more love for our neighbors, and encourage more unity.

Q: What should our alumni and donors know about the importance of supporting Athletics/student-athletes?

A: As a former student-athlete, I continue to be excited about the future of Ball State Athletics. Our 450 student-athletes have been resilient throughout this pandemic, which has been motivating. We’ve focused on providing an impactful student-athlete experience (which is one of our goals within our Onward Strategic Plan) with a holistic approach. This is not only related to academics and athletics, but overall development to prepare them for the next stage in their life after graduating. Investing in our student-athletes not only impacts their everyday experience here at Ball State, but also allows them to move toward a trajectory that will change their lives after graduation. There’s no better time to support your Ball State Cardinal student-athletes. The momentum we’ve gained – in particular over the last few months – has shown us we’re flying at an altitude for sustained success. My question to all alumni and donors is: Where you would like to see us go from here (with the momentum we have), and what type of impact do you feel you can provide to get us to the next level?

Q: What does Black History Month mean to you?

Haven Fields wearing a shirt that says "Gordon, Frederick, Malcolm, Booker, & Langston"A: Black History Month means so much more than the 29 days it’s celebrated. So many black leaders and heroes have provided platforms for me to be able to stand strong in my beliefs, create moments to share for others that may not be able to share for themselves, and most importantly, rejoice in how far we’ve come as a country (even though we still have a ways to go). A few words that come to mind for Black History Month are sacrifice, action, and determination. Ball State Athletics office chairThrough the movement of others, those words have allowed me to sit in seats that I would never have been able to, walk into rooms that would have been prohibited, and taken positions that would have been deemed unthinkable. The attached photos tell the story. I get to sit in my seat because of those on my shirt and more.

Q: In what ways can your fellow Cardinals be better allies?

A: Listen! As people of different races, coming from differing backgrounds with differing journeys, it’s imperative that we hear each other. And while not always agreeing, we must listen and show admiration. There are times when, as a country, if we stop to listen and hear each other with a respectful demeanor, it could change outcomes.

Q: Anything else?

A: Words to live by in a climate as such…

“You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you for it.” —John Wooden

My question for all of us—Our time is valuable, but how are we truly serving others?

To learn more about Ball State Athletics, visit ballstatesports.com. You can also read more about Ball State’s commitment to inclusive excellence here. To get started in supporting our talented student-athletes and Division I programs through a gift, contact the Ball State University Foundation or visit bsu.edu/give.

“Spotlight On:” is a Q&A story series produced by the Ball State University Foundation in which we discuss current events, University news, and the importance of philanthropy. To read past stories, click here.