Get to know our board members! Each month, the Foundation will be featuring three of its esteemed board members for you to get to know a little bit better. Below are some fun facts as well as a peek into what each of these board members do in their professional careers. 

Mary Sissel (1993-2004) 

Mary became attracted to Ball State after she, her husband, and 2 children moved to Muncie in 1973.  Early on the family became attached to the school through its athletic and cultural programs on campus.  Mary began taking graduate classes, earning her Master’s degree in communications in 1973 and teaching related classes at night. One of her greatest honors was being invited by David Bahlmann and Dick Marshall to the Board of the Ball State University Foundation, where she ultimately served as Chair.  The friendships she formed there remain strong today. A favorite of hers on campus is the sculpture “Frog Baby.”  Mary feels a sense of spirit with her and her expression of total joy, and she visited her at the pond on her daily walks around campus.  Sissels relocated to Denver in 1998, but “Frog Baby” remains close to her, and she treasures the small replica presented to her when her term on the BSU Foundation board ended. When asked of her “dream place” to live, Mary said those places are where her family is:  25 years in Muncie, and 25 years so far in Denver. Her perfect day would be with family and friends, lots of laughs, sharing of thoughts – and delicious Pizza King pizza! 


Tom Bryan (2017-Present) 

Tom Bryan has been a champion for Ball State University through his generous gifts of time, talent, and treasure.  He serves on the Executive Advisory Board for the Miller College of Business and generously made a gift to name the deanship of the MCOB.  Tom loves volunteering at the Foundation due to the incredible people he serves with. He stated that “the Foundation staff, my fellow Board Members, and university leadership are a group of dedicated individuals that truly care about Ball State and the mission of the Foundation.” In addition to volunteering with Ball State, Tom keeps busy with an array of diverse business interests. He is the owner of a commercial bank, a design and manufacturing company specializing in portable and semi-permanent food, beverage, and merchandise solutions for sports and entertainment venues, and a multi-store pizza operation. Outside of work, Tom loves traveling between where he works and lives. He primarily resides in Southwest Florida but travels between his bank in Champaign, Illinois, his design and manufacturing business in western New York, and his pizza business in Las Vegas, Nevada. His perfect day includes sharing a meal with his kids and grandkids prepared by his wife who learned from her Sicilian grandmother. He loves watching NFL Sunday football while digging into some delicious food. Tom’s favorite dessert is pie, but specifically a beautiful Key Lime Pie while in Florida. 


Vince Bertram (2020-Present) 

Vince Bertram is a highly accomplished CEO, and a two-time New York Times best-selling author, with his books Dream Differently and One Nation Under Taught. His personal mission is to help students aspire to and prepare for great careers and he is a global leader in education and entrepreneurship. For over a decade, Vince was president and chief executive officer of Project Lead The Way (PLTW) where he led the company’s dramatic growth to the preeminent STEM education program in the United States. He loves volunteering with the Foundation, as it is inspiring to him to see people come together to make a difference for students, the university, and the surrounding community. Vince has been incredibly impressed with President Mearns and the leadership of the Foundation, as well as the mission of Ball State. Vince received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Ball State University and was selected as 1 of 52 Graduates of Distinction during the Ball State University Centennial Celebration. Vince’s perfect day includes spending it in Hawaii. His best days are when he feels like he has accomplished many goals and is excited to see what he can accomplish the next day. His favorite dessert is frozen yogurt.