For more than 100 years, graduates of Ball State University have accomplished mark-making achievements that have left both the Ball State community and the world proud一bestselling novels, dedicated service, award-winning articles, memorable lectures and successful business ventures.
A quick glance at the history of Ball State’s alumni and their success is enough to highlight the seemingly endless amount of talent and potential in our graduates. To celebrate and honor the many alumni who have demonstrated outstanding service and support to Ball State, excelled in their professions or served their communities for great distinction, Ball State’s Alumni Association presents the Ball State Alumni Awards each year after considering every nomination. This year, the Alumni Association awarded 16 alumni for their service and achievements.
This year, Jeff Papa has been awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award. Jeff graduated in 1999 with a degree in economics from the Miller College of Business. Since then, he has gone on to pursue great things including co-founding the YETI Orphanage in Nepal, becoming theEditor-in-Chief of the Mensa Research Journal, serving the Indiana Senate as the Chief of Staff/General Counsel, and being the first Mayor of Zionsville. Outside of his professional pursuits, Jeff has been faithful serving Ball State in many ways since he graduated. Currently, he serves on the Economics Department Advisory Board and Bowen Center for Public Affairs Board. Additionally, he regularly speaks at Dialogue Days for the Miller College of Business and organizes BSU’s annual Economics Club Day at the Indiana State House.
Jeff is also committed to recruiting and hiring a number BSU students and alumni as either interns or employees through his involvement in many different organizations. Outside of Ball State, Jeff is a board member of the Fuller Center for Housing, as well as the Lincoln Presidential Foundation, and he is a former Board of Trustees Member for Rose-Hulman. Jeff has consistently been committed to helping as many people as possible through his career and volunteer pursuits.
Brad Saar has also been awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award. Brad graduated in 1986 with a degree in speech communication from the College of Communication, Information, and Media. Presently, he serves as the President of the medical division of Stryker Corporation. Through this position, he has been able to service his community in Portage, Michigan, as well as lead his division to great financial success. Outside of his professional identity, Brad has continued to maintain a relationship with his alma mater. In 2021, Brad served as the Executive in Resident in the fall of 2021 for the Miller College of Business. He also participated in the Dialogue Days panel which brings students and alumni together so students can learn about growing fields and what careers they might want to pursue. Brad has also spoken to the BSU football team as he played for the Indianapolis Colts in 1987. Outside of his involvement with BSU, Brad is a member of the Board of Cancer Families United and the Board of Directors for Southwest Michigan First. This organization focuses on creating jobs and cultivating a strong economy in Southwest Michigan. Overall, Brad demonstrated his commitment to both the Ball State community and his local community through his dedicated service.
Charles “Chuck” and Kathy Harper have been awarded the Honorary Alumni Award. Their deep and ongoing commitment to Ball State University can be seen through their involvement all over campus and the giving of their time, talent, and treasure. They have dedicated their time through volunteering with the BSU Foundation Board of Directors, Cardinal Funds, In. Board, the David Owsley Museum of Art (DOMA) Acquisition Committee, Beneficence Society, Founders Society, and Leaders and Loyals.
Additionally, they are major benefactors to the DOMA and Art Museum Expansion Fund to help ensure the continued successful management of DOMA. They have donated major works for art including more than 1,000 drawings and several paintings by Joseph Delaney.Outside of Ball State, they serve on a variety of non-profit boards such as the Terra Foundation for American Art, Art Institute of Chicago, Committee on Asian Art, and many more. Through their contributions to Ball State, they have provided generations of Ball State students with modernist works by American and African American Artists for study and inspiration for years to come. They serve as an exemplary role model to BSU students, supporters, alumni, and community. They inspire us all to live the spirit of Beneficence.
Sam DeWeese, PhD, was awarded this year’s Benny Award. Sam graduated from Ball State in information and communication sciences from the College of Communication, Information, and Media in 2002. Presently, he services as the Assistant Director of the Division of Communications for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Sam has previously served on the Alumni Council Board and was the Alumni Council Chair from 2017-2019. He is a Career Center Volunteer and has attended more than 50 alumni events in the past five years.
Additionally, he has given generously to BSU since graduation. Sam served the Alumni Council board with enthusiasm for the maximum set of terms available to him. He actively participated in programs and activities, showing his support for their mission. He stepped into the role of Alumni Council chair during a transition of leadership at the Alumni Association/Foundation and led with confidence and integrity. He continues to show his support for the university and has made outstanding contributions to the Foundation and the Alumni Office.
Jim Fields was also awarded this year’s Benny Award. He graduated from Ball State in 1997 with a degree in management and entrepreneurship from the Miller College of Business. Since then, he has continuously carried the legacy of being a Cardinal by serving in many volunteer roles throughout the years. He frequently hosts events such as the Chicago Cardinal Networking Forum and Campaign Salon.He also is an Alumni Ambassador, member of the Campaign Advisory Council, and established a family scholarship fund for current business students and another for students pursuing a focus in special education. Jim is a Partner at Oliver Wyman, a global management consulting firm. Jim is married to Kiley (Piper) Fields ’98. Jim and Kiley have three kids and live in the Chicago-land area. You can find Jim serving Ball State every chance he gets. Over the past 30 years, Jim has exemplified what it means to be a devoted alumnus.
In addition, Larry Roan received this year’s Benny Award. Larry is a loyal and unwavering supporter of Ball State University and all of its endeavors. Currently retired, Larry has dedicated himself to various boards all over campus, as well as attending 85 alumni events and meetings in the past five years in support of multiple areas of the university including Athletics, Fine Arts, and CAP. Presently, he serves on the Executive Campaign Council, CAP Executive Advisory Board, and the Construction Management Advisory Board. Additionally, he has established four scholarships to support current Ball State students and faculty members. Outside of Ball State, Larry is a current member of the Sigma Lambda Chi Board and the Woodstock Club Board. Larry cares deeply about the future of Ball State and has committed to be acontinued support and resource for the university through giving of his time, talent, and treasure.
Brad Burk has received this year’s Alumni Award of Achievement After earning two degrees from Ball State University (BS ’91/MA ’92), Brad began his professional career as a high school history teacher and coach. He later worked for the Indiana General Assembly and since 1998, has helped lead the fight against cancer in Indiana. In 2015, he received his MNA in Business from the University of Notre Dame. Brad recently celebrated twenty-five years with the American Cancer Society, where he currently serves as Senior Executive Director for Indiana. During his tenure, Brad and team have raised over $160 million, with $40 million invested in extramural research based in Indiana.
During that same period, Hoosier cancer mortality rates have declined by 25%. Through his career at the American Cancer Society and decades of volunteerism, Brad has dedicated his life to the service of others. His volunteerism includes work as a youth sports coach, service on local boards, and as a community leader. A 30-year collegiate mentor, Brad has been elected to two national boards for Theta Chi Fraternity. In 2019, Brad was elected to the Zionsville Town Council as an at-large representative and currently serves as Vice President. Brad Burk exemplifies servant leadership. He approaches every endeavor with a heartfelt willingness to understand, collaborate and make the greatest difference. No matter the task, Brad is willing to support and/or lead. His two degrees in history and political science, along with his experience as a student leader, prepared him well for a life of learning and leading. His work and life story truly represents the best of Ball State University. In sum, Brad has been successful in leveraging the complete BSU experience to live out his purpose: Doing good and sparking positive change each and every day. Brad lives in Zionsville with his wife Jennifer (BSU ’90/’92) and their four children.
Noel Harmon was awarded this year’s Alumni Award of Achievement. Noel has dedicated her life to serving families and individuals who do not have the financial advantages to pursue higher education all across the globe. Currently, she is the Director and President of the Asian Pacific Island Americans Scholars where she works to assist students who represent 48 distinct ethnicities and speak over 300 languages.She and her team, located in Washington D.C., work to provide opportunities for students to access, complete, and succeed in post-secondary education and develop into leaders who excel in their careers and communities. At Ball State, she has served on the Student Affairs Administration in Higher Education Advisory Committee for over a decade. Her devotion to assisting students in the quest for education exemplifies the core values that Ball State upholds and is a true embodiment of what BSU calls its students to achieve.
Jerry Walker has also been awarded the year’s Alumni Award of Achievement. Jerry is currently the CIO and Director of IT for the Oregon State Treasury. Jerry has led the IT industry in developing secure, innovative systems that better serve private and public agencies while advancing inclusive excellence and diversity in the IT industry. After graduating in telecommunications from the College of Communication, Information, and Media in 1998, andCenter for Information and Communication Sciences in 1999, Jerry has gone on to pursue a fruitful career which has allowed him to exemplify that technology can be a barrier or tool in supporting our communities in need and inclusion.
Jerry currently serves on the BSU CCIM Alumni Advisory Board where he has helped guide CCIM as they adapt to an ever-changing world. Presently he is also a NAACP Executive Committee Member of the St. Louis County Chapter and Leadership Council member for Partners in Diversity of Oregon.In recent years he has served on the Board of Directors for Unleashing Potential which focuses on early childcare access, Advisory Council for nPower of STL whos’ mission is to move people from poverty to the middle class through tech skills and job placement, he served as the Vice President and President of BDPA STL chapter whos’ motto is advancing careers from the classroom to the boardroom, the Bayer YMCA Board of Directors, and has served as past district officers for Omega Psi Phi Fraternity 8th district. Jerry is also a member of ITSMF (Information Technology Senior Management Forum). Jerry has been recognized several times for his industrial and inclusion achievements. He was named the 2022 recipient of the BSU Alumni Achievement Award for CCIM, 2020 CICS Hall of Fame Award and the 8th District Omega Psi Phi District Leadership Award in 2017 and Superior Service Award along with many more accolades.
Drew Adamson was awarded this year’s GOLD Award. Originally from Atlanta, GA, Drew graduated from Ball State in 2015 with a degree in Digital Sports Production from the College of Communication, Information, and Media.Since then, he has worked in multiple Athletic Departments and is now paving the way in his field at iRacing. iRacing is the world’s premier motorsport racing simulation platform. He has served as a content creator and more recently as the head of all things broadcasting as their Senior Broadcasting Producer/Director. Designing and building the first-ever digital broadcast control center for Esports racing coverage, iRacing broke the record not once, but three times while receiving the largest ever North American Esports viewing audience ever during the Covid Pandemic. With their help, iRacing provided the world with continual and sometimes non-stop motorsports coverage that helped provide a sense of normalcy in an un-normal time for the entire world. Drew has
also been the Broadcast Director for the MS Society’s charity racing events the past 3 years in partnership with 7-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion Crew Chief Chad Knaus. He has directed shows for many global Motorsports Partners, Sanctioning Bodies, and Broadcasters. NASCAR, INDYCAR, IMSA Sports Cars, Porsche, World of Outlaws, FOX Sports, NBC Sports, and CBS Sports to name just a few. Having been nicknamed “The Mad Scientist” by FOX Sports’President of Production & Operations Brad Zager, Drew has altered the course of his industry and has been a catalyst for new directions in the world of Motorsports and Esports.Through all of his success though, Drew has never forgotten and continues to hold his Ball State University roots near and dear to his heart. He presently serves on the College of Communication, Information, and Media Dean’s Executive Advisory Council and has returned to Ball State many times to speak with and mentor students. Through his guidance, students will now begin to observe and serve on journalistic and multimedia production teams while gaining real world experience in this budding field.
Jacob Irven was awarded the GOLD Award. He earned his bachelor’s degree in political science with a concentration in economics and a minor in professional writing centered on digital literacy from Ball State University in 2014. Jacob engaged in leadership and service opportunities throughout his studies, including with the BSU Debate Team, the Pre-Law Interest Group, the National Political Science Honor Society, and Excellence in Leadership.BSU recognized Jacob with an Academic Honors in Writing designation at graduation for his sustained excellence in writing throughout his undergraduate studies. Since then, Jacob applied what he learned to all aspects of his life, including developing his desire to serve his community and BSU. He has remained involved with Ball State by engaging as a guest speaker with the BSU Pre-Law Interest Group, giving to the CCIM Media Debate Enhancement Fund, and judging for BSU debate tournaments. Additionally, as a law student at Indiana University, Jacob supported international human rights organizations through the Program in International Human Rights Law, published investigative blog posts on U.S. military commission hearings from Guantanamo Bay, won the 2016 Staton Moot Court Competition, and earned the Norman Lefstein Award ofExcellence for contributing 400+ hours of pro bono legal services among other honors. Jacob has served as apublic interest attorney and a community organizer throughout his career, and he currently works in nonprofit communications with the Indiana University Office of the President. He has remained involved in his community by supporting organizations like Second Helpings, United Way, and the American Civil Liberties Union. He is motivated to continue his passion for service within his profession, communities, and alma mater for years to come.
Anthony Lazzara has been granted this year’s GOLD award. Anthony graduated from Ball State University in 2013 with an undergraduate degree in entrepreneurship from the Miller College of Business, minor in Hospitality Management, and team captain for 2 of his four years with the Ball State Golf Team that qualified for Nationals their Senior year. Through this program, he gained real life experience about how to successfully start and run a business. Now, he is the owner of LRG Restaurants. His restaurant and rooftop lounge, Anthony’s Chophouse and 3UP Rooftop Lounge have been a huge success and have won several awards, all while providing a space for the community to gather. He is beginning to follow his
father’s footsteps in the commercial real estate business to possibly secure more restaurant locations or other areas of opportunities. He is married to former ball state Gymnast Kayla (Kmiecik) Lazzara and they have three boys. Currently, Anthony serves as a mentor and evaluator for the Ball State Entrepreneurship program and on the Miller College of Business Executive Advisory Board. Additionally, he has generously donated to this program, aswell as the men’s golf team and women’s gymnastics team. Outside of Ball State, Anthony served on the Heroes Club Board, Discovering Broadway Board, and assists in fundraisers for many local and national Charities like The JimmyVFoundation. Anthony’s dedication to his community and the students here at Ball State shows his dedication to help people in their journeys just as he was during his time at Ball State.
In addition, Giang Petroviak was awarded the GOLD Award. Giang is a very dedicated Ball State alumna who has made it her mission to impact young people in her community inFort Wayne, as well as Ball State students. As a first-generation college student, Giang’s experiences at Ball State helped her find her passion for higher education and working with students.
After graduating in 2014 with a degree in urban planning and development from the College of Architecture and Planning, she went on to earn her masters in student affairs and higher education from Indiana State University.Presently, Giang works as the Director of New Student Programs inthe Office of Admissions at Purdue University – Fort Wayne. Ball State helped shape Giang into the leader and professional that she is today and to express her gratitude to Ball State, she serves on the Ball State Northeastern Indiana Alumni Chapter Board, Ball State Campaign Advisory Council, and is the President of the Ball State Young Alumni Council. Through
these roles, she provides services to the alumni association, the greater alumni community, and provides inspiration for ways current students can give back to BSU. Without fail, Giang serves Ball State whenever she is needed and never backs down from a task. In addition to her work at Ball State, Giang also volunteers with the Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana, the Girl Scouts of Northern Indiana – Michiana and Kappa Delta Sorority. Her goal is to provide young people with the opportunities they need to help them be successful in whatever their future endeavors may be.
Danny Pinter has been awarded a GOLD award. Danny is presently a NFL offensive lineman for the Indianapolis Colts. He graduated from Ball State in 2018 with a business administration degree from the Miller College of Business. Danny has not forgotten his time at BSU and currently donates his time and treasure to the Ball State football team. As a mentor, he guides young players through the struggles of being an athlete and gives them confidence to pursue their dreams. Danny also serves as BSU ambassador for One Ball State Day and promotes this day of giving on his global social platforms. Danny is also working to inspire the next generation of local student-athletes from where he grew up. He is working to develop youth sports programs in the South Bend area, which he is from. Danny is incredibly grateful for the people and school that supported him so much on his path to becoming a professional football player and is passionately giving back so young people like him have the same opportunity.
Joy Targgart was awarded this year’s GOLD Award. As a proud BSU graduate, Joy is committed to giving back to her community and putting her degree in sociology to good use. Presently, Joy is a real estate agent with F.C. Tucker Company in Indianapolis where she is working hard to find families their dream homes. Before making her recent career shift, Joy served as the Chief of Staff to the CEO at BCforward, which is one of the largest African American owned businesses in Indiana. Her mission there was to spearhead philanthropic engagement and corporate community outreach, as well as other responsibilities. At BCforward, Joy was actively engaged in the community through the company’s involvement with the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC, Mid-State Chapter), Business Equity for Indy, Junior Achievement of Central Indiana, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to name a few. Joy has maintained a strong relationship with her alma mater and serves the Ball State community directly through being a member and the pastpresident of Epsilon Sigma Alpha- Phi Alpha Chapter, which is an international service agency that supports St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Easter Seals, and Camp Riley. She also is a volunteer at the Career Center and provides students with mock interviews to prepare them for the professional world and was previously the Executive Director of St. Jude Up ’til Dawn. Currently, Joy participates on the Indianapolis St. Jude Walk/Run committee and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana Big Futures committee. In 2022, Joy was recognized by Junior Achievement of Central Indiana as one of the 10 honorees in the Technology industry celebrating central Indiana’s most outstanding young professionals. Joy has dedicated her life to the service of her community and the mission of philanthropy.
Nathan Wilson was awarded the GOLD Award. Nathan graduated from Ball State University in 2015 with a degree in telecommunications, digital production, and digital video from the College of Communication, Information, and Media. He now works for the Elwood Fire Department as a Firefighter/EMT. Before Covid, Nathan worked on reality television shows while living in California. These shows included: Gordon Ramsay’s 24HRS to Hell and Back as well as all of the shows in The Bachelor franchise. On top of his day job, Nathan has remained busy through his involvement with Ball State and other charity organizations. Presently, he serves on the Alumni Advisory Board for the Ball State Lambda Chi Alpha chapter where he helps network between current and possible members to cultivate involvement. He is also the Treasurer of the Ball State University Department of Media Alumni Board where he helps plan events and keep current students and alumni up to date with what is going on in the industry. He also serves as a member for the Ball State Young Alumni Council where he helps keep alumni active after graduation. He has also been a guest speaker in many BSU media classes since 2017. Outside of Ball State, Nathan serves as a volunteer for the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and supports many charities through financial giving including Riley Hospital for Children, Ronald McDonald House Charities, and more. His goal is to help young people achieve their dreams and do what they love, especially through taking advantage of all the wonderful opportunities that Ball State University has to offer.