- Finding IU
- IU School of Dentistry
- IU Treasure: The Cream
and Crimson Greenhouse
- Committed to IU:
The Well House Society
- Imagine a University
- IUSF: “To Young Love”
- IMPACT Is Happening
- IU Ambassadors in the
Land of Purdue
- IU Remembers
John W. Ryan
- By the Numbers
- Join the Spirit of IU
- Indiana, Our Indiana
IUSF: “To Young Love” Was Just the Start
During his junior year at Indiana University, Richard Stiener, BA’65, realized he wasn’t going to make it.
In the summer, he worked steel mills and construction. “Usually, it was enough to pay for tuition and books,” recalls Richard. “I also waited tables at the ATO fraternity house and delivered the Indiana Daily Student first semester. But second semester, I came up short.”
Fortunately, Richard heard about an IU Student Foundation “work scholarship,” as he called it. He applied and received $100. “That was pretty big to me, enough for food that second semester,” he says. “I lost a few pounds, but I made it.”
Today, Richard and his wife, Carolyn, have returned the favor. They have endowed the Robert and Richard Stiener Scholarship. It benefits IUSF students who work to support their IU education, with preferences for criminal justice or education majors.
In Richard’s opinion, their decision is affirmed by students like Kelsie Ackman, BA’11. “She reinforced my inspiration for giving,” he says. “I hope I live for another 20 years just so I get to see what impact she’ll have on society.”
Kelsie received the scholarship as an undergraduate and is beginning her first year at the IU Maurer School of Law. “I come from a family of four,” she says. “Money is tight for education. Since I was 14, I’ve been working each summer and saving money so I could go to school.”
Admittedly, Kelsie wasn’t in danger of going hungry when she received the Stiener scholarship. Instead, it gave her some wiggle room—time to expand her IU experience to include activities like the IUSF Steering Committee.
“She [Kelsie Ackman] reinforced my inspiration for giving. I hope I live for another 20 years
just so I get to see what impact she’ll have on society.”
There, she learned to lead. She took on opportunities like organizing a Zumba-thon (like a dance-a-thon, but with Latin-style aerobics) for the Bloomington Boys and Girls Club. “I wanted something different and unique in my IU experience, and IUSF gave me that,” she says.
Richard says that in addition to helping students, he was inspired to give for other reasons. Richard’s brother Bob passed away in 1995. The loss was made even more devastating when Richard’s first wife, Nan, died two years later. Bob was a teacher who, Richard says, “always looked out for his little brother.” Nan, his high school sweetheart from a rival high school, attended IU with him.
As part of his grieving, Richard made road trips back to IU, once on his motorcycle, once in Nan’s car. The trips recalled the journeys he shared as a student with Nan. At IU, he saw young people starting out on their own lives. And he felt inspired. “That’s when I started thinking about the university again,” he says. “I hadn’t thought much about IU since I graduated.”
Technically speaking, Richard’s first gift is a bench outside of Bryan House, the IU president’s home. It is dedicated to Nan and young love. Today, Richard says, “I have been lucky to have two soul mates in my life,” referring to his second wife, Carolyn.
As Richard reconnected with IU, he found he wanted to do more to honor his brother’s career. And he wanted to help working students. “I know what that help meant to me,” notes Richard. “I had a lot of satisfaction when I went up to that podium and received my degree.”
Thanks to his scholarship, no doubt Kelsie and many other IU students will feel the same satisfaction.
For 60 years, the IU Student Foundation has helped working students succeed at IU. It does so thanks to donors and partners like Richard Stiener. To find out how you can partner with IUSF, contact Dana Cummings at firstname.lastname@example.org.