For Drew Heckman, the inspiration to get involved in his school and in the Indianapolis community did not come from the $2,500 award he received in 2008.
It came from the guy who won the same award a couple of years before him.
Heckman, BS’08, remembers the J.Dwight Peterson Key Award luncheon where he heard Dare Olonoh speak. Olonoh was the 2006 recipient of the Peterson award, which is given to graduating seniors at the Kelley School of Business–Indianapolis.
In his remarks, Olonoh spoke of a group he founded called United Students. “The purpose,” Heckman recalls, “was to bring together students for philanthropic and volunteer initiatives, to thread a common layer among groups and bring everyone together.”
This got him thinking … and acting. “It resonated with me. So I got more involved in my campus.” Heckman admits he spent his first two years at IUPUI mainly going to classes. But after that memorable luncheon, he sought out opportunities to volunteer, to fundraise, and to take on leadership roles in student organizations and school advisory boards.
Lucas Wolf, BS’11, says his first few years at Kelley were similar to Heckman’s. Coming from Biblis, Germany, he focused on acclimating to the new culture and spent most of his time attending classes.
But he came to know other recipients of the Peterson Key Award through such organizations as Delta Sigma Pi, a business fraternity committed to professional development. Wolf began connecting with his campus community through student government and professional development groups like the marketing club.
But his most rewarding experience came when he was asked to speak at graduation. “I touched on the idea that we should remain idealistic after we graduate,” he says. “It sounds a little cheesy, but I thought we should still keep our dreams alive.”
As for his postgraduate life, Wolf, who currently works for the email marketing provider ExactTarget, thinks he might return to school and earn additional degrees. In the long run, he says, “I want to have a meaningful career. In an ideal world, I would still be able to do this in a business setting or by applying the skills I acquired in business school.”
Heckman has similar aspirations. “I want to be a social entrepreneur,” notes Heckman, who is currently working for Hitachi Consulting. “I want to be part of an organization—or start one—that impacts the world in a positive way.”
The Peterson Key Award is a way to reward students who are active members of the IUPUI Kelley School community. Established by John D. Peterson Jr., the award honors his father, who embodied the qualities the award seeks to encourage. John noted that his father, who cofounded City Securities Corporation in 1924, met some of the recipients when the award first began.
“The young people he met at the Kelley School impressed him,” recalls John. “So much so, he was always sorry they were accounting majors because he didn’t need one.”
Awards, like scholarships, can help shape the future by encouraging certain qualities in young minds. Whether you contribute to an existing fund or endow your own, your gift to an IU scholarship or award fund can help mold the kind of young people you’d like to meet someday.