University of Indianapolis honors retirees, career milestones

Celebration Dinner Photo

Nearly 650 years of experience and service were recognized last week when the University of Indianapolis hosted the 2017 Celebration Dinner, honoring faculty, staff and administrators who have reached career milestones or are retiring this year.

The honorees and their guests and admirers enjoyed a meal, conversation and award presentations Friday in UIndy Hall. Read more

Curtain call: Theatre professor retires after 45 years

Jim Ream, associate professor of theatre at the University of Indianapolis, never imagined he’d work at one place for 45 years, or that he would have become a theatre professor in the first place.

(Doctor of Humane Letters: Jim Ream) Commencement, May 6, 2017. (Photo by D. Todd Moore)

(Doctor of Humane Letters: Jim Ream) Commencement, May 6, 2017. (Photo by D. Todd Moore)

Before joining the University, Ream earned his master’s degree in religion and was considering the ministry or working for a church headquarters in their media department. He even thought about creating a traveling religious drama troupe. Teaching at a college seemed like an interesting idea to him, but he figured that it was “just a pipe dream.”

That changed in 1972 when he was asked by Dick Williams–the University’s sole theatre faculty member at the time– to stage-manage a show at what was then Indiana Central College (University of Indianapolis). When Williams went on sabbatical, Ream was asked to step in, launching the next four and a half decades of his career.

As a nod to the many positive ways Ream has influenced the people and campus, the University honored his service and commitment at this year’s Commencement ceremony by awarding him an honorary degree, allowing the entire campus community to celebrate his contributions.

“I am still stunned at receiving the honor of the degree,” he said of the surprise robing ceremony. “I have so many great colleagues, and I feel very self-conscious and honored to be recognized in this way. This is one of the few times in my life that I couldn’t have dreamed would ever happen. I am very thankful.”

It was a proud moment in the spotlight for a faculty member whose focus has been largely behind the scenes. A theatre generalist who specializes in scenic design, Ream has been active in other areas, including acting, directing and sound. He has taught scenic design classes as well as radio and television, public speaking, audio technology and introduction to theatre.

“From the beginning, I have designed scenery for our productions and attempted to teach our students how to do the same while balancing safety, functionality and artistry,” he said. Ream has quietly served the University in many ways during his tenure, and his influence is felt by many who have had the good fortune to work with him.

Jeffrey Barnes, director of University Events, has worked with Ream since 1994, first as a student and then as a colleague. “I use lessons and skills that I learned from him every day both in my professional and personal life. I have never met a more genuine person,” he said.

Christie Beckmann, also a former theatre student and colleague for more than 20 years, added: “Jim taught me to always see the good in people, and that you never lose anything by giving,” she said. “He was one of the people who inspired me in my current vocation of becoming a pastor.”

In addition to working with University of Indianapolis theatre, Ream has worked with numerous Indianapolis theatres to design sets including the City Center Children’s Theatre, Beckmann Theatre, Civic Theatre (Indianapolis), Edyvean Repertory Theatre and the Phoenix Theatre. His set designs earned three Corbin Patrick Award nominations and the Best Set Design award for the Phoenix Theatre’s production of Fences. Ream has also designed sets around the country, including One Voice at Ten Ten Theatre in New York, Noises Off in Brainerd, Minn., and Young Black Beauty at Stage One in Louisville.

“While I have enjoyed my many roles on stage, the applause during a curtain call and the accolades from friends and family afterward, I truly appreciate the behind-the-scenes work as a designer,” said Ream. “In fact, on the two rare occasions when my scenic designs received applause as the curtain and lights came up, I was torn between feelings a pride and embarrassment. A good design should support the production and not call attention to itself. This represents the person that I strive to be.”

Ream also lives his commitment to education for service in his personal life serving as a leader for the past 25 years at the summer camp hosted by his church Southport Christian Church. He volunteers with the United Way and even creates the design of the commencement stage at the University each year.

As Ream looks forward to retirement, he knows he will miss UIndy students and his colleagues.

“We had an incredible group of freshmen this year, which made it a really enjoyable year. I view my work at UIndy as a service and always have. I attempt to serve our students with good teaching,” Ream said.

Fast facts

Ream’s first play he performed in: King Lear in 1968 at Culver Stockton College. Four decades later, Ream performed as King Lear at UIndy’s production in 2015.

First show he designed: You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown

Hardest show to design: Hello, Dolly! “The expectation of spectacle is high.”

One play everyone should see: Les Liasions Dangereuses. “It’s one of those plays that hooked me. I love plays that get you laughing and then slap you in the face.”

Favorite UIndy memory: Doing Godspell with the students and taking it on a tour across the country in the mid 1970s. “We went all over the state, and we also went to the west coast for a spring term trip and performed in many churches.”

Favorite theatre: The Stratford theatres in Canada and England and also the theatre at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis.

Retirement plans: Visit New Zealand. “I’m also looking forward to spending time being a grandparent.”

Random UIndy story: In the early days of WICR (the campus radio station), the station’s antenna was on the roof of Ransburg Auditorium. A winter storm hit and coated the antenna with ice, not allowing the 10-watt signal to be broadcast. Ream climbed up to the roof of Ransburg, then climbed up the 50-foot tower, carrying a hammer and wearing a hard hat and goggles in order to knock the ice off.


UIndy professor’s artwork welcomes race fans to Indianapolis

As downtown Indianapolis welcomes thousands of race fans leading up to the Indianapolis 500, the talent of Katherine Fries, art faculty at the University of Indianapolis, will be showcased on the Indianapolis ArtsGarden.

"Welcome Race Fans" by Katherine Fries, University of Indianapolis assistant professor of art and design

“Welcome Race Fans” by Katherine Fries

Fries, assistant professor of art and design at the University, is one of five local artists commissioned to create signs welcoming fans to Indianapolis at locations across the city. The project connects Indianapolis’ thriving arts culture with the historic Indianapolis 500 and celebrates the history, culture and excitement of the month of May.
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University of Indianapolis Commencement honors Class of 2017, local connections

Nearly 1,500 graduates received degrees from the University of Indianapolis during the May 2017 Commencement ceremony, which also served to showcase the impact of the institution’s students, alumni and faculty across the state and world.

University President Robert Manuel highlighted how the local and global community benefits from the University’s service-learning initiatives and praised graduates for their commitment to those programs. maycommencement
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Meet the UIndy Class of 2017!

We couldn’t fit all of our fabulous May 2017 graduates in this slide show, but here’s a look at some of this spring’s graduating class.

  • Carly Nicholson
    Carly Nicholson, Earth-space science. Nicholson will pursue her master's in public affairs and environmental science at IU Bloomington. "I had a professor, Dr. Brad Neal in chemistry, who told me if you’re not learning something new about yourself every single day, you’re not doing college right. I took that to heart. Now I’m confident in who I am. I’m passionately unafraid to say that.”

“Doc” Borden to receive UIndy honorary degree

Longtime faculty and staff will see a familiar face among this year’s honorary degree recipients at the University of Indianapolis.

Dr. Kenneth Borden at the Athletic Hall of Fame induction banquet in February 2017. (Photo by D. Todd Moore)

Dr. Kenneth Borden at the Athletic Hall of Fame induction banquet in February 2017. (Photo by D. Todd Moore)

Dr. Kenneth “Doc” Borden will receive an honorary degree, along with Dr. Katherine Welch ’93 and Marc Adams ’81. Borden joined the faculty in 1968 and was instrumental in the growth and expansion of the University over the next 30 years. 
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Master craftsman Marc Adams to receive UIndy honorary degree

Marc Adams ’81, a master craftsman who founded the Marc Adams School of Woodworking, is one of three alumni chosen to receive an honorary degree during May Commencement at the University of Indianapolis. Dr. Katherine Welch and Kenneth “Doc” Borden are also being honored. 

Marc Adams

Marc Adams

Adams is recognized worldwide as one of the leading voices in woodworking, and the Marc Adams School of Woodworking in Whiteland, Ind., is one of the top training grounds in North America.
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Chemistry professor finishes marathons in all 50 states

Don’t be surprised if you run into chemistry professor Kathy Stickney on campus—literally.

Dr. Kathy Stickney (Chemistry Department) has successfully completed marathons in all 50 states. She's received various medals from the runs which she gathered for this environmental portrait on January 11, 2017. (Photo by D. Todd Moore, University of Indianapolis)

After finishing the LOCO marathon in Newmarket, N.H., last year, Stickney became a member of an elite group of runners – fewer than 1,300 – who each have completed a 26.2-mile marathon run in each of the 50 states.

Stickney hasn’t always been a marathoner. Her journey began in 2010, when she signed up for a training class and completed her first half-marathon in Indianapolis. She found much of her inspiration from former UIndy cross country coach Tom Hathaway ’54. Hathaway was an iconic figure in the central Indiana running community. He was a UIndy student-athlete who went on to become a marathoner, a mentor to many running enthusiasts and a championship cross-country coach at the high school and college levels.
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Student Commencement speakers focus on finding life passion

The University of Indianapolis has chosen Tanner Alexander and Brandi Heil as the student speakers for the May 6, 2017, commencement ceremony. 

Brandi Heil (left) and Tanner Alexander

Brandi Heil (left) and Tanner Alexander

Alexander, the undergraduate student speaker, is from Seymour, Indiana, and will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in communications. Alexander has been involved with UIndy TV, student government and the UIndy Film Club, as well as acting as an ambassador for admissions.

Heil, the graduate student speaker, is from Bloomfield, Indiana. She will graduate with a master’s degree in mental health counseling with a concentration in child and adolescent therapy from the College of Applied Behavioral Sciences.
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