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Gala celebrates SAEC construction, chancellor’s legacy

Advancement Jun 29, 2022
Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giescecke
Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giescecke

KOKOMO, Ind. — When Erinn Adam first toured Indiana University Kokomo as a volleyball recruit in 2016, there was no gym on campus — but she was told there would be one before she graduated.

That promise came true, and Adam played in the new Student Activities and Events Center (SAEC) her senior year. Saturday (June 25) she shared the impact the building has had on campus, as part of the Cream and Crimson Evening fundraising gala.

“Playing that first home game here was such a surreal moment” she said. “The Center truly shows the growth and progression of our campus, and the commitment that every student, athlete, donor, faculty, and staff member has dedicated to creating a sense of community on campus.”

Adam graduated in May with a degree in sociology and is now a student in the Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling program, and part of the coaching staff.  She said all students benefit from the building, which is also used for events, classes, and a community gathering space.

“I want to thank everyone involved in making it possible,” she said. “Your gracious support has helped us establish a stronger culture in our IU Kokomo community. I can attest to the positive impact this center has had, not only on our athletic teams, but the community as a whole.”

The gala, an Italian-themed evening in the SAEC, commemorated the Believe. Build. Belong. campaign, to fund construction of the $8.4 million SAEC, the first new campus building in 20 years. The building opened for the fall 2020 semester.

The event also celebrated the legacy of Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke, including her leadership in opening the SAEC. Friends, family, and colleagues congratulated her on her 45-year career at IU Kokomo, as she transitions into a new role as IU vice president for regional campuses and online education.

Sciame-Giesecke thanked those who attended, adding that she’s worked with amazing people, on campus and in the community.

“I can tell you tonight that you have made me feel so loved,” she said.  “I am so blessed. I have loved coming to work every day at IU Kokomo.”

She shared other words that came to mind as well, such as “Kokomojo,” or the thriving spirit that has led to so much growth, “lead from where you are,” her motto to take charge and make a difference, and a quote from her favorite poet, Maya Angelou, who said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

The evening culminated in a presentation by Kokomo Mayor Tyler Moore of a key to the city. Moore commended Sciame-Giecke for her career, noting that “her heart has been for this campus, and the students that come here.”

In particular, he praised her leadership in convening economic leaders in six counties to form the North Central Indiana Regional Planning Council, which was awarded a $30 million Indiana Economic Development Corporation Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative grant.

Located southeast of Hunt Hall, on the eastern edge of campus, the 26,000 square foot building accommodates up to 1,200 spectators, and offers athletic offices, athletic training, locker facilities, a large lobby and reception area, and a three-story-high assembly space and gym.

For more information, or to contribute, go to

Platinum contributors were Encompass Credit Union, Community First Bank, McGavic Outdoor Power, and the Hingst Family.

Diamond contributors included Financial Center Credit Union, Hearn Construction Inc., Susan Sciame-Giescke and Dan Giesecke, Dr. Herbert Miller, The Wyman Group, Kathleen Ligocki and Pete Rosenau, Community Howard Regional Health, Judge and Mrs. William C. Menges Jr., and the Thrush-Thompson Foundation.

Benefactor contributors were Smith Financial, Senator Jim and Judy Buck, Bruno’s Pizza, and Judy and Mike Golitko.

Education is KEY at Indiana University Kokomo.

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