BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Efforts to foster greater student diversity at the Kelley School of Business and support public performances during the Jacobs School of Music’s centennial year received crucial financial support through grants to Indiana University from the Conrad Prebys Foundation.
The $1.7 million in grants to IU are among the inaugural awards from the Conrad Prebys Foundation, an organization continuing the philanthropic legacy of Conrad Prebys. A native of South Bend, Indiana, Prebys earned a bachelor’s degree from the Kelley School in 1955 and went on to become a highly successful real estate developer and philanthropist in southern California.
IU President Michael A. McRobbie said the grants are consistent with Prebys’ love for his alma mater and for the arts, while also continuing a legacy of philanthropy that inspired others to follow his example.
“Indiana University has benefited enormously from the generosity of the renowned philanthropist, businessman and IU alumnus Conrad Prebys, and we are deeply honored to be among the inaugural recipients of these awards from the Conrad Prebys Foundation,” McRobbie said.
“Conrad’s extraordinary and enduring legacy has transformed the lives of so many of our students, and it will now provide additional opportunities for underrepresented students seeking to be part of the next generation of business leaders,” McRobbie added. “Additionally, it will add to a broad range of performance opportunities at IU that is already unparalleled in college music study and that offers real-world experience to students preparing to launch their artistic careers and showcase their talents on the world’s biggest stages.”
The Kelley School will receive $1 million to increase the size of its Prebys Scholars Program, which was established through a $20 million gift he made in 2015. Students chosen as Prebys Scholars traditionally are underrepresented in the field of business. They receive funding toward standard tuition and fees, as well as other support in the form of an advisor and a Kelley student mentor.
“This additional support from the Conrad Prebys Foundation is critical in helping us create a more diverse student body and shows just how much faith the foundation has in Kelley’s programs and educational mission,” said Idalene “Idie” Kesner, dean of the Kelley School and the Frank P. Popoff Chair of Strategic Management. “A diverse student body enhances the overall learning environment, teaching all students how to value and appreciate others’ experiences and insights.
“Given the challenging economic environment created by the pandemic, this funding may make the difference between students being able to continue their educational pursuits and those who have to delay them because of economic hardships. We hope these scholarships will be an ‘educational lifeline’ for many of these students.”
Another $700,000 will be used to underwrite the performance season during the 2021-22 academic year, the Jacobs School of Music’s centennial year. The season will be known as the Conrad T. Prebys Centennial Performance Season and will include festivities celebrating the countless artists who have touched the internationally renowned school over the past 100 years.
The Conrad Prebys Foundation grant will support the production of six operas, three ballets, the Singing Hoosiers in concert and the popular annual Jazz Celebration. It also will support something new, “Jacobs Live at the Movies,” which will feature one of the Jacobs School’s outstanding orchestras performing live accompaniment to a Hollywood film.
“The significance of this grant, coming at this moment in our history, is simply enormous,” said Jeremy Allen, the interim David Henry Jacobs Bicentennial Dean and associate professor of music in jazz studies at the Jacobs School. “Our aspirations of hosting a stellar centennial performance season are solidified, and our spirits are buoyed, by the Conrad Prebys Foundation’s transformative investment.
“We work to fortify education and performance opportunities of the highest caliber, and these efforts are made possible through a strong partnership with the private sector. In developing and building upon these relationships, we are honored to have known and had a relationship with Conrad Prebys, and to be closely connected to his incredible legacy of philanthropy and support of the arts.”
More information about the performance season will be made available later this spring. This is the largest external grant ever received by the Jacobs School of Music.
Through Prebys’ earlier personal gift, the Kelley School has been able to attract and retain top faculty through an endowment, and thousands of students receive vital career development and placement needs at the $14 million Prebys Career Services Center dedicated in 2018. Members of the first two classes of Prebys Scholars already are tasting success, including Zachary Harper, who is the first IU student chosen by the Institute for Responsible Citizenship to participate in its prestigious program for African American men.
Prebys’ gift also provided financial support for the Conrad Prebys Amphitheater, an outdoor venue that has hosted more than 153 events since being dedicated in 2017.
About Conrad Prebys
Conrad Prebys moved to California in 1966 with $500 in his pocket and a dream. Over the following decades, he built a real estate empire as one of the largest private owners of residential multi-family properties in San Diego County. During his later years, he became dedicated to the community through charities, donating more than $350 million to organizations devoted to health care, medical research, visual and performing arts, higher education, youth development, animal conservation, and more.
Before his death in 2016, he created The Conrad Prebys Foundation to perpetuate his commitment to philanthropic endeavors and ensure that his vision extended beyond his life.