Born into a family of eight children in Norwalk, Ohio, Ray Boose was the only child to attend college. His father was a disabled farmer during the Depression era, so money wasn't easy to come by. Thanks to the GI Bill (World War II) and years of working while going to school full-time, Boose was able to make ends meet and earn his degree in aeronautical engineering in 1948 from Tri-State College (now Tri-State University in Angola, Ind.).
After several years of working in his chosen field and ready for a change, he began working for Ohio National Life Insurance Company of Cincinnati. Little did he know, this is where he would work for the next 50 years of his life. To this day, at the age of 78, Boose keeps current as an active insurance agent, although only a part-time basis since 1989.
The idea for such a scholarship came back in 1996, when a high school counselor called Indiana State's insurance and risk management program. The counselor asked if there were any available scholarships for one of her talented students who had participated in ISU's Summer Honors Program in insurance. Unfortunately, all scholarship deadlines had passed and none were available, but, after seeing the credentials of the student and how important it was for her to have support in going to college, Boose contributed the seed money to get her education started.
"I knew firsthand the value of scholarships and support in getting an education and how important an education is to one's own survival," he said. "I couldn't dare pass up the opportunity to help this student succeed."
That student was Mary Todd, who today works as a successful customer service agent for ONB Insurance. To her, that scholarship and personal concern made all the difference in the world.
"It was not just the scholarship money that made an impact on me," Todd said. "Dr. (Mary Ann) Boose and her husband, Ray, always cared about me as a student and a person. They took an interest in my well-being and helped with many aspects of my career at Indiana State. They even helped me get a job at this agency while I was in school, which turned into a full-time position after graduation.
"It is people like them that truly make a difference in someone's life. We should all learn by their example, and take an interest in helping people." Just as Mary Todd was given the gift of financial support, so too has Indiana State University been given a gift - a chance to make the most of the opportunity afforded it by the Lilly Endowment. Lilly's most recent initiative - to strengthen philanthropy for Indiana higher education institutions - will more than double the impact of gifts made to Indiana State through Dec. 31, 2006.