A $5 million endowment from civic leader and philanthropist Yvonne Shaheen will fuel innovation in the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Indianapolis.
UIndy President Robert Manuel announced the extraordinary gift during Saturday’s commencement ceremony at Key Stadium.
“Yvonne Shaheen is a true pillar of this city and state, providing her personal energy, financial support and wise counsel to many efforts that enrich our community, and the university is grateful to be included among her priorities,” Manuel said. “Thanks to Yvonne, at a time when some question the value of liberal arts education, we can make an unparalleled investment in people and programs that prepare graduates not merely for a job but for continuing growth and fulfillment in their lives as working professionals and engaged citizens.”
Shaheen is vice chair of the university’s board of trustees, which she joined in 1992. In recognition of her generosity and ongoing leadership and advocacy, the college will be named in honor of her and her late husband, Riad Shaheen.
The funding will support a broad range of programs and activities, including scholarships, faculty development, interdisciplinary initiatives and opportunities for faculty and students to collaborate on research.
Jennifer Drake, dean of the college, noted that education in the fine and performing arts, the humanities, the sciences and the social sciences nurtures the creativity, critical thinking, communication skills and world view that employers seek and that are vital to success in any endeavor.
Shaheen, a teacher by training, served 18 years as CEO and president of Long Electric Co., assuming the post upon her husband’s death and turning the family business into one of the state’s largest electrical contractors. Since retiring, she has distinguished herself as a community volunteer dedicated to advancing the arts, culture, education and other vital causes in central Indiana.