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Ball State University is a state-run research university located in Muncie, Indianamarker, U.S.marker Located on the northwest side of the city, Ball State's campus spans more than 1,000 acres (4 km²). The student body consists of more than 20,000 students, of which over 18,000 are undergraduate students and over 1,500 are graduate students.

Originally a normal school, Ball State has grown and expanded over the years. Ball State is classified by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education as a Doctoral/Research University (DRU).


Ball State University was not the first school to operate at its location. Previous educational institutions operated at the intersection of University and McKinley Avenues before 1918. However, they were neither public nor did they carry the "Ball" name.

The pre-Ball years

The area of Muncie, Indiana that is now known as Ball State University had its start in 1899 as a private school called the Eastern Indiana Normal School to educate teachers. The entire school, including classrooms, library and the president's residence were housed in what is now known as the Ball State Administration building.

The one-building school had a peak enrollment of 256 and charged $10 for a year's tuition. It operated until the spring of 1901, when it was closed down by its president, F.A.Z. Kumler, due to lack of funding. A year later, in the autumn of 1902, the school re-opened as Palmer University for the next three years after Francis Palmer, a retired Indiana banker gave the school a $100,000 endowment.

Between 1905 and 1907, the school dropped the Palmer name and operated as the Indiana Normal College. It had two divisions, the Normal School for educating teachers and a College of Applied Sciences. The school had an average enrollment of about 200 students. Because of a diminishing enrollment and lack of funds, school president Francis Ingler closed Indiana Normal College at the end of the 1906–07 school year.

Between 1907 and 1912 the campus sat vacant. In 1912, a group of local investors led by Michael Kelly reopened the school as the Indiana Normal Institute. To pay for updated materials and refurbishing the once-abandoned Administration Building, the school operated under a mortgage from the Muncie Trust Company. Although the school had its largest student body with a peak enrollment of 806, officials could not keep up with mortgage payments, and the school was forced to shut down once again in June 1917 after the Muncie Trust Company initiated foreclosure proceedings.

Ball Brothers intervene

On July 25, 1917, local industrialists the Ball Brothers, founders of the Ball Corp., bought the Indiana Normal Institute out of foreclosure. For $35,100, the Balls bought the Administration Building and surrounding land bordered by University Avenue, McKinley Avenue, Riverside Avenue and Tillotson Avenue, except for the northwest quadrant which was kept as a wildlife preserve (Christy Woods).

In early 1918, during the Indiana General Assembly's "short session", state legislators accepted the gift of the school and the land by the Ball Brothers. The state granted operating control of the Muncie Campus and school building to the administrators of the Indiana State Normal Schoolmarker in Terre Hautemarker. That same year, the Marionmarker Normal Institute relocated to Muncie, adding its resources to what would officially be named the Indiana State Normal School, Eastern Division. Incidentally, the former Marion Normal Institute's campus was purchased in 1919 by what would become Indiana Wesleyan University, currently the largest private university in Indiana.

The close relationship between the Balls and the school led to an unofficial moniker for the college as many students, faculty and local politicians casually referred to the school as "Ball State" as a shorthand alternative to its longer, official name. During the 1922 short session of the Indiana legislature, the state renamed the school as the Ball Teachers College. This was in recognition to the Ball family's continuing beneficence to the institution. During this act, the state also reorganized its relationship with Terre Haute, and established a separate local board of trustees for the Muncie campus.

In 1924, Ball Teachers College's trustees hired Benjamin J. Burris as the first president of the state-funded college. The Ball brothers continued giving to the university and partially funded the construction of the Science Hall (now called the Burkhardt Building) in 1924, and an addition to Ball Gymnasium in 1925. By the 1925–26 school year, Ball State enrollment reached 991 students: 697 women and 294 men. Based on the school's close relationship with the Ball Corporation, a long-running nickname for the school was "Fruit Jar Tech."

Ball State Teachers College

During the regular legislative session of 1929, the Indiana General Assembly formally separated the Terre Haute and Muncie campuses of the state teachers college system, but placed the governing of the Ball State campus under the Indiana State Teachers College Board of Trustees, based in Terre Haute. During this action, the school was renamed Ball State Teachers College. The following year enrollment increased to 1,118 with 747 female and 371 male students.

In 1935, the school added the Arts Building for art, music and dance instruction (now used by the Ball State University Museum of Artmarker and the Department of Geological Sciences). Enrollment that year reached 1,151 with 723 women and 428 men.

As an expression of the many gifts the Ball family gave the university since 1917, sculptor Daniel Chester French was commissioned by the Muncie chamber of commerce to cast a bronze fountain figure to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Ball brothers' gift to the state. His creation, the statue Beneficencemarker, still stands today between the Administration Building and Lucina Hall where Talley Avenue ends at University Avenue.

In 1961, Ball State became fully independent of Indiana State University via the creation of the Ball State College Board of Trustees, so that Ball State was no longer governed remotely by the Indiana State College Board of Trustees. Also in 1961, the name of Ball State was changed to Ball State College.

Ball State University

David Letterman Communications and Media Building

In 1965, in recognition of its enrollment growth (10,066 students) and for transforming into more than a school to educate public school teachers, the Indiana General Assembly renamed the school Ball State University.

Ball State has seen a trend of near-constant growth since its creation and current enrollment is the highest in the school's history. Bachelor's degrees are available in eight different areas which contain over one hundred and fifty individual programs – a sharp increase from the five degree programs initially offered by the University. Ball State's academic future is considered by many to be bright as the University continues a course of upgrading programs and adding new ones where applicable.

Campus life

Ball State's campus life revolves around two main quadrangles. The original historic quadrangle is at the south end of campus near where the Student Center is located. The newer quadrangle, is located to the north and consists of a variety of modern buildings that include Bracken Library and Pruis Hall, which is the cultural venue for recitals, ensembles, and films.

Despite the two quadrangles, the most heavily-utilized buildings on campus are situated along McKinley Avenue (which runs north-south) and Riverside Avenue (which runs east-west). The intersection of the two streets is nicknamed the "scramble light" after its pedestrian scramble feature. The pedestrian phase stops all traffic allowing pedestrians to cross in all directions, thus causing everyone to "scramble."

Campus architecture is primarily dominated by the use of brick buildings, the lone exception being Pruis Hall which is composed almost entirely of Indiana limestone. None of the academic buildings on the campus of Ball State have identical facades, which is unusual for a large university.A 2005 survey conducted by Intel Corporationmarker rates Ball State as the number one wireless campus in the nation. Ball State's academic and administrative buildings, residence halls, and green spaces have wireless access fed by 625 Wi-Fi access points.

Announced by President Jo Ann M. Gora, alongside Indiana Senator Richard Lugar at the Spring 2009 Commencement ceremony, Ball State announced plans for the nation's largest geothermal energy project. Over the next decade a series of 4,000 boreholes will be placed around the campus to allow the campus's 40 buildings to be heated and cooled via the use of heated and cooled waters. The project will likely cost somewhere between $65 and $75 million dollars.

Shafer Tower

Shafer Tower
Despite being dedicated fairly recently in 2002, Shafer Towermarker has become an unofficial landmark of Ball State University. It is a free-standing bell tower, or campanile, that is equipped with a carillon. It is located in the median of McKinley Avenue.

A small staircase in the tower leads to a control room of the carillon, which has 48 custom-made bells. From here a musician can play the instrument on special occasions or for concerts. But usually, the bells are programmed by computer to automatically chime every 15 minutes between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.

Due to a construction defect in the type of mortar used to hold the bricks, about two-thirds of the brick on the tower (not the whole tower as incorrectly reported in the campus newspaper), had to be removed and reinstalled. The architect of record was Edmund Hafer Associates of Evansville, Indianamarker.

Emens Auditorium

A cultural center for the University and greater Muncie community, the Auditorium hosts many different events varying from music concerts to Broadway musicals to guest lecturers every year. Built in 1964 with a capacity of 3,575, the Auditorium is named for former Ball State President John R. Emens.

Bracken Library

Possibly the top destination for Ball State students is Bracken Library. This facility has the floor area of nearly seven American football fields and houses five floors of university offices, classrooms, computer labs, private study suites, video viewing suites, and thousands of books, videos, and audio devices available to students. Bracken Library hosts the Ball State University Digital Media Repository, an open access resource containing over 130,000 digital objects in 64 collections. Gatecount entries total more than 4,200 students visiting Bracken Library daily. Built in 1975, Bracken's most recent remodel finished in 1997.

The Bookmark Cafe at Bracken Library is a popular cafe and lounge area on the first floor opened in January 2007.

L.A. Pittenger Student Center

Completed in 1952, the Student Center houses the University's hotel, meeting rooms, a food court, and various forms of recreation for students, including a bowling alley. It is also home to other services, such as student programming and the university's very own BSU Barber.

In September 2006, the university rejected a proposal to build a new student center. The building is currently being remodeled and expanded .

Student Housing

The University currently operates twelve residence complexes that house nearly 7,000 students and a ninth $43.5 million residence hall, tentatively named North Residence Hall, is currently under construction. Ball State's freshman residence hall program is listed as one of the best in the nation by the Unofficial, Unbiased Insider's Guide to the Most Interesting Colleges.

By far the largest housing complex is LaFollette Complex, which houses over 1,900 students. This co-ed facility, completed in 1967, has four L-shaped, eight-story units, and a ten story tower in the center that houses mainly older and international students. Johnson Complex, on the north end of campus, is a modern complex consisting of one eight-story building and two four-story buildings. The complex is the only one on campus to feature Z-shaped rooms and houses all Honors College students.

In addition, Ball State has one all women's residence hall that houses approximately 600 students. The Woodworth Complex comprises four halls that also house sorority suites. In the fall of 2007, a two-story dining facility and atrium attached to the complex re-opened after two years of renovations.

Of the current residence halls in operation, only one, Elliott Hall, has been in operation for nearly the entire history of the University. Constructed from 1937 to 1939, Elliott was formerly an all-male dormitory and, during World War II, housed cadets and recruits from joint programs operated with the Army and Air Force.

In the fall of 2007, DeHority Hall was closed for extensive renovations. Sometime after 2010, residence halls that would be too expensive to remodel and update, including the LaFollette complex, will be demolished.

University Residence Halls
Park Hall, Opened Fall 2007
  • DeHority Complex (Honors Halls)
  • Elliott Hall
  • Johnson Complex
    • Johnson A (Botsford and Swinford Halls)
    • Johnson B (Schmidt and Wilson Halls)
  • LaFollette Complex
  • Kinghorn Hall (Currently Under Construction; to be completed by 2010)
  • Noyer Complex
  • Park Hall
  • Studebaker Complex
    • Studebaker West
    • Studebaker East
  • Woodworth Complex
  • Wagoner Complex (Houses Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Humanities Students)

In addition to the residence halls, two apartment complexes operated by the University provide affordable homes for single students and students with families. Apartments are available in one- and two-bedroom styles, and townhouses are available in two- and three-bedroom styles. The apartments are located close to campus, shopping, restaurants, entertainment, and schools.

The elevators in three of Ball State's taller residence halls – Lafollette, Johnson, and Studebaker East – are unusual in that they were extremely early co-ed halls. As such, their elevators serve only two floors: The first floor lobby, and the sixth floor lobby, which duplicates the first floor almost exactly. This served to separate the male and female portions of the dormitory, as the stairs would pass by lobby doors.

University Village

The commercial district immediately adjacent to campus, known as University Village, plays an integral part of campus life for students who both live on- and off-campus. Known informally as simply The Village, the district is home to a set of shops and restaurants located immediately east of campus. Although most of the buildings have been rebuilt over the years, the Village has existed in its present location since the early 1920s. Current Village businesses include Village Green Records, The MT Cup, Motini's, Doc's on Dill, The White Rabbit, Art Mart, The Locker Room, The Warehouse, Wizard's Keep, Scotty's Brewhouse, Subway, The Pita Pit, Jimmy John's Gourmet Subs, Greek's Pizzeria, The Chug, Dill Street Bar & Grill, and the newly opened (July 2008) Creole Kid which offers cajun style cuisine.During the heated 2008 Presidential primary season, President Barack Obama opened a campaign office in University Square.

Most evenings, Mark Carter, more commonly known as "the hot dog man", comes out to sell his "nearly world famous" hot dogs to patrons of the numerous bars in the village area adjacent to the BSU campus. Carter was named number fifty-one on Sports Illustrated's "The 100 Things You Gotta Do Before You Graduate" list, published in 2003. Humorously enough, Carter's first name is erroneously listed as James in the accompanying article. For a time, Carter operated a storefront location on Martin Street in the Village, but returned to his original method of selling from a cart at the intersection of Dill Street and University Avenue several years ago. Carter's most popular item is the chili cheese dog, although he also offers bratwurst as well as Italian and polish sausages.

Other campus features

The Cow Path, a north-south pedestrian pathway, extends along part of the western border of the campus from the Johnson residence halls to Riverside Avenue, passing behind the McKinley Avenue buildings. At one time it also linked the intersection of Neely and McKinley Avenues, cutting a trail across a grassy field on which the Bell Building now stands.

The newest building on campus is the David Letterman Communication and Media Building, named for Ball State's most famous alumnus. It was dedicated during a ceremony on September 7, 2007, with Letterman as the guest of honor.

The tallest structure on campus is Shafer Tower. The tallest habitable building, however, is the Teachers' College, which, at 138 feet (42 m), is also the tallest in Muncie.

Two streets located in close proximity to campus, named Ball and Dicks, have their street signs stolen at least once a year. Just off Campus, High Street has often come up missing as well.



Administration Building
Though previously a bastion in the field of teaching, the university has been recognized in many fields, including Architecture, Telecommunications & Journalism, Business, and Nursing. Highlights:
  • The university's entepreneurship program has been ranked in the top five of all colleges for its undergraduate entrepreneurship program for the last three years in a row, according to the U.S. News & World Report magazine.
  • According to the 2006 edition of the same magazine, Ball State has one of the best undergraduate business programs in the nation.
  • In 2004 "This Business of Broadcasting" named Ball State as one of the nation's top broadcasting programs in the country.
  • The 2005 edition of Almanac of Architecture and Design named Ball State one of the top ten colleges in landscape architecture.
  • The BSU School of Music is widely known for its quality at both the undergraduate and graduate levels; the school's Music Technology program houses one of the most elite facilities in the United States. In addition, the music education division has long been recognized as one of the best music teacher training programs in the Midwest.
  • Ball State is the administrator to Burris Laboratory School. The school, which opened in 1929, is one of few schools in the nation to be created and maintained by a university for the purpose of giving teachers hands-on experience in the classroom directly.
  • The University is also the administrator for the Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Humanities. The Academy is one of the oldest schools for gifted/talented high school juniors and seniors in the nation and provides University faculty an additional resource in research and hands-on experience.
  • The Ball State Department of Chemistry held the record for largest undergraduate summer research program in 2004 and 2005.
  • In 2006, ranked Ball State's Urban Planning & Development program the seventeenth best in the country. It was also ranked in the following areas: number seven in historic preservation, number seven in land-use planning, number six in technology, number five in zoning administration, and number three in the midwest.
  • In 2004, Ball State's master's program in Student Affairs Administration in Higher Education (SAAHE) ranked 14th among 186 programs in a national study presented to the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA).

Colleges and schools

North Quadrangle
Ball State University is academically organized into seven degree-granting colleges:
  • College of Applied Sciences and Technology
    • containing the School of Physical Education, Sport, and Exercise Science
    • containing the Departments of: Family and Consumer Sciences • Industry and Technology • Military Science • Nursing • Wellness and Gerontology
  • College of Architecture and Planning, offering the only public-university accredited degrees in architecture, and urban planning within Indiana
    • containing the Departments of: Architecture • Landscape Architecture • Urban Planning
  • Miller College of Business
    • containing the Departments of: Accounting • Economics • Finance and Insurance • Information Systems and Operations Management • Marketing and Management
  • College of Communication, Information, and Media
    • containing the Departments of: Communication Studies • Journalism • Telecommunications, and the Center for Information and Communication Sciences
  • College of Fine Arts
  • College of Sciences and Humanities
    • containing the Departments of: Anthropology • Biology • Chemistry • Computer Science • Criminal Justice and Criminology • English • Geography • Geological Sciences • History • Mathematical Sciences • Modern Languages and Classics • Natural Resources and Environmental Management • Philosophy and Religious Studies • Physics and Astronomy • Physiology and Health Science • Political Science • Psychological Science • Social Work • Sociology • Speech Pathology and Audiology
  • Teachers College
    • containing the Departments of: Counseling Psychology and Guidance Services • Educational Leadership • Educational Psychology • Educational Studies • Elementary Education • Special Education

Ball State University also has two non-degree-granting colleges:
  • Honors College for the coordination of more rigorous classes for the gifted student
  • University College for the coordination of advising and other services


Ball State University as a whole has been accredited by The Higher Learning Commissionof the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools continuously since 1925. ABET has continuously accredited Ball State University's following bachelors degree since the date listed: Manufacturing Engineering Technology 1994.


Ball State competes in the following NCAA sports
Men's sports Women's sports
Sport Division Sport Division
Basketball I MAC Basketball I MAC
Golf I MAC Golf I MAC
Swimming I MAC Swimming I MAC
Tennis I MAC Tennis I MAC
Volleyball I MIVA Volleyball I MAC
Baseball I MAC Softball I MAC
Football I MAC Soccer I MAC
Field hockey I MAC
| Gymnastics || I || MAC
Indoor Track & Field I MAC
Outdoor Track & Field I MAC
Cross country I MAC

Ball State competes in the NCAA Division I / IA and is part of the Mid-American Conference (MAC) in all sports except for men's volleyball, where it competes in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA).

Ball State athletics also has Cheerleading, a non-NCAA sport.

Charlie Cardinal is Ball State's anthropomorphized cardinal mascot. He is sometimes called simply "Charlie."

The Code Red Dance team performs at many BSU sporting events.

The University's two main sporting facilities are Scheumann Stadiummarker and John E.marker Worthen Arenamarker. Ball Gymnasium and Irving Gymnasiummarker are sporting complexes open to Ball State students. Irving is currently closed under re-construction in order to expand the facilities. Lewellen Pool is the campus aquatic center.

Notable alumni

Many Ball State graduates have gained regional, national and international attention, including U.S. ambassador to Lebanonmarker, Jeffrey D. Feltman. Ball State graduates have particularly left their mark in the fields of American professional sports and popular entertainment. Perhaps the most recognizable alumnus of Ball State is American television host, David Letterman, of Late Show with David Letterman on CBS. He is joined by fellow television performers, Joyce DeWitt, who played Janet Wood in the 1970s sitcom Three's Company, and Anthony Montgomery, who played Travis Mayweather on Star Trek: Enterprise on UPN. Andy Devine, character actor and comic cowboy side kick Oct 7 1905 - Feb 18 1977 played football at the university. South Korean comedic actress Kim Suna (김선아) attended for several years before leaving Ball State for school in Japan.

Many alumni from the Miller College of Business have gone on to successful business careers like Kent C. Nelson, Retired President and CEO, United Parcel Servicemarker and John Schnatter, Founder and Chairman of Papa John's Pizza restaurants.

In the field of comics, artist Jim Davis, the cartoonist creator of Garfield also is a graduate of Ball State. Sam Smith, a retired sportswriter for the Chicago Tribune, is a graduate of Ball State. Doug Jones, former Charlie Cardinal, is an actor of over 25 films (Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Hellboy, Pan's Labyrinth, Men in Black II, Batman Returns), television series, and commercials (including the McDonald's "Mac Tonight" campaign) and music videos.

Sportswriter Jason Whitlock currently writes for The Kansas City Starmarker and Fox Sports with previous stints at ESPN and AOL Sports and Mike Lopresti is a national sportswriter for the Gannett News Service. Brian Collins, now a report for KXXV in Waco Texas, is best known for the viral video showing him fumbling through a Ball State sportscast. Also, Notable ESPN Producer Matt Houston hails from Ball State University.

Reality television star Dawn Swain, the Medical Expert from the G4 program Human Wrecking Balls is a graduate from Ball State University. She majored in nursing and still practices in an Intensive Care Unit in Los Angeles, CA when not participating on the program.

Several professional athletes participated in Ball State sports before turning pro. They include NFL players such as Reggie Hodges, a punter drafted in 2005 by the St. Louis Rams; Blaine Bishop, formerly of the Tennessee Titans; Brad Maynard, a punter with the Chicago Bears; Bernie Parmalee, formerly of the Miami Dolphins and current tight ends coach at the University of Notre Damemarker;, Dante Ridgeway, a wide receiver for the New Orleans Saints, and Ed Konopasek, formerly of the Green Bay Packers. NBA stars Theron Smith of the Charlotte Bobcats and Bonzi Wells of the New Orleans Hornets competed on the NCAA level at Ball State as did Major League Baseball players, including Larry Bigbie of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Bryan Bullington, pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates, and Thomas Howard ("Tank"), formerly of the San Diego Padres, Cincinnati Reds, and several other major league teams. Nate Davis, a former standout quarterback on the Ball State football team, was drafted in 2009 by the San Francisco 49ers.

Points of interest

In popular culture

PBS visited Ball State University in 2006 to interview students for a documentary entitled Generation Next. A webcam kiosk asked students for their opinions on topics ranging from the Iraq War to religion. The documentary aired in January 2007.

In 2006, the CBS reality show Armed & Famous was filmed in Muncie and featured shots of the Ball State campus and students in the series. Erik Estrada, La Toya Jackson, Jack Osbourne, Trish Stratus, and Wee Man were all featured in the series that put the city of Muncie on a national stage. The series began airing in January 2007 but was canceled shortly afterward.

The short-lived CW Network television series "Online Nation" featured viral sketch comedy clips created by the Ball State student comedy organization Something Else.

Following the opening of the David Letterman Communication and Media Building, Letterman appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show where he gave Ball State and University President Jo Ann Gora high praise. [47513]

Richard Dreyfuss' character in the feature film Close Encounters of the Third Kind can be seen wearing a famous "Ball U" t-shirt. Many of the events in the movie were "supposed" to take place around the Delaware County Area (Ball State).

Ball State has been referenced several times in the television series, The Simpsons. Fictional characters Superintendent Chalmers as well as Snake (who played Lacrosse) are supposed to have attended Ball State. In another episode, the gym teacher claims that Ball State conducted valid studies of throwing dodgeballs at the students faces in order to better teach.


Image:BSUMcKinleyAve.JPG|Looking north on McKinley Avenue, including Shafer TowerImage:N20713350 30777168 5569.jpg|Looking south on McKinley Avenue. Teachers College at rightImage:BSUBallGym.JPG|Ball GymnasiumImage:FineArtBuildingRapierce.JPG|Fine Arts BuildingImage:BrackenRapierce.jpg|Bracken LibraryFile:Ball State Shafer Tower.JPG|Shafer Tower and campusImage:BSUArchBuilding.jpg|Architecture BuildingImage:BSUcampus.JPG|View from the Teacher's College

See also


  1. Perspective (Ball State University alumni magazine), January 2005. Retrieved September 9, 2007.
  3. State Budget Committee Agenda, Indiana State Budget Committee Meeting, May 19, 2005. (Accessed October 2, 2006)
  4. Newest addition to campus to be called Thomas J. Kinghorn Hall. (Ball State University Website), Retrieved June 30, 2009.


  • Ball, Edmund F., From fruit jars to satellites: The story of Ball Brothers Company, Incorporated, Newcomen Society, 1960
  • Ball State University, The Elisabeth Ball Collection of paintings, drawings, and watercolors: Ball State University Art Gallery, January 15-February 26, 1984, Indiana University Press, 1984, ISBN 0-915511-00-2
  • Birmingham, Frederic A., Ball Corporation, the first century, Curtis Publishing, 1980, ISBN 0-89387-039-0
  • Bullock, Kurt E., Ball State University: A sense of place, Ball State University Alumni Association, 1993, ISBN 0-937994-25-1
  • Edmonds, Anthony O., & Geelhoed, E. Bruce, Ball State University: An Interpretive History, Indiana University Press, 2001, ISBN 0-253-34017-9
  • Hooover, Dwight W., Middletown revisited, Ball State University Press, 1990, ISBN 0-937994-18-9

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