INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie presented the President’s Medal for Excellence to Rose M. Mays in honor of the numerous contributions she and her late husband, William G. Mays, have made to the university.
The award was presented Tuesday afternoon at the IUPUI Spirit of Philanthropy luncheon at the Indiana Roof Ballroom. The event honored individuals and organizations that have demonstrated commitment to the academic and cultural well-being of the campus through donations, volunteerism and other notable investments.
The President’s Medal for Excellence is the highest honor an IU president can bestow.
“In recognition of the depth of Bill and Rose’s service to Indiana University and their support for IU’s students and academic programs; Rose’s leadership in pediatric nursing education; Bill’s tremendous influence in the business world and beyond; and for all they have both done to foster diversity at IU, within their workplace and in communities statewide; it is my great pleasure to present them with this distinguished honor,” McRobbie said.
The Mayses’ relationship with the university runs long and deep. Both graduates — Bill earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1970 and a master’s in business administration in 1973, and Rose obtained her master’s degree and Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Certificate in 1974 — they have touched virtually every aspect of IU’s educational mission through their involvement, passion and generosity.
Rose, a professor emerita at the IU School of Nursing at IUPUI and former associate dean for community and international affairs, taught pediatric nursing at the school from 1973 until her retirement in 2009. In 2012, she was elected to the IU Foundation Board of Directors.
Rose’s involvement also extends to the IU Alumni Association, where she is a lifetime member of the Central Indiana Chapter, as well as a lifetime member of the Woodburn Guild and a member of Hoosiers for Higher Education. She is also a member of the IU Foundation President’s Circle, IU Foundation Well House Society, 1820 Society and IUPUI Chancellor’s Circle; an honored donor of the De Vault Alumni Center; and a friend of The Kinsey Institute.
In 1998, Bill was the first African-American elected to the IU Foundation Board of Directors, a position he served with distinction for 20 years. Beyond his own engagement with the board, Bill actively promoted IU to other leaders across the state, and for decades served as a friend and mentor to many across the university.
The Mayses’ philosophy has been to give broadly in an attempt to strengthen the entire university community. Students across a wide range of disciplines on multiple campuses, including IU Bloomington, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and IU Southeast, have Rose and Bill to thank for helping them attain their dream of a college education.
Though they have literally supported hundreds of programs, the Mayses have generously supported the IU Kelley School of Business in both Bloomington and Indianapolis and the IU School of Nursing, where they funded scholarships, fellowships, professorships, lectureships and research aimed at improving diversity.
They also established several endowments that promoted diversity including the Joy J. Mays Endowment Scholarship School of Education, the Theodore C. Mays Chemistry Fellowship and the Rose M. Mays Excellence in Teaching Diversity Fund at the IU School of Nursing.
Additionally, the Mayses established several RISE (research, international, service learning, experiential learning) Scholarships at IUPUI for men and women in business, nursing and public health, and were among the founding donors for the IU School of Diversity School of Dentistry Diversity Scholarships.
The President’s Medal for Excellence recognizes, among other criteria, distinction in public service, service to IU and extraordinary merit and achievement in the arts, humanities, sciences, education and industry. The medal itself is a reproduction in silver of the symbolic jewel worn by IU’s president at ceremonial occasions.