By Tony Campbell
Feb 26, 2021
Though they are too young to obtain a degree themselves, business administration major Erick Beverly’s sons inspired him to finish his degree at Indiana State University.
Beverly felt that, if he encouraged his sons to continue their education, he needed to take his own advice. “I think my biggest motivation is my boys,” he said. “I think it is major to lead by example when you become a role model. No one wants to be taking words or advice from someone who doesn’t practice what they preach.”
Beverly, however, wouldn’t have been able to continue his education and set an example for his sons without financial support, such as from the Bridge the Gap Scholarship.
Finances — not academics — are often the reason students drop out of college. Bridge the Gap Scholarships support academically motivated students who are unable to register for classes the next semester due to financial constraints. Bridge the Gap Scholarships provide the funding students need between the financial resources they have and their full cost of attendance. To date, more than $1.2 million has been raised to support Bridge the Gap Scholarships.
“I’m thankful for donors and support because I wouldn’t have been able to come up with that financial means myself,” Beverly said. “The name, Bridge the Gap, pretty much says it all. I just felt that, without that, it wouldn’t be possible to finish up school right now. It’s a miracle in disguise.”
Motivated by the financial struggles that students like Beverly face, Joel Updike, ’70, has created a challenge gift on Give to Blue Day to support Bridge the Gap Scholarships. The third annual Give to Blue Day, Indiana State’s day of giving, will take place on Wednesday, March 3, from midnight to midnight, and will allow Sycamores around the world to support the causes that matter most to them, including Bridge the Gap Scholarships.
“My wife and I have been donors to the Foundation, probably in some amount, ever since I graduated in 1970,” Updike said. “When I met with President Curtis, we talked about student debt. The real problem I saw was students who don’t even get through. They go through three years and they don’t have enough money to finish. President Curtis and I had the same opinion. She was really invested in Bridge the Gap Scholarships and wanted to make it a priority in her term here.”
Challenge gifts, including Updike’s, inspire others to give and will be unlocked after a predetermined donor goal has been met on Give to Blue Day. Sycamores may also create matching gifts, which allow donations to be matched dollar for dollar throughout the day of giving, creating an even greater impact on campus.
“I hope, at some point, you can go your last year there free,” Updike remarked. “I want kids to be able to go through school without looking at $50,000 – or $60,000 in debt when they walk out. This gift will help kids who just need a few thousand more dollars to get through.”
Updike understands from personal experience the power of generosity. “I grew up very, very poor and having help from somebody was just a nice thing,” he said. “I think that the person giving something actually gets more benefit out of it than the person that gets it.”
Give to Blue Day is a chance to make an impact on the lives of current and future Sycamore students, faculty, and programs. Every gift has the power to make a difference, and together, Sycamores can create an even brighter future for Indiana State University.
The impact of the Bridge the Gap Scholarship is not lost on Beverly. “For ISU to provide that type of financial assistance is heartwarming,” he said. “I can’t even really describe or put into words what it means for them to make this opportunity happen for me.”
Beverly is paying it forward to create a brighter future for all in his community. He is the founder of Change of Terre Haute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating equality in the areas of civil rights, human rights, and social justice. “Once you find what your purpose is, it creates courage and passion,” Beverly said. “Don’t ever let anybody tell you that you can’t do something. Always follow your heart and your dream and go until it’s done.”
“I just think the whole thing is to make life easier for the next person to come along, or make it better,” Updike said. “I heard someone say this once – what you need to do, everything you decide to do, is to make tomorrow easier. If I can make someone’s tomorrow easier…that’s what I think education is. That’s what giving does. It helps make somebody’s tomorrow easier.”
Visit indstate.edu/GiveToBlue or call 812-237-6100 for more information about Give to Blue Day.