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Last modified: Thursday, April 28, 2005

Five to receive IU's highest alumni award

EDITORS: The award will be presented during IU's annual Cream and Crimson Weekend activities on June 17-19. For more information, contact the IU Alumni Association at 812-855-4822 or go to its Web site at http://alumni.indiana.edu/bloomington/creamcrimson/.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University will honor five alumni -- including a former Indiana first lady, a successful television producer, a trailblazer in women's athletics, a musical innovator and its former athletics director -- with its highest award that can only be given to an alumna or alumnus.

The recipients this year of IU's Distinguished Alumni Service Award will be Mildred Morgan Ball, Clarence H. Doninger and Judith Asmus O'Bannon, all of Indianapolis; Jeri Taylor of The Sea Ranch, Calif.; and Charles H. Webb of Bloomington, Ind. They will receive the awards during IU's Cream and Crimson Weekend on June 17-19 in Bloomington.

They were chosen for services and achievements in their fields of endeavor and significant contributions to university, community, state or nation. With the addition of these recipients, IU has honored 279 alumni since the award's inception in 1953. The awards will be given at a recognition dinner on Saturday, June 18, at 6:30 p.m. in Alumni Hall of the Indiana Memorial Union.

Following are individual bios for each award recipient:

Mildred Morgan Ball

Ball, who received a bachelor of science degree from IU in physical education in 1960, has been a trail blazer in women's athletics at the local, state and national levels. Throughout her career, she has worked to ensure excellence and equity for girls in athletics, academic and health-related activities.

From 1960 to 1977, she was a teacher at Washington High School in East Chicago, Ind. From 1967 to 1977, she also served as supervisor and coordinator of the Student Park Workers Neighborhood Youth Corps in East Chicago. From 1977 to 1997, she was assistant commissioner of the Indiana High School Athletic Association.

Her persistent work has been recognized by awards given to her by various organizations, including the National Federation of State High School Associations, the Indiana Association of Athletic Officials, the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, and the Benjamin Hooks Award from the NAACP. The IU School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation gave her the John Endwright Distinguished Alumni Service Award in 1996.

She was one of the co-founders of the Neal-Marshall Alumni Club and has served in many capacities with both HPER and the IU Alumni Association, including the IUAA Executive Council. She also has a master of science degree in secondary education from Purdue University.

Clarence H. Doninger

Doninger is the model of what universities search for in looking for alumni to be of service to their alma maters. His love for IU, which started as a student, has never waivered. He was a member of IU's 1957 Big Ten co-championship basketball team. As a student, he was active in his fraternity, in student government and as a rider in the Little 500. He was elected president of his freshman and sophomore classes and later was student body president.

After earning at IU a bachelor of science degree in business in 1957 and a law degree in 1960, Doninger began what was to become a very successful law practice, while continuing his interest in and service to IU. Starting as president of the IU Men's Club of Indianapolis, he eventually served his alma mater in every role he was asked to do. He was national chairman of the IU Alumni Association and national president of the Varsity Club Board of Directors. Although he had a successful law practice at the time, Doninger agreed to become the university's athletic director in 1991, a task that he fulfilled with dignity. Since 2001, he has been counsel to the Indianapolis law firm of Stark, Doninger and Smith. He continues to serve on the IU Foundation Board of Directors.

Judith Asmus O'Bannon

O'Bannon, who graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1957 from IU with a bachelor of arts degree, has spent much of her adult life supporting and promoting efforts to strengthen Indiana communities. She served in a variety of leadership roles, including currently as a trustee of the National Trust for Historical Preservation. For years, she has been dedicated to volunteerism and philanthropy in Harrison County and in southern Indiana. She also served her church on both the local and state levels, founding "Santaland," a holiday gathering that provides food, gifts and neighborhood support to more than 1,000 people each year.

During her time as First Lady of Indiana, she spearheaded the drive to make the governor's residence accessible to people with physical disabilities. Throughout her seven years in that role, she initiated activities that brought more than 400 special needs children to the state residence to experience and participate in the arts.

She serves as chairwoman of the 25-member Indiana 2016 Task Force, which encourages Hoosiers to prepare for the bicentennial birthday of the state.

As a student, she was selected as the first woman to attend the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Eight universities, including IU, have recognized her achievements with honorary degrees. IU Southeast presented her with its Chancellor's Medallion earlier this year. The Indiana Historical Society presented her with a Living Legends Award in 2004.

Jeri Taylor

Taylor, who graduated Phi Beta Kappa from IU in 1959 with a bachelor of arts degree in English, has enjoyed an extensive career in television as a director and producer. She has written many scripts for such television shows as Little House on the Prairie, Quincy, M.E., The Incredible Hulk, Magnum, P.I. and a host of others. She also wrote for and produced Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager. The Lilly Library houses scripts for those series.

A native of Bloomington and the daughter of IU faculty members, she began her love affair with entertainment in what was then called the IU Radio and TV Department. To this day, she speaks fondly of IU and how her time as a student influenced her life and career. She is a lifetime member of the IU Alumni Association, and she has lectured on many occasions to IU students interested in the entertainment business.

Charles H. Webb

Webb, who earned a doctorate in piano performance from IU in 1964, is internationally-known as both a performer and an educator. He brought honor and distinction to the university, particularly as dean of the IU School of Music from 1973 to 1997. He was the school's assistant dean and associate dean from 1964 to 1973.

He served as dean of a top-ranked music school and continued to build it into an even greater institution. During his tenure, he added distinguished artists to the faculty and played an important role in adding new facilities. Now in retirement, he continues to work, when asked, in development activities.

Webb also has served his church locally and nationally. For 44 years, he has been the organist for his church, and he spent three years as a member of the Hymnal Revision Committee of the National United Methodist Church. His compositions and arrangements can be found in hymnals across the country.

He recently was appointed to a U.S. State Department Advisory Committee on Cultural Diplomacy. He has served as a judge on many international competitions and has been honored repeatedly. IU presented him in 2000 with the President's Medal for Excellence. Southern Methodist University, where he earned bachelor's and master's degrees, presented him with its Distinguished Alumni Award in 1980. The Indiana Historical Society named him a living legend in 2004.