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IU supporters ‘since Day One’

Alums David and Louise Allard view higher education as building blocks for a strong society

Monday Jun 17, 2013

When Louise Allard says she’s been involved with Indiana University Northwest since “Day One,” she means that literally.

In 1957, Louise was likely playing nearby when her father, then Gary Mayor Peter Mandich, stood with IU dignitaries at the groundbreaking of the new Gary Center at Indiana University. It was her father who had appropriated 27 acres of Gleason Park for IU Northwest during his term in 1955.

“My dad wanted a place for people who couldn’t afford, for whatever reason, to go away to school, to have a place to learn in Gary,” Louise said.

The value of education remains strong in Louise’s family, as she and her husband, David, continue to staunchly support Indiana University.

David may have earned his business degree from IU Bloomington, but it is the Northwest campus that receives the lion’s share of Dave’s support now.

Though he’s remained active in the IU Alumni Association and has supported the Varsity Club since his 1970 graduation, David is also heavily invested in the success of IU Northwest and its students.

“I am more interested in helping with some scholarships and amenities out here,” he said.

David has been a member of the IU Northwest Chancellor’s Society for the past 14 years, when then Chancellor Bruce W. Bergland recruited him to help guide the board in setting a new direction for the university.

The creation of the Sculpture Garden, a now iconic mainstay of the IU Northwest campus, is one of the many projects the Allards have supported through the years, both financially and through the time they’ve given.  It was the Allards who donated the garden’s “Ballast” sculpture in memory of Louise’s father, the late former mayor.

As owner of Marcus/Allard Truck Rental in Highland for the past 26 years, David sees the need for philanthropy at IU Northwest every day.

“Having been an employer for 26 years, I’ve got kids that work for me and go to school part time,” he said. “I can see how they need all the help they can get from scholarships and programs at the schools.”

David said that people need higher education if they are going to go out and succeed.

“You can give people money, but it doesn’t really help them,” he said. “But, if you give them education, they can help themselves.”

The Allards, both avid golfers in their spare time, reside in Olympia Fields, Ill., which they admit was a “golf decision.”

Louise holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Radio and Television from Loyola University New Orleans. But she had always wanted to do something in medicine. So after a brief stint working at a radio station in New Mexico, Louise decided to come back home and pursue nursing at IU Northwest.

“I received a wonderful education,” she said. “One of the best memories of IU Northwest was a study group for those that needed a little boost. That turned me around from a C student to an A-B student which I was forever grateful for.”

Louise spent the rest of her career in nursing. And just like a nurse would, Louise feels strongly about serving others.

“It just makes you feel good to know you’ve helped someone,” Louise said.

She said the Allards support higher education through scholarships and university programs because education is a building block for a successful society.

“If you can afford to help somebody, then it’s really important to do so,” David said. “I think most people have charitable instincts. I think higher education is one way to act on those instincts in the most impactful way possible.”

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