Topics: Administrative, Alumni

May 17, 2016

The Ball State community mourns the passing of Ronald Venderly, alumnus and benefactor of the university, who died May 12 at age 87 in his hometown of Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Venderly cared passionately about higher education, athletics and the arts. He was an exceptional supporter of the university for more than 20 years, most notably as a leader of its Cardinal Commitment campaign, a capital campaign that in 2015 surpassed its goal by raising $20.6 million for intercollegiate athletics at Ball State.

Together, he and his wife, Joan, provided lead gifts to the campaign to expand the university’s football facilities. In recognition of their contributions, the Board of Trustees named the Ron and Joan Venderly Football Center in their honor in 2014.

Final touches are currently being applied to the Venderly Center, which will provide dedicated meeting space for the entire team and house offices for coaches and support staff. A ribbon-cutting for the space is planned for the fall.

Beyond his commitment to Ball State athletics, Venderly’s philanthropy extended to academics. In 1998, he and Joan established the Ronald E. and Joan M. Venderly Scholarship Endowment, funding scholarships for more than 30 Ball State students from Fort Wayne and Allen County.

Venderly’s multifaceted career spanned service as an Army officer, an educator and athletics director in the Fort Wayne school system. He earned his bachelor of science from Indiana University in 1960 and a master of arts in guidance and counseling from Ball State in 1964.

In 1967, Ron began a second career as a stockbroker and spent 20 years as a broker and vice president with Merrill Lynch and 13 years as a broker and vice president with Smith Barney. He retired in 2000 but remained hands-on with the charitable foundation he established in his name.

Venderly received the President’s Medal from Ball State in 2009. His various affiliations with the university included membership with the Cardinal Commitment Campaign Committee, Teachers College Deans Advisory Council, Founders Society, Beneficence Society and Cardinal Varsity Club.

Among other statewide organizations he supported were the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Fort Wayne Children's Zoo, local area theaters, scholarships at IPFW, Purdue University, Indiana University and the Acres Land Trust.

He is survived by his wife, Joan, their three daughters, Darice Kabisch, Leslie Hormann and Jeanette “Jan” Venderly; and several grandchildren.

Visitation will be Friday, May 20, from 2 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. at D.O. McComb & Sons Covington Knolls Funeral Home, Fort Wayne. There will be additional calling Saturday, May 21, at 10 a.m., one hour before services at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 21. A private family burial service will be held at a later date.