Topics: Administrative, President

November 16, 2023

Jennifer Mearns, First Lady of Ball State University

Jennifer Proud Mearns, first lady of Ball State University, has been named to the board of directors for Indiana Humanities, a statewide nonprofit organization.

Based out of Indianapolis, Indiana Humanities infuses the humanities into the daily lives of those across the state by providing grants, convening discussions, uplifting humanities scholars, spotlighting humanities organizations and activities, and creating programs that help Hoosiers think, read, and talk.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to serve on the board of directors at Indiana Humanities, a wonderful organization with a meaningful mission,” Mrs. Mearns said. “I look forward to supporting Indiana Humanities in its efforts to create, support, convene, and fund projects across the state, particularly with our wonderful partners in Muncie and across East Central Indiana.”

Indiana Humanities is a nonpartisan, independent nonprofit governed by a volunteer board of Indiana educators and business and community leaders. Six of the members are nominated by the board of directors and appointed by the governor of Indiana, while the others are selected from nominations solicited annually from the public.

“We’re thrilled to have Jennifer join our talented board of community leaders, educators and industry professionals to help Indiana Humanities continue to deepen our connections across the state,” said Keira Amstutz, president and CEO of Indiana Humanities. “We know her passion for the humanities and dedication to the Muncie community will broaden our reach and encourage even more Hoosiers to think, read, and talk.”

One of five new members recently selected to the Indiana Humanities board, Mrs. Mearns has more than two decades of experience in executive recruiting and 15 years of experience in the sports marketing industry. In 2003, she founded JPM Consulting Services, and has since been providing executive recruiting and talent acquisition support to global corporations.

In May 2017, Mrs. Mearns began her service as first lady of Ball State when her husband, Geoffrey S. Mearns, joined the University as its 17th president. During his tenure, President Mearns has pursued initiatives that have produced the largest freshman class in history and increased alumni engagement and fundraising.

President Mearns has also strengthened the University’s relationship with the community, most notably through its innovative partnership with Muncie Community Schools. In September 2017, the Mearnses personally donated $100,000 to establish the Mearns/Proud Family Scholarship, named in honor and memory of their parents, to benefit first-generation college students from Muncie Central High School who attend Ball State.

Mrs. Mearns holds a bachelor’s degree from Bryant University, where she served for nine years on its Board of Trustees, including three years as vice chair. She and her husband have five children and four grandchildren.