The Ball State Board of Trustees named a new football complex after Ronald and Joan Venderly in recognition of their generosity over more than two decades.
“We are deeply grateful to the Venderlys for their support,” Bill Scholl, Ball State director of intercollegiate athletics said. “This new facility will give our student-athletes another competitive advantage on the field. It is also a sign of an even brighter future. The most competitive recruits take notice of these facilities, and it affects their decisions. The complex will bring us closer to being on par with facilities in the Mid-American Conference. Having this new space available will provide another competitive advantage for our student-athletes.”
The Ronald E. and Joan M. Venderly Football Team Complex will adjoin the west side of the John W. and Janice B. Fisher Football Training Complex. It will provide dedicated meeting space for the entire team and will house offices for coaches and support staff. The new facility will also allow for the repurposing of existing space to better serve student-athletes. The complex is part of the university’s $20 million Cardinal Commitment campaign, which will fund strategic improvements for softball, baseball, men¹s and women’s golf, football, men’s and women’s basketball, and men’s and women’s volleyball.
"I have enjoyed getting to know the Venderly's over the last three years and greatly appreciate their support of both the university and the football program,” Ball State fourth-year head football coach Pete Lembo said. “Their generosity will make a very positive impact on the experience of hundreds of student-athletes, coaches and support staff in the years to come."
The Venderlys have demonstrated extraordinary generosity and deep commitment to furthering higher education, the arts, cultural opportunities, youth programs and athletics in their home community and across Indiana. They 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. Most recently, the Venderlys have taken a leadership role in the Cardinal Commitment campaign. They are leadership benefactors, and Mr. Venderly, a 1964 Ball State graduate, provides his time and talent on the campaign committee.
“It is clear the university needs ongoing support, so that is why my wife and I got involved,” Ron Venderly said. “We need to update the football complex to stay competitive from a recruiting standpoint with other schools in the MAC. We hope this will help entice good football players to come to Ball State.”
Born and raised in Fort Wayne, Ind., Venderly’s ties to athletics runs deep with him. He served as the offensive and defensive line coach for Concordia High School in Fort Wayne from 1953-59 and was athletics director at Fort Wayne Central High School from 1961-67. A successful career with two brokerage firms soon followed as Venderly worked for Shearson and was a vice president for 20 years at Merrill Lynch. He retired in 2000.
“Jo Ann Gora and Ben Hancock were the original reasons I got involved with Ball State about seven or eight years ago,” Venderly said. “Hudson Akin and Bill Scholl came along more recently and we have become good friends and I appreciate the friendship I have built with Coach Lembo.”
“The lives of students are changed by the extraordinary generosity of the Venderlys,” Ball State President Jo Ann M. Gora said. “Ron and Joan take the long view with their philanthropy. They have invested significantly over decades, and their impact will be felt for decades to come. We are truly grateful.”