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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — The University of Evansville has received what it calls a generous gift from the Indianapolis-based Efroymson Family Fund. The money is earmarked for the university’s Department of Art. UE says the gift will fund a variety of programs within the arts school.

The university says the department will be able to bring in guest artists each semester as part of the Efroymson Family Emerging Contemporary Artists Lecture Series. UE art students will also be able to interact with professional artists through lectures and workshops.

“We are really excited to create a more impactful learning experience for our art students, thanks to the Efroymson Family Fund,” said Todd Matteson, chair of the Department of Art. “Their contributions help us in preparing our students to be successful not just at UE, but beyond the classroom.”

The fund also supports a paid, marketing internship for a current art student. UE says the Efroymson fund will also support a new fellowship program that will help recent graduates from the UE Department of Art who wish to continue their education.

“The university is tremendously grateful for the ongoing support from the Efroymson family,” said Sylvia DeVault, corporate and foundation relations officer for UE. “For ten years now, they have been supporters of the arts, which has created a lasting impact on our campus and in the Evansville community.”

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Faculty at the University of Evansville are preparing to create their own alignment plan for the school. Our partners at WEHT-TV report the university’s Faculty Senate passed a resolution just weeks after UE’s President’s Council announced a realignment plan that would include the removal of three departments and more than a dozen majors.

The resolution calls for the creation of a committee to come up with an alternative alignment plan.

UE faculty has seven days to vote on the resolution and, if approved, the committee will create a timetable for the effort, which will conclude with a presentation of the alternative plan to UE President Chris Pietruszkiewicz before the end of the spring semester.

You can view the full resolution from the UE Faculty Senate, courtesy of WEHT, by clicking here.

When the original realignment plan was first announced, Pietruszkiewicz said the effort would allow the university to continue to invest in areas of growth, make it financially sustainable, and better able to support students in the future.

Less than a week later, an online petition was created calling for the president to resign or be fired. The petition had nearly 5,000 signatures as of noon on Wednesday.

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) – Jordan Barnes scored 17 points, and Brenton Scott added 14 including a pair of free throws with 23 seconds remaining to make it a two-possession game as Indiana State held off Evansville 71-66 Wednesday night.

Barnes made three 3-pointers, was six of seven at the line, Scott was five of six at the line, Qiydar Davis added 12 points with three 3-pointers and Tyreke Key had 10 points and nine rebounds for Indiana State (9-10, 4-3 Missouri Valley Conference).

The Purple Aces (12-5, 2-5) trailed by 15 in the second half, but pulled as close as 68-66 when Blake Simmons scored and was fouled, converting the 3-point play with 33 seconds left in the game.

But Simmons picked up his fourth and fifth fouls in the last 23 seconds, sending Scott and Key to the line where they made three of four.

Simmons fouled out with 16 points, Dru Smith led Evansville with 23 points, including 7 of 9 at the foul line, and five assists and Ryan Taylor added 12 points.

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) — After nine years as president and 15 years with the University of Southern Indiana in total, Linda Bennett has announced her plans to retire as USI president.

Bennett will retire on June 30.

“I am profoundly grateful for the opportunity to serve this great institution,” Bennett said. “The essential strengths of USI are not contained in buildings, though our beautiful campus is a tremendous asset. Those essential strengths are the people of the campus, the power of community and the high quality education our students take with them as they graduate. This December I will be 65, and with that milestone, I believe it is a good time to think about the next chapter of my life. The University of Southern Indiana is well-positioned for a transition, and this is the right time.”

The USI Board of Trustees will announce plans this fall for a national search for USI’s next president.

“It has been my good fortune to have worked with each of the three presidents of this University, all have exemplified outstanding qualities necessary to captain a ship such as ours,” said Harold Calloway, chair of USI’s Board of Trustees. “Dr. Bennett, without exception, has proven to be a transformative leader who was the right person at the right time for our institution, and we will certainly miss her intellect, caring personality, wit, and love and respect for the institution. The Board of Trustees will work to select a leader that will continue the legacy of Dr. Bennett and all of her predecessors.”

Bennett became USI’s third president in July 2009.

She previously served as USI’s provost and vice president for academic affairs from 2003 until her inauguration.

In addition to serving as president, she is a professor of political science and has taught Introduction to American Politics for USI students.

In Bennett’s first year as president, she led the effort to establish USI’s first strategic plan.

The plan included an intentional effort to raise the university’s academic standards and admitting students most likely to succeed at a four-year university.

Bennett’s experience in higher education also included service at Northern Kentucky University and Wittenberg University.

She plans to remain in Evansville with her husband and stay actively involved in community service.

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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WISH) – A southern Indiana judge read 22-year-old Isaiah Hagan the official charges against him Tuesday in front of his family and the family of his alleged victim.

Prosecutors say Hagan shot and killed his ex-girlfriend, 20-year-old Halee Rathgeber, then robbed her of items, including her wallet and cell phone.

The University of Southern Indiana student’s body was found last Monday near a rural sports complex east of Newburgh, about 15 miles east of Evansville.

Hagan is now charged with murder, felony murder, robbery and obstruction of justice.

A public defender was appointed to Hagan’s case. The court entered a not-guilty plea on Hagan’s behalf as common procedure at initial hearings. A judge has sealed the charging documents surrounding this case and says the documents will remain sealed for at least two more weeks.

Rathgeber was well known and loved by friends, colleagues and fellow students. She was an employee at Texas Roadhouse, and the restaurant has paid for her funeral.

“I think you’re going to find people that are invested in this case because of the nature of the crime,” Warrick County prosecutor Mike Perry said. “This young lady touched a lot of people. I was impressed the other day that her restaurant that she worked at actually closed down to allow the employees to attend her memorial service, which I thought was just the classiest thing I’ve ever seen. So, there’s a lot of emotion in a case like this.”

The restaurant is also working on getting a USI scholarship fund set up in Rathgeber’s name

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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) – Longtime television and film actor Ronald Glass will be remembered during a memorial in his hometown of Evansville.

Glass is best known for his role as the detective Ron Harris in the cop comedy “Barney Miller” that aired from 1975 to 1982. He was 71 when he died in November in Los Angeles.

Glass grew up in Evansville and graduated from the University of Evansville with a degree in drama and literature before starting his acting career. The remembrance program is set for 11 a.m. Feb. 25 at the university’s Shanklin Theatre.

Former university theater department chairman John David Lutz tells the Evansville Courier & Press that Glass was an avid supporter of the school’s students and faculty.

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – About $19 million for a planned medical school campus in downtown Evansville is included in Gov. Mike Pence’s state budget proposal.

That money toward Indiana University’s portion of the project is part of the $50 million that IU and other state-supported schools involved in the project have requested from the state.

While the General Assembly could change that funding amount, Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke says Pence’s proposal is a great starting point. Winnecke tells the Evansville Courier & Press that IU’s portion is the project’s cornerstone and needs to be funded first.

IU, the University of Southern Indiana, Ivy Tech Community College and the private University of Evansville are all planning to offer health care-related programs at the campus that would cover about six city blocks.