A $1.4 million gift from the estate of James Ronald Beales ’54, M.S. ’59, will support the programs, services, and initiatives of Illinois State University’s Alumni Engagement department. In recognition of Ron and Mary Beales’ generosity, the Alumni Engagement offices in the Alumni Center have been renamed the Ron and Mary Kathleen Beales Alumni Engagement Suite.

Ron Beales’ Illinois State journey began in 1948. He lettered in football, wrestling, and track and field. His natural talent and athletic ability led to his induction into the 1977 Athletics Hall of Fame. Ron was extremely close with his coaches and teammates, who became like family. Notable university figures who also influenced Ron’s life include Dr. Clifford Pop Horton, former director of the Health and Physical Education Department; Dr. Howard Hancock, former Illinois State University athletics director and football coach; Professor Emeritus Arthur W. Watterson; and Illinois State President Emeritus Raymond W. Fairchild.

“Ron and Mary’s love for Illinois State will live on through this name, and their visionary contribution will further the important work of ISU’s Alumni Engagement office,” said Illinois State President Dr. Larry Dietz in a video announcing the gift and new suite name.

The estate gift will further enhance the reach of Alumni Engagement, whose programs, communications, and outreach serve the now more than 220,000 Redbird alumni.

Executive Director of Alumni Engagement Kris Harding, M.S. ’94, said the gift will allow Alumni Engagement to increase digital alumni engagement opportunities, foster additional alumni network programming, and provide resources towards innovative registration and assessment technology. “Ron and Mary’s gift furthers our work of connecting, uplifting, and engaging Illinois State Alumni,” said Harding. “We are extremely grateful to be on the receiving end of Ron and Mary’s incredible generosity.”

Watch the video above to learn more about Ron Beales and the Beales’ estate gift, as told by his friend and former teammate Frank Chiodo ’51, M.S. ’59.