Optometry Dean Bonanno Establishes $25,000 Scholarship Endowment

Monday, June 13, 2016

A major part of being a leader in any setting is to set an example for those you serve. Dean Joseph A. Bonanno embodies this aspect of leadership through his role here at the Indiana University School of Optometry.

With the IU Bicentennial Campaign in full swing, Dean Bonanno has no reservation leading the way and speaking out about the importance of giving back to Indiana University, IUSO in particular. The Dean said, “It’s like buying a share of stock in a company. You do it because you have confidence that the company will succeed. It’s the same idea here with IUSO.”

Success for the school and its students go hand-in-hand. Student scholarships are quite important to IUSO because, very plainly, the school wants the best and brightest students. When just over 20 schools are vying for the same students across the country, it’s important that IUSO stand out among them. To motivate prospective students to choose IUSO over others, scholarships reduce the large financial burden of attendance.

Whether it’s in the classroom, clinic, or other aspect of IUSO, better students benefit each other, the school, and its faculty. Dean Bonanno doesn’t just know the significance of this concept, he very directly acts upon it. In addition to previous gifts, the Dean recently established a $25,000 scholarship endowment, the Dr. Joseph A. Bonanno Aspiring Optometrists Scholarship, to IUSO. This generous gift came after the IU Optometric Student Association presented the school with a gift of equal amount for student scholarships.

“I was reluctant to give at one time, too – it can be a big commitment. I’m sure a lot of faculty are thinking, ‘Why give where I work?’ That’s understandable – it does kind of mess with your thinking to give money back to the people that pay you.” However, no matter your affiliation, there’s no better time than now to give back to IU.

Being made in the midst of the FOR ALL: The Indiana University Bicentennial Campaign, Dean Bonanno’s gift qualifies for a unique matching opportunity being offered by the University. For the general public and alumni, the minimum amount required to become match-eligible is $50,000. However, all current and former full-time IU faculty qualify for the unique matching program at the $25,000 level. In perpetuity, the interest generated on this $25,000 endowment will be matched by the University, effectively doubling the impact of the gift. All income from this particular endowment will be used to support scholarships for incoming OD students to IUSO. IU’s FOR ALL campaign has a $2.5 billion fundraising goal, spans all eight of Indiana University's campuses across the state of Indiana, and will culminate with a bicentennial celebration in 2020.

Dean Bonanno is just one example of faculty members all across this campus and others that are repeatedly giving back to the University in one way or another. He believes that setting up this fund in his name will help faculty to consider giving a gift of any size that they may have passed on otherwise, especially during the last three years of the bicentennial campaign.

Paula Jenkins, IU Foundation Vice President for Development, Bloomington, played a major role in conversations leading up to and the structuring of the gift. “It is so fulfilling to work with donors, and especially those within the University. Dean Bonanno is truly making an incredible impact on Indiana University School of Optometry and its faculty as well. He is ‘leading by example’ instead of talking about what should happen. It sparks the potential in others to give back to IU in their own way,” said Jenkins.

In summary, Dean Bonanno said, “I hope that my past, current, and future gifts are a signal to faculty and alumni that I am completely invested in the school and its success. This is how we will secure the future of our school and our faculty.”

If you are interested in learning more about giving opportunities at IUSO or anywhere at IU, please contact IUSO’s Office of Advancement at goiuso@indiana.edu!