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IU East professor emeritus endows $625,000 gift for scholarships, School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Mar. 1, 2017

Paul Kriese has endowed one of the largest gifts from a faculty member to IU East and the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Paul Kriese

Paul Kriese, professor emeritus of political science, is gifting $625,000 to fund scholarships and the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. | PHOTO COURTESY OF IU EAST

Kriese, professor emeritus of political science, is gifting $625,000 that will be used to fund Honors Program scholarships; Criminal Justice and Social Sciences programs; the Paul Kriese Scholarship for Service Engagement; and the Paul Kriese Humanities and Social Sciences endowed fund. This is in addition to Kriese’s 2005 gift of $70,000 which created the Florence and Richard Kriese Memorial Scholarship in honor of his parents.

IU East Chancellor Kathryn Cruz-Uribe said the gift illustrates Krieses’ lifelong passion for community, civic engagement and support for students.

“Paul has dedicated his professional and personal life to building a better community for everyone,” Cruz-Uribe said. “We are honored that he would provide this gift to ensure that future generations of IU East students will continue to have opportunities to attend college and to be a part of the community through service.”

In the 30 years that Kriese taught at IU East, he emphasized equality, justice and achievement. The gift is a way for Kriese to continue that legacy.

“I wanted to have part of me to remain after I left,” Kriese said. “HSS has been my home for the majority of my working life. HSS has been my home the majority of my life.”

School of Humanities and Social Sciences Dean Ross Alexander said, "In his distinguished career as a faculty member at IU East, Dr. Kriese was incredibly dedicated to his students, colleagues, the IU East campus, and the Richmond community. This gift is yet another example of his continued generosity and selfless support of IU East that will directly benefit students for many years to come, creating a lasting legacy."

In 1985, Kriese moved to Richmond to attend Earlham College and received a M.A. in peace studies with an emphasis on religion and politics. It was then that he was approached by Eleanor Turk to instruct a course at IU East. Kriese joined the IU East faculty as an adjunct instructor of political science.

“I wanted to go back to teaching politics,” Kreise said. “Eleanor Turk asked me to teach one course at IU East. This ‘one course’ eventuated into my career. When I began there was one course in politics.”

At the time, there was also just one building at IU East, Whitewater Hall. Within five years of teaching his first course at IU East, he was promoted to an assistant professor of political science.

Kriese was instrumental in developing the political science program at IU East. He served as chair of the department and on several campus committees. From that one course, the program has grown today to include 30 courses and now offers a B.S. in political science – including an option for completing the degree online – and a minor in political science.

Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs TJ Rivard said Kriese has devoted his career to students and to student success.

“His passion for lifelong learning stems from his belief that it is an essential component to defending a democratic society,” Rivard said. “His gift is a testament to his faith that education and the liberal arts will give future students the skills to enter the social discourse in a rational, compassionate, and open-minded way.”

Kriese did more than teach political science and democracy. He lived it. And he wanted his students to do the same.

“Students are in charge of their lives,” Kriese said. “But they have to take charge. Education helps in this direction. Democracy begins at the local level and moves up. But democracy can be disabled easily when people think that democracy is self-fulfilling. We need each other; campus and community for both of us to prosper.”

Outside of the classroom, Kriese established the American Democracy Project at IU East and was the advisor for the History and Political Science Club. He brought political speakers to campus, participated in lecture series, and he served on local, state and national committees. He conducted research on politics, democracy, race, gender and hate – which led to published articles and books as well as traveling the world as an expert speaker.

Though Kriese is now retired from teaching, he continues to research. He is currently working on a new book that will focus on African American men of Indiana, somewhat of a sequel to his book on African American women from the state. He continues to be involved as a member of the local NAACP, Townsend Center, the Wayne County Democratic party, and various Quaker organizations associated through his church. This year, Kriese, along with Nancy Green, was honored during the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast at the Townsend Center for his service and work in civil rights.

Service and giving is something that Kriese has done throughout his life. It is his pivotal purpose for leaving the endowed gift.

“I hope students will benefit by being able to accomplish more with my monies than they could do otherwise,” Kriese said.

Of this gift, $625,000 will count toward the $2.5 billion campaign, For All: The IU Bicentennial Campaign. IU East’s campaign goal is $7 million, which will help fund a variety of campus initiatives, student scholarships and strategic projects. Find out more about IU East and ways to assist the campus online.

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