Yes, Indiana University has outstanding faculty, offers a leading education and conducts important research—but Milt and Judi Stewart know that what truly makes the university special is its people.
Milt and Judi have given two gifts to the Colloquium for Women of Indiana University—one that aids the program now and a planned gift for the future. Both will help the university encourage women to stay involved and to support IU.
But beyond the impact of their gifts, the Stewarts are celebrating friendships. Milt serves on the IU Foundation's board of directors and the Maurer School of Law's board of visitors. "On both of those boards, Judi and I have developed wonderful friendships. These are people we often see socially and who have become dear friends."
For Milt, these friendships are forged through a shared love of IU. Judi loves IU too, even though she never attended. She came to know the university through Milt as he returned to Bloomington often for his law school meetings. "I feel I have been lovingly adopted by IU," Judi says. "When my first invitation to the Colloquium came in 1998, I thought, I can't go to that. I don't know anybody. After the event, I felt as if I had just spent a weekend with my best girlfriends."
Judi, an artist, became an active member of the IU Art Museum's advisory board in 2000. Milt joined her on that board a few years later. Because of the friendships Judi had built through her participation, Milt jokes that when he first joined the IU Foundation board in 2002, "Judi knew more people than I did."
Milt was a late-comer to alumni life at IU. After 25 years away from Bloomington, he found his way back thanks to a new hire at his law firm: Paul Ehrlich, the son of former IU President Tom Ehrlich. It was the friendship of these two Hoosiers that reconnected him to the university.
Milt says he sees more of the Bloomington campus these days than he did as a student. "I spent seven years in Bloomington, and I never walked into the IU Art Museum," he recalls. "I just didn't partake in the culture of the university." Today, Milt and Judi take law students and faculty members to diverse events on campus with the hope they will come to love all the university has to offer as much as they do.
The Stewarts also gave generous planned gifts to the Maurer School of Law and the IU Art Museum. The latter resulted in the naming of the Judi and Milt Stewart Hexagon Gallery.
But their favorite gift lies behind the Maurer School in Dunn's Woods. Called Stewarts' Hideaway, the couple created an oasis with a collection of benches. "We are so thrilled about it," says Milt. "It's really special to us, and it's become a popular spot on campus."
Maybe it's because such spaces offer people a chance to connect with each other. And, in doing so, maybe they'll learn that what truly makes their experience at Indiana University memorable is each other.