After 20-plus years in higher education fundraising at five different institutions, Simic returned to his alma mater as Indiana University Foundation (IUF) President in 1988. He saw an immediate opportunity to build, sustain, and enhance campus engagement programming for women of achievement. “At the beginning, we said that this is not a fundraising thing,” Simic recalled. “We just wanted to get to know our guests and let them get to know us through connections to our students, faculty, and everything IU has to offer.”
This idea evolved into what is now the Colloquium for Women at Indiana University. The biennial gathering in the fall introduces women to celebrated professors, alumnae, students, and internationally renowned speakers. First Lady Emerita Peg Brand Weiser and local philanthropist Gayle Cook (a 1956 Phi Beta Kappa graduate of IU with a BA in fine arts) were instrumental in its early growth and success. For instance, Cook ensured that campus assets like the Wylie House Museum were featured on the Colloquium agenda. The Colloquium was also a catalyst in IU First Lady Emerita Laurie Burns McRobbie's decision to establish the Women's Philanthropy Leadership Council in 2010.
“When Laurie came along, it was time to move along to the philanthropic piece,” Simic, President Emeritus of the Indiana University Foundation, said. “Laurie did a tremendous job, and that council has impacted every campus in the IU system.”
There are numerous examples of the Colloquium’s influence on lasting alumnae engagement. Perhaps none are more prolific than the three-generation Jay Family. They have collectively shared a substantial portion of their time and resources with IU Libraries. This is the story behind the family’s remarkable Hoosier legacy.
“It’s the school that sold us, not pressure from home.”
The late Hilda (BS ’45) and John (BS ’41) Jay sent their daughters – Sarah Jay Luckay (BA ’65 and MLS ’66) and Ellen Jay (BS ’68 and MS ’69 ) – to Bloomington. Luckay’s daughter, Heather Farina (BS ’96 and MS ’00) followed her grandparents, mother’s, and aunt’s footsteps.
Hilda Jay attended the initial Colloquium. When Ellen Jay heard about her mother’s wonderful time on campus, she arranged to attend the second Colloquium with her. The two have attended ever since. Upon her professional retirement, Luckay was invited. When Farina was an undergraduate student, her grandmother, mother, and aunt brought her to the event’s Saturday evening dinner. Farina continued her participation and currently serves on the Colloquium Steering Committee.
Just as the Colloquium is a major source of their alumnae engagement, the IU Summer Music Clinic served as the Jay women's introduction to the Bloomington campus. “It was my sophomore year of high school, when, somehow, the new issue of the alumni magazine was left open on the coffee table,” Luckay explained. “I saw the article on the music clinic and told my mother, ‘I have to go here.’”
The Jay parents obliged, purchasing a Greyhound bus ticket to Bloomington for their first-born daughter. “I had such a wonderful time. The campus was its beautiful self. I then spent the whole next summer on campus, studying music," Luckay explained. "It made me realize I was not meant to be a music major, but that IU was my campus home. I applied early fall of my high school senior year and was accepted by Thanksgiving. I was probably the first of my classmates to know where I was headed.”
While Ellen Jay also participated in the Summer Music Clinic a few years later, she says that the IUAA Magazine was not the only periodical to contribute to their family’s institutional footprint. “When Sarah was in school, our parents subscribed to the Indiana Daily Student. When Sarah would write letters home and refer to a concert or show she attended, we could follow along and read the IDS articles,” Jay recollected. “It’s the school that sold us. Not pressure from home.”
Farina attributes her early exposure to campus, especially the Summer Music Clinics, as a factor in her decision process as well. “IU has always felt like home,” she stated. “It’s pretty special to be part of this family with all of the IU connections. While that is not the reason I came to IU, I likely would not have known about IU without those connections.”
Blazing their own paths
The Jay sisters' and Farina's decisions to attend IU were each of their own accord. Fittingly, their respective undergraduate and graduate school paths were also distinct; however, music was a common denominator.
Hilda Jay worked as a school librarian in Ridgefield, Connecticut. During the summer, she would take her eldest daughter to work, processing new library materials in time for the school year. “I would help Mom with that, and that is when I knew school libraries were for me,” Luckay noted. “IU’s master’s program was one of only 16 accredited by the American Library Association (ALA) at that time.”
Luckay was a second-generation member of the Student Union Board and was elected to Mortar Board, Alpha Lambda Delta, Tomahawk (independent students honorary), Phi Beta Kappa, and Beta Phi Mu (Library Science). As a music minor, she joined Sigma Alpha Iota women’s music fraternity.
Upon completion of her MALS, Luckay enjoyed a distinguished career as a school media specialist for Columbus, Ohio, City Schools, working at all levels K-12 for 34 years. Luckay is also an accomplished musician. Making music in instrumental ensembles with her flute and piccolo, and singing in choral gatherings are important parts of her life.
Jay studied French horn at Indiana University and continues to play French Horn and tenor horn in community bands, one of which won back-to-back national championships at the North American Brass Band Association competitions in 2017 and 2018. During her time at IU, Jay was also a multi-talented athlete who participated in field hockey, basketball, softball, and volleyball. She was also on Union Board, IU Student Foundation, Mortar Board, and Pi Lambda Theta.
“When I graduated, a lot of school districts were requiring teachers to get their master’s degree within three years,” Jay remembered. “I watched Mom complete her master’s while teaching full-time and thought, ‘I’m not doing that.’ I was fortunate to stay an extra year and get my master’s. I took 18 hours of library science classes, which aligned well with my elementary education certification. It seemed like a worthwhile thing to do, even though I never thought I’d use it.”
Ironically, Jay discovered early in her teaching career that her passion was teacher-librarian collaboration. She transitioned full-time to libraries. She completed her Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction at Kent State University in 1981 and was a nationally sought-after leader in information literacy and faculty-librarian collaboration. Jay and her mother HIlda co-wrote over a dozen books on this subject, and Jay also served in leadership positions within the American Libraries Association (ALA) and as a board member and president of the American Association of School Librarians.
Farina credits her fifth-grade teacher, Kathy Johnson, for inspiring a career in education. “She was amazing and truly helped me enjoy learning,” Farina shared. “When I graduated from Westerville South, they allowed anyone in the district with a teaching license to present a diploma. Four or five of us chose Mrs. Johnson for that.”
Farina followed her bachelor’s degree in elementary education with a master’s in curriculum and instruction from IU. She taught for five years at Indianapolis Public Schools and has also worked for CTB/McGraw-Hill and Edmentum. She currently works as a Senior Test Development Manager for Pearson and lives in Houston, TX.
Farina played oboe in the IU All-Campus Band -- the band for non-music majors --and was in the Color Guard for Marching Hundred. She appreciates how her Marching Hundred participation provided her with an immediate core social network.
Farina's time at summer music clinics gave her a head start in campus familiarity, and she helped her first-year classmates navigate the scene. Over time, she became the unofficial IU historian among her social circles. “My friends were always surprised by how much I knew about IU. Mom had told me a lot of stories about her time on campus. Legends like kissing your true love in the Well House at midnight because you weren’t supposed to be out of your dorms,” Farina said. “I have always loved the Well House. It has this ambiance. Walking across campus, you could not help but stop and take it in. Other campuses just aren’t like that.”
Reconnecting with IU as alumnae
Simic’s vision to use Colloquium as a campus engagement tool resonated with matriarch Hilda Jay. “When we came for Colloquium, we would have a car full of stuff to give to IU,” Ellen Jay described. “Mom gave all kinds of family stuff to University Archives, the Wylie House, and the then Mathers Museum - now Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology,” Jay said. “Mom also donated a large number of items to the Sage collection.”
Luckay joined her mother and sister at Colloquium after her retirement from Columbus City Schools.
“I got entranced by the idea of the Wylie House Museum,” Luckay affirmed. “I always have enjoyed historic homes. I toured the Wylie House once as a student but have visited it several times since. That was the entryway to more giving for me.”
Farina believes Colloquium illustrates IU’s pioneering approach to alumni involvement.
“I love that they solicit input, engage a wide range of people, and always support new ideas,” Farina said. “I know it has inspired other universities to try similar programming.”
‘There’s nothing that can’t be enhanced without using libraries’
Jay credits fellow alumna and Colloquium participant, the late Helen Gibbons, for inspiring the Jay family’s approach to IU philanthropy. “One of Helen’s favorite sayings was ‘Do your giving while you’re living, so you’re knowing where it’s going,’” Jay acknowledged. “That clicked with us and triggered expanding our current giving, rather than leaving it all to end-of-life establish plans.”
The family’s time and resources can be felt throughout campus and particularly at IU Libraries. “It hits everyone and everything,” Jay replied when asked why she supports Libraries. “Libraries impact all components of the university – teaching, learning, research, and personal interests, and spark lifelong learning. There’s nothing that can’t be enhanced without using libraries in one way or another.”
The Jay Information Literacy Fund at IU Libraries
In 2014, Ellen and Hilda Jay established the Jay Information Literacy Fund to foster faculty-librarian collaboration. Over the last eight years, it has solidified IU Libraries as a national leader in this critical area. The Jay Fund has been the source of course and curriculum grants to integrate information literacy concepts and the use of primary sources in the classroom.
This momentum prompted Ellen Jay to join the Libraries’ Dean’s Advisory Board and encourage IU Libraries to consider ways in which it can impact the entire IU system. Jay connected the Libraries to the Women’s Philanthropy Leadership Council (WPLC) grant program. Her advocacy was a catalyst in securing a WPLC grant for the Information Literacy Online Toolkit. The Toolkit serves as a starting point for faculty and librarians across all seven campuses to integrate information literacy and the use of primary source materials in their courses.
The information Information Literacy Literacy Online Toolkit has been adapted to serve the Libraries’ Course Material Fellowship Program (CMFP) and its Intensive Freshman Seminar (IFS) instruction. The CMFP incentivizes faculty to partner with librarians and integrates Open Education Resources (OER) in their classrooms. OER are teaching and learning materials that have been shared under a license that allows others to freely use and revise them. The CMFP maximizes student course material affordability and accessibility. It directly impacts more than 2,000 students per academic year at the IUB and IUPUI campuses, yielding a collective annual savings of $233,500. The Libraries’ IFS instruction provides first-year students with a valuable introduction to Libraries’ resources and services.
Jay’s ongoing support allowed the Libraries to establish two Jay Information Literacy Visiting Librarian positions. These provide critical capacity for Libraries’ Teaching and Learning needs.
The Jay Bicentennial information literacy scholarship
Jay leveraged the Bicentennial Campaign match to establish the Jay Information Literacy Scholarship. This annual award allows graduate students to gain critical experiential learning through the information literacy program.
Inaugural recipient Madeleine Gaiser credits her Jay Information Literacy Scholar work as a deciding factor in her transition to her first full-time position as online learning and instruction specialist at the University of Cincinnati. “It gave me hands-on work and education beyond the theoretical stuff I had learned in trainings or in classes,” Gaiser specified. “My boss has told me I got this position because I had actual experience and didn’t just learn about it.”
The Sarah L. Luckay Wylie House Museum scholarship
Luckay has loyally supported the Herman B Wells Library Endowment Fund, the Lilly Library, and the Wylie House Museum Fund on an annual basis. She established deferred gifts by designating the Wylie House Museum and Lilly Library each as a retirement fund beneficiary.
“I love the Lilly Library,” Luckay commented. “As an MLS student, I had a couple of classes there. The whole feel of that place is quite special.” The Arts & and Sciences Department of Libraries became the School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) at the spring graduation ceremony where Luckay got her degree in 1966. She recalled that the first SLIS Dean, Margaret Rufsvold, taught Hilda Jay when the department was first formed in the early 1940s. Many years later, Rufsvold taught the daughters, some of her final students, the last semester Dean Rusvold taught.
The Sarah L. Luckay Wylie House Scholarship will support undergraduate and/or graduate students working in the restored home of IU’s first president, Andrew Wylie. Her decision to endow this award is a tribute to two very special people in her life.
After Ellen Jay was born, grandmother Hilda Lease came to live with the Jay Family. Luckay was particularly close to her maternal grandmother, whom she affectionately called “Bamber.” Luckay was inspired by the many sacrifices Bamber made so that Hilda Jay could attend IU. Bamber also instilled in Luckay a life-long love of gardening. When Luckay visited Wylie House during Colloquium, the Museum’s heirloom gardens reminded her of Bamber’s influence.
During retirement, Luckay has been an active volunteer with a wide range of Columbus, Ohio-based organizations. For instance, she tapes books for VOICEcorps ("audio access to the world" 24/7 radio programming for visually disabled individuals).
Richard Luckay, her husband, also volunteered there. They met, fell in love, and were together for 13 years before Richard Luckay passed in July 2021. The Luckays traveled extensively during that time, often through trips organized by the IU Alumni Association or the Ohio State University (Dick's alma mater) Alumni Association. “My darling husband said he was going to take care of me (in his estate), and he did,” Luckay stated. “I am using a portion of that money to help fund the scholarship. He and I supported a wide range of organizations. In a way, this becomes my memory of him.”
The fund will generate its first award in the spring of 2023. But according to Wylie House Director Carey Champion, it is already impacted the mission. “I recently completed my proposal for the 2022-23 student employee budget. It was so wonderful to know that, in little over a year, Sarah’s incredibly generous gift will make this a much easier endeavor,” Champion marveled. “This is invaluable, especially for the type of student we expect to recruit for this scholarship – one who is responsible for assisting with research, instruction, reference, and curation.”
A meaning behind every gift
While the Jay Family has profoundly impacted the Libraries, their thoughtful dedication is visible throughout the Bloomington campus. For instance, when Luckay attended her 50th class reunion, she attended Simic and former Vice-President for Administration Terry Clapacs’ presentation on how philanthropy has impacted the campus landscape. This presentation motivated Sarah to name a Metz Carillon bench in honor of her IU family legacy. “The bench is near the carillon which ties into our music interest, as well as being near the centerpiece of the campus.”
Luckay has another affinity with landscaping on campus. “IU Director of Landscape Architecture, Mia Williams, is Rudy Pozzatti’s daughter,” she explained. “When I graduated from IU, my present was the money to buy a Rudy Pozzatti lithograph that still hangs on my living room wall." The late Pozzatti was an IU faculty member and renowned printmaker.
The Jay Family footprint is also visible in the Indiana Memorial Union (IMU). When Sarah was a member of the Union Board, she accompanied then-IMU Director Harold Jordan to an art show and persuaded him to purchase a painting of a cactus, and it is still on display. John Jay’s Union Board Reunion photo can be found next to the fireplace in the IMU Lounge. And Luckay says her mother’s all-time favorite painting is one of a little girl and jack-o’-lantern that is now in the Tudor Room.
During her undergraduate and graduate school tenures, Farina said that faculty members often began the first class of the semester by asking each student to introduce themselves by sharing a unique fact. “I would always talk about being the third generation of my family to attend IU,” Farina said. “Every time I am in the IMU, I go say a silent hello to my grandfather’s picture and look at the President’s Circle recognition.”
“Next time I’m on campus, I will go by the Metz Carillon, sit on the bench, and do some reflection,” she concluded. “I think part of what adds to the feeling of connection to IU is that it is in my blood.”