Thanking our donors: Support that makes a lasting difference

A spotlight on our donors and recipients

Every year, dozens of Kelley School of Business Indianapolis students receive scholarships and awards at the annual awards breakfast.

Each scholarship is made possible by those who give selflessly to the Kelley School of Business at IUPUI.

In the upcoming blogs, we will highlight just a few of our donors and recipients, to thank them for the gifts that mean so much to so many.

Jamie Visker, BS’91, MBA’97, attended the Kelley School of Business at IUPUI for both his undergraduate and master of business administration degrees. Atlanta Visker, BA’92, MLS’94, received her undergraduate degree from IUPUI and her masters of library science from Indiana University. The couple met in high school in Danville, and they now reside in Florida. The Viskers continue to support Indiana University through scholarships and by giving of their time to speak to students and prospective students over the years. Jamie is the CEO and owner of Winona Powder Coating, Inc. Atlanta is a library media specialist in Jupiter, Florida.

Kelley Biz Blog: Tell us about your experience at the Kelley School and IUPUI. Do you have a “Kelley moment,” or a moment where you knew your time here was truly making a difference in your career path and life?

Jamie Visker, BS’91, MBA’97: My experience at the Kelley School for both undergrad and the MBA Program was exceptional. I attended the Indianapolis campus for both programs, and I found the level of dedication by the students was incredible.

With a tremendous percentage of students working while attending school full time, the commitment to obtaining an education and subsequent degree was complete. Leading study groups and helping each other prepare for exams was perfect training for the teamwork required to be successful in business.

Atlanta and Jamie Visker.

When I returned to IUPUI in 1995 to pursue the MBA program, I had no idea what was in store for my career after graduation. By that time, two separate employers of mine had changed commission plans, arbitrarily cutting my income. In both situations the employers felt I was earning too much for my age. It was incredibly disheartening! I knew that getting the Kelley School MBA would likely increase my odds of success in whatever path I took following graduation. I remember thinking at the time I started my MBA, that from that day on - I was much more in control of my future.

Atlanta Visker: My degrees are from the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI and the School of Library and Information Science in Bloomington (Now called the School of Informatics). I also gained so much from my education in both Indianapolis and Bloomington. I am happy to support IU students so they can receive the same experience I did. I received scholarships for both my undergraduate and graduate degrees, without which I could not have attended college.

I have fond memories of pursuing my undergraduate degree at IUPUI. I worked hard as a waitress at Chancellors and the Bistro restaurants at the University Place Conference Center. I usually worked from 6 am-2pm, and then I took classes in the afternoons and evenings. I learned how to manage my time ruthlessly, because along with a full course load, I was in plays and shows at the University Theater.

I had wonderful professors who would meet with me during their office hours and help me with essays or other assignments. I loved the opportunity to learn across disciplines with the liberal arts, and I took a wide variety of classes. I later became a librarian because I loved so many different classes, and I wanted to continue to learn and grow in the arts, sciences and literature throughout my life.

IUPUI’s proximity to downtown Indianapolis also gave me the opportunity to be hired as a co-op at IBM in the Bank One Tower, and I worked in the technical library and learned about the corporate world.

I love reading thank-you notes from the students who receive our scholarship because they are just like me—they work hard, grow in their understanding of the world and want more for their lives. IUPUI students have an enthusiasm for learning and a hunger for opportunity that Jamie and I share.

Kelley Biz Blog: Do you have any advice for current students?

Jamie Visker: My advice for current students is to focus on finding what subjects and areas of study excite them most. Use that same mindset when making a career choice. I have been lucky in most of my career to love waking up every day and going to work. I have also been blessed with being able to control my schedule which has allowed me to spend time with my family and be a part of my children's lives.

Atlanta Visker: My advice for current students is to take advantage of all the opportunities that IUPUI offers. One of the best classes I took was a mathematics course taught by a teaching assistant from Singapore. (I wish I remembered his name.) Every day immediately after class, he went to the basement of the library and had a study session, where he would help us with the assigned homework. I put that study session into my schedule and never missed that extra help. I would arrange my work schedule to keep that study session, and then, unsurprisingly, got an A in that class. We all knew the material because of the time he spent coaching us.

IUPUI has grown, and now there are even more opportunities on the campus to succeed in college and in life. I love that our scholarship funds travel abroad, because I never had opportunities to travel when I was in school. Traveling opens up the world, and it changes us in a positive way. IUPUI is a community of people that all share a desire to learn and grow, and current students need to jump into the mix of ideas so that they can change their lives.