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Ball State at 100: An Indiana Institution Evolves

Ball State used to be a branch of Indiana State. As a university they offer many more degrees now. You may not have known a few other facts.

MUNCIE, Ind.--Ball State University is 100 years old. But, the university part is actually a lot younger. The different names that have been on the sign are just part of the evolution of the Indiana institution. A new book titled "Ball State University", tells the century-old (plus) story.

"We're trying to tell the story in images, under the general idea that a picture's worth a thousand words," said history professor Bruce Geelhoed, co-author of the book. "So, we have more than 200 images."

LINK: Amazon.com "Ball State University"

The book was also written by Brandon T. Pieczko and Michael G. Szajewski. 

Ball State evolved from schools that were formed in Muncie to train teachers. It became a state college in 1918. 

"One interesting aspect of the history of Ball State that probably a lot of people may not be familiar with is that Ball State began in 1918 as a branch campus of Indiana State," said Geelhoed. "It went from 1918 to 1928 as a branch, and then became a separate institution called Ball State Teacher's College, and then Ball State University in 1965."

On the front of the book, people are seen removing the letters that spelled out "Teacher's College", to be replaced with "University". With that status, came a much larger responsibility.

"Ball State's made this transition from basically an institution that trained teachers for the public schools," said Geelhoed. "But, we had to make the transition from that once we became a university and had university status."

Now the school is known for offering degrees in a diverse set of programs, including telecommunications, allied health, and mass media.

Just two of many famous alums of Ball State include David Letterman, for whom the media school is named, and Garfield creator Jim Davis.

"We have a tremendous story as the institution that served students and faculty primarily in central Indiana, but elsewhere. Having been on the faculty since 1975, I think Ball State gets better every year."

PHOTOS: Chris Davis/Emmis

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