Proceeds will benefit students from Fulton County
KOKOMO, Ind. — Rochester banker Richard Belcher has been recognized for his gift of $15,000 to endow a scholarship fund at Ivy Tech Community College earmarked to support students from Fulton County.
The gift establishes the Suzanne B. and Richard E. Belcher Scholarship through the Ivy Tech Foundation. The scholarship is named in honor of Belcher and his late wife, Suzanne, who passed away two years ago. He presented a commemorative check at a recent meeting of the Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo Region Board of Trustees.
Students applying for the scholarship must attend a Kokomo Region campus or instructional site, must live in Fulton County, and must demonstrate financial need. The scholarship may be used for tuition, fees, and books.
“Suzanne was always committed to providing opportunities for higher education,” Belcher said. “This endowment is designed to continue that commitment long into the future.”
Kelly Karickhoff, executive director of resource development for Ivy Tech’s Kokomo Region, said, “Ivy Tech is able to continue to provide quality education because of the support of our communities. We are extremely grateful for this generous donation.”
Among those honoring the Belchers for their contributions to Ivy Tech were David Bathe, chancellor of the Kokomo & Lafayette Regions; Michelle Simmons, president of the Kokomo Campus; and Gloria Carvey, director of the Rochester Instructional Site.
Belcher founded First Federal Savings Bank in 1966 in the back room of a grocery store. In the last 50 years, the bank has grown from one employee to 150 employees in six locations in Northern Indiana. He served as president of First Federal until Dec. 31, 2015, when he took the title of CEO/chairman of the bank’s board.
Along with many other community service roles, Belcher currently serves as a member of Ivy Tech’s Kokomo Region Board of Trustees. He was instrumental in the construction of the Rochester learning center built in conjunction with the Rochester School System and Ivy Tech and he and his wife supported its LEED certification acknowledging “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.”
Belcher also is on the board of trustees of Woodland Hospital and Rochester Telephone Communications and he served on the board of Ancilla College for nine years. A graduate of Purdue University, he and Suzanne were honored with the Pinnacle Award by the President’s Council at Purdue for their philanthropic contribution to the university. The Belchers endowed what is known as “the green chair” to support a faculty member in the College of Agriculture to promote environmental sustainability.
He has served as president of many organizations in the community, including Rochester Kiwanis Club, Rochester Chamber of Commerce, Fulton County Cancer Society, United Way and the Fulton County Library Holding Committee. He assisted Toastmaster International in establishing the first Toastmaster Club in the Soviet Union in 1988. He was honored with the Rochester Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Citizen Award in 1992 and he and Suzanne received the award jointly in 2012.
In the banking profession, he was honored as the Northern Indiana Financial Entrepreneur of the Year in 1997. He has served on the Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis Board of Directors and is past president of the Indiana Bankers Association.
Suzanne Belcher’s commitment to education grew as she earned a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University in speech pathology and audiology and a master’s degree from Ball State University in speech pathology. For a combined 25 years, she served Fulton County Schools and Argos School as a speech pathologist. She was active in the United Methodist Church and as a member of the Fulton County Library of Trustees, she was instrumental in spearheading the new library that exists today.
For more information on the scholarship or opportunities to support Ivy Tech, contact Karickhoff at 765-252-5501 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org .