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Sunday, April 14, 2024

A Piece of the Puzzle

When Jack Barner crosses the University of Evansville campus, it’s the updates and renovations that stand out to him.

As the vice president for development and alumni relations, Barner’s primary responsibility is fundraising for the university — connecting with alumni and addressing the needs of the university.

“I can walk around the campus and see the impact of this office,” says Barner. “The buildings that are there, we didn’t build those, we didn’t design those, but we kind of helped make them happen. As I walk around campus I can see the scholarship money, the endowment money. It is humbling what people do.”

Barner’s office is located in the John L. and Belle Igleheart Building at UE, which was formerly the president’s home. Built in 1928, the Iglehearts donated the funds for it to be built and his office was once used as the dining room. Wallace Graves was the last president to occupy the home before a new residence was donated in 1982 by longtime Evansville developer Guthrie May and his wife Alice, both alumni of Evansville College (now UE). (Read more about the president’s home in “Among Friends” in the April/May 2012 issue of Evansville Living.)

In his nearly 13 years at UE, Barner’s office has become an extension of his home. Decorating the walls are photographs from the previous universities he has worked, moments most memorable in his career, and of his wife Pat and their blended family.

Barner earned his bachelor’s degree at Siena College in Albany, New York, and his master’s at Saint Rose, also in Albany. He worked as a high school teacher for 19 years before being hired at Saint Rose, Colgate in Hamilton, New York, Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina, Elon University in Elon, North Carolina, and finally being hired by former UE president Steve Jennings at Oklahoma City University in Oklahoma — who he later followed to Evansville. He has served as a vice president for three universities.

Barner’s desk was a part of a donation from OFS Brands president and CEO Hank Menke who at one time donated several desks to UE. Two silver medals and a purple heart of his late father John Barner, a World War II veteran, grace the walls. Books primarily on history, wars, and leadership are seen throughout his office. Thumb-tacked behind his desk is a white piece of paper with practices of effective executives from “The Daily Drucker,” written by Peter F. Drucker. There are 15 employees that work in the Igleheart Building.

For more information about the John L. and Belle Igleheart Building and the University of Evansville, call 812-488-2361 or visit evansville.edu.

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