Indiana State University’s First Couple, President Daniel Bradley and First Lady Cheri Bradley, were honored with a gala on Oct. 20, 2017, that raised nearly $240,000 to support State Works, a career-readiness scholarship.

Described as “visionary” and “impactful,” the Bradleys were lauded by past university presidents, federal, state and local officials, employees, students and friends. The Bradleys retired at the end of fall semester 2017. 

“Many people might think the impact that Dan and Cheri have made on our university, our community and most importantly, on our students is immeasurable, but as we have learned from the Bradley presidency, there are benchmarks for everything,” joked Dave Campbell, chair of the ISU Board of Trustees. “The reality is that the goodwill and morale created by these two incredible individuals cannot always be quantified, but its impact can be visibly felt.”

Also during the ceremony, the Bradleys were presented with honorary alumni status by the ISU Alumni Association, and their official portrait as First Couple was unveiled. Painted by Bill Wolfe, it will join the 10 portraits of the university’s other past presidents in the Heritage Lounge of Tirey Hall. 

“When it came time to commission the portrait of our 11th president, the board decided that this portrait should properly reflect the partnership that Dan and Cheri brought to this presidency. Therefore, we decided it should be a portrait of both of them,” said trustee Jeff Taylor.

The President’s Medal for Leadership, Scholarship and Service given to an outstanding student from each graduating class will be renamed the Daniel J. Bradley Medal for Leadership, Scholarship and Service, announced Professor Liz Brown, chair of the Faculty Senate.

“While he may be a data-driven engineer, he also cares deeply about individuals, particularly our students and their success,” Brown said. “The first newly named medal will be awarded in conjunction with winter commencement in December.”

Bradley was also presented with a replica of the Indiana State University Presidential Medallion in recognition of his service.

“Universities are interesting places that have traditions that are not found in the corporate world with which I am familiar,” said trustee Randy Minas. “The origins of academic dress date back to the 12th and 13th centuries and evolved by the flowing gowns worn by the clergy. In addition to the gowns, anyone attending commencement ceremonies today will witness various combinations of hoods, hats, cords, sashes, stoles and tassels worn by the faculty and graduating students. But only one individual - the president - wears the President’s Medallion.”

Cheri Bradley was presented with a pair of earrings to match a necklace made out of pieces of glass from the original Normal Hall stained-glass dome that her husband gave her as a Christmas gift.

“Cheri, we hope that whenever you wear these, you will remember that special evening and the way that the lighting of the dome illuminated everyone’s faces and touched everyone’s hearts,” said Peggy Campbell. “Please know that you have had a similar effect on everyone who has come into contact with you. You have been a constant source of inspiration and have illuminated our lives with your compassion, your enthusiasm and your friendship. Thank you for being our ‘Keeper of the Light.’”

Last month, Cheri Bradley was awarded the Keeper of the Light distinction at the Torchbearer Awards presented by the Indiana Commission on Women.