a BOLD milestone

$100 million raised

Billy Joe and Nerissa Jay

$100,000 gift to ISU’s Theater Department furthers experiential learning for the arts

Billy Joe and Nerissa Jay, avid supporters of arts and education, made a generous gift of $100,000 to Indiana State University’s Theater Department on Give to Blue Day. This gift was made in honor of their daughter-in-law Dr. Alicia Jay, Assistant Professor of Theater Management and Administration at ISU.

Alicia was a social media ambassador on Give to Blue Day, and had shared the giving link with her family, which spurred this transformative donation. She has played a significant role in Billy Joe and Nerissa’s connection to the arts over the course of her time at Indiana State.

In the summer of 2021, the Department of Theater’s summer program, Crossroads Repertory Theatre, produced its season online. While online theater had its challenges, there was one advantage: accessibility. One of the shows that season, I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti by Jacqués Lamarre, inspired Billy Joe and Nerissa to have spaghetti for dinner while streaming the play; they have been champions of the department ever since Alicia shared her students’ excitement for theater with them that summer. (Actor photographed: Elieen Earnest)

When we visited campus, we were able to tour multiple areas in the Theater Department and see the meticulous work being done behind-the-scenes. Alicia was so engaged in her explanations of how each area was used—we know that with this gift, she and Indiana State University can develop and enhance each student’s journey in the arts, and their futures.” 

-Billie Joe and Nerissa Jay

Alicia’s passion for theater and students studying the craft has shown the Jays that there are eager, innovative teachers and individuals in need of such creativity. Her inclusive teaching approach, where each student is embraced with equality and without discrimination, makes her an invaluable asset to Indiana State University and the surrounding community. 

Billy Joe and Nerissa’s generous gift to the ISU Department of Theater is an opportunity to help many students over the next few years—especially through scholarships and outside-of-the-classroom learning experiences.”

-Alicia Jay, Assistant Professor of Theater Management and Administration

The significant contribution made by Billy Joe and Nerissa Jay will undoubtedly strengthen educational opportunities within the Theater Department at Indiana State. Their generous gift will enable the department to further its commitment to empowering students as they embrace their creativity and contribute to the cultural and artistic enrichment of society.