Michael Jack was only 17 when he graduated from high school and headed off to college. “I didn’t have a sense of what I wanted to do,” he said.
However, he quickly discovered that finance and business were a good fit for his interests. So Jack became a member of the first class to graduate from Indiana State University — which actually not as long ago as it sounds. The Class of 1965 was the first to graduate when Indiana State College changed its name to Indiana State University.
The class will celebrate its 50th reunion on Aug. 1. “My first reaction is it can’t be 50 years,” Jack said. “My second reaction is it is great to remember and celebrate one of the memorable times in my life and to also celebrate the 50th anniversary of Indiana State becoming a university.”
To help honor the occasion, Jack and close classmate Ed Andrews have established a 50th anniversary scholarship fund.
“Ed gets the credit for coming up with the idea,” Jack said. “It seemed like a terrific idea to me. Scholarship and availability of funding were very important to both of us, and we felt it would be an excellent recognition for our class if we could create the same type of help for potential candidates.”
Having companies come to Indiana State to recruit potential employees provided a big boost in his career, Jack added.
“I received a number of offers and picked one that in retrospect gave me a sound foundation to build on for my next career moves,” he said.
When Jack retired as senior vice president and corporate controller for Telephone and Data Systems Inc. — a Fortune 500 company with co-locations in Madison, Wisconsin, and Chicago — he and his family moved from Madison to Fishers, Ind. Jack and his wife, Judi, have four children: Jennifer, Michael, Amy and Christina.
But Jack is not one to rest on his laurels. “I flunked retirement,” he joked. “I am engaged in the CPA peer review process and have volunteered for nonprofit projects.”
He is also enjoying his lifelong interests in racecars and photography. Growing up in the Indiana community of Brazil, Jack said he “finally got on the race track in the 1980s and have been hooked ever since.
“Initially I did track days, eventually got my SCCA license and raced briefly. After that, I graduated to being an instructor for students at high-performance driving events. Those who understand what goes on, know one has to be mentally ill to get into a fast car with a student and have no control other than voice. “
Meanwhile, Jack started taking photographs at major races which piqued his interest in photography. This year, he said, “will be the first year I have completely given up the track for photography. My track car has been sold and a portion of the money reinvested in photography equipment and travel related to photography. I take mostly landscape, architecture and car images and have a website and exhibit my work in some galleries.”
Looking back over the past half century, Jack said he is so glad he discovered Indiana State and would recommend it to prospective students.
“It has a focus on the needs of the student, it offers a wide variety of educational opportunities and outstanding educators, it is right-sized — neither too small, hence expensive or too large, thus impersonal, and it offers a great educational value for the expense,” he said. “March on!”