(l-r) Tim Brown, speaker and Heisman Trophy winner, Vivian and Arnold Sallie at Bethel’s 2021 Give Back Gala.

Arnold and Vivian Sallie agree that if you are going to be part of a community, you should do whatever you can to make it a better place. For them, that has meant involvement in programs that help to build community and impact diversity development in South Bend/Mishawaka. They also see an opportunity to change the world through supporting the Billy Kirk Leadership Award at Bethel University. Students who meet the requirements to receive this financial support are not only from the United States, but around the world.

Originally from Illinois, the Sallies came to Indiana in 1991, when Arnold was transferred for his job with Xerox Corporation in Louisville, Ky. Vivian, who had worked for Humana Inc., for several years, took the opportunity to start a business, Sallie and Associates, LLC. Their many years of work and volunteering, while raising five children, made them aware of the needs of the underserved in their community.

Their Bethel connection began when Vivian was invited to campus by former Bethel President Norman Bridges, Ph.D., whom she served with on the St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce Board. Around the same time, Vivian and Arnold worked with Dennis Engbrecht, Ph.D., former Bethel professor and senior vice president, on community endeavors for racial harmony and unity. Then, in the mid-1990s, Engbrecht, Rev. Billy Kirk (of Greater St. John Missionary Baptist Church, where the Sallies attend) and others, led a group called CURE (Community Religious Effort), that protested a march by area Ku Klux Klan members in South Bend.

After Rev. Kirk passed away, Bethel created a scholarship in his name. It was first awarded in the 2009-10 school year and has been awarded 79 times since 2012-13. Arnold and Vivian continue to support Bethel and the scholarship that honors their pastor.

“For Bethel to acknowledge that relationship … via a scholarship, and also put some money behind it, just spoke volumes to us,” Arnold says.

He is also honored to serve as a Board of Trustees member since 2013. The value he sees Bethel offering the local community is evident through its mission.

“The faith values of Bethel align more closely with my belief system and that resonates very well with me. I’m not saying that it’s practices are perfect, because if they were perfect then I would not be able to fit in,” he says.

Vivian serves on several community boards and assists non-profit organizations, including Bethel’s Institutional Advancement office several years ago. She is pleased to watch Bethel grow from the quiet little college tucked away in Mishawaka, to a dynamic university that attracts students from around the world.

She says, “We are inspired by students who share their amazing stories of the sacrifices they have made and their extraordinary efforts to get a Bethel education.”

She adds, “I think that it’s important to give to something that’s relevant to you and your interests. You don’t need a very large bank account to make a difference. At Bethel you are made to feel that whatever gift you give matters. Arnold and I are just one example of what happens when an organization takes the time to build a relationship and practice good stewardship.”

Join the Sallies in giving back at BethelUniversity.edu/Give.