Muncie Central HS Alumni Association Recognizes Distinguished Alumni for 2023

Forrest Bowers, a 1957 graduate of Muncie Central and chairman of the Muncie Central Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumni Committee, presents Marilyn Weaver, 1961, with her Distinguished Alumni Award plaque.Forrest Bowers, a 1957 graduate of Muncie Central and chairman of the Muncie Central Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumni Committee, presents Marilyn Weaver, 1961, with her Distinguished Alumni Award plaque. Photo provided

By Sheryl Swingley—

MUNCIE, IN—The Muncie Central High School Alumni Association at its annual meeting in November recognized three distinguished alumni and gave an honorary award to the five Central alumnae for their founding of Delta Theta Tau sorority, which grew into a national organization.

The three alumni recognized for their distinguished careers and contributions to their community and Muncie Central were Bob Barnet, who graduated in 1929; Ryan Kerrigan, 2007; and Marilyn Weaver, 1961.

Muncie’s legendary sportswriter, Barnet, was recognized posthumously. He is probably one of the few people to see the Bearcats win all eight of its basketball state championships. He witnessed the first one as a student at Muncie Central in 1928; he wrote from courtside about the next six championships; and he probably watched Muncie Central win its eighth championship in 1988 from the stands. By 1988, he had been retired from daily reporting for about six years. He was a full-time journalist at The Muncie Star for 52 years, and a part-time write for the newspaper until he died on Christmas day in 1996.

During his career, Barnet also covered high school football, and he is a member of the Indiana Football Hall of Fame. He covered Ball State University and Big Ten sports, including several bowl games. He wrote about 40 Kentucky Derby races and a similar number of Indianapolis 500 races. He wrote about numerous World Series games and championship boxing matches. He covered harness racing. For 25 years, Barnet was the track announcer for harness racing at the Indiana State Fair.

When Barnet was inducted into the Indiana Journalism Hall Fame in 1990, his output of articles was described as unmatched by any other Indiana writer of news or sports. For his excellent work – whether it be for sports writing, feature writing or columns – he was honored numerous times at the national, state, and local levels by The Associated Press, United Press International and the Hoosier State Press Association.

Kerrigan’s outstanding high school career in football, basketball and baseball made him an outstanding football recruit for Purdue University. At Purdue, Kerrigan distinguished himself nationally, and during this senior year, some of his honors were Big 10 Defensive Player of the year, Lombardi Award for Outstanding Lineman, Lott Trophy Player of the Year and Academic All-American.

Upon graduation from Purdue University, Kerrigan, was drafted in 2011 by the then Washington Redskins in the first round and 16th overall. In his very first game as an NFL player, Kerrigan intercepted a pass thrown by Eli Manning and returned it for a touchdown, which was the start of his notable career as a professional football player. Kerrigan played 10 years with the Washington team and was named to the NFL All-Pro team four times during his career.  His first All-Pro game was during his second season as a professional player.

Kerrigan broke Washington’s all-time sacks record, recording 95.5 sacks before going to Philadelphia where he played for the Eagles for one year. He was then traded back to Washington so he could retire with the Washington team. Kerrigan is currently coaching the defensive ends for the Washington Commanders, formerly the Washington Redskins.

Weaver’s résumé has pages and pages of single-line accomplishments that represent her more than 50 years in education. Her career includes many titles and too many accomplishments to mention. She started her career as a director of high school publications at two schools. Even before she joined the journalism faculty at Ball State University in 1977, she was Ball State’s high school journalism workshop director and created one of the nation’s most respected and rigorous workshops because of its up-to-date curricula. Under her leadership the workshop was attended by more than 23,250 high school students from every state in the nation, as well as Japan and Germany.

After joining Ball State, she added the following roles: sequence coordinator of journalism secondary education; coordinator of the high school and junior high journalism days; adviser to Ball State’s yearbook; tenured full professor; assistant department chairwoman; and department chairwoman. She held all these positions for at least 10 years and some for more than 20 years.

Weaver is one of the nation’s most recognized and honored college journalism professors and administrators. Her national awards, not including state awards and the numerous times she has been honored by Ball State, are too many to list, but she has favorites: the Scripps Howard Foundation Journalism Administrator of the Year Award, the Gold Key from Columbia Scholastic Press Association, and the Pioneer Award from the National Scholastic Press Association. Weaver also is a member of the Ball State Journalism Hall of Fame, which recognizes Ball State journalism alumni from around the nation for their outstanding careers.

An honorary award was presented to the Alpha Chapter of Delta Theta Tau. More than 120 years ago on Oct. 16, 1903, five Muncie Central girls founded the Alpha Chapter of Delta Theta Tau. Since its founding, it has become a national sorority with 71 active chapters and 25 alumni chapters. Each chapter makes donations to and serves as volunteers for many of their communities’ nonprofits.

The Delta Theta Tau Alpha Chapter of Muncie, which is still active, has made donations and given service hours to the Ball Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, Kate’s Cart, Muncie Mission, First Choice for Women, Soup Kitchen of Muncie, Alpha Center, Bridges, Friends Church Food pantry, Ronald McDonald House, and many others during its 120-year history.

The founding members’ names of the Alpha Chapter of Delta Theta Tau are recognizable in Muncie history: Ethel Busch, Nora Spurgeon, Olive Spurgeon, Betsy Gordon, Charlene Prutzman Rector.   The Prutzman family made and supplied the bricks for the first Muncie High School, which opened in 1915 on South High Street. All these families were prominent in establishing Muncie, before and during the Gas Boom.

The Muncie Central Alumni Association supports its awards program, student scholarships and student assistance program, as well as teacher grants, through memberships in the Muncie Central Alumni Association and donations to the association. The association also financially supports, curates and operates the MCHS Alumni Association Memorabilia Room. The memorabilia room is open approximately 30 minutes before Muncie Central boys basketball games: Dec. 30, Jan. 1, Jan. 20, Feb. 1, Feb. 6, Feb. 9, Feb. 10 and Feb. 23. The Memorabilia Room also will be open during boys basketball tournament play.

Membership forms for Muncie Central alumni and non-alumni interested in supporting Muncie Central are available from Membership forms and donations may be mailed to Muncie Central Alumni Association, 6604 W. Talamore Court, Yorktown, IN 47396. Checks should be made payable to MCHS Alumni Association.