Four honored with 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award

From left to right, Carole Ames, David Ambler, Dean Lemuel Watson, Marilyn Friend, Sandi Cole, Center Director of Indiana Institute on Disability and Community, and Karen Schuster Webb

Four alumni who made their mark on the education world were honored with this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award from the School of Education. David Ambler, Carole Ames, Marilyn Friend and Karen Schuster Webb were selected for the award because of their leadership and contributions in the fields of higher education and special education.

“These four alumni have dedicated their careers to improving teaching and learning across their fields,” Dean Lemuel Watson remarked. “Their contributions to the world of education are inspiring, and we’re honored to give them this award.”

The alumni were honored at a dinner celebration on October 26.


David A. Ambler, Ed.D.

David Ambler, a native of Hammond, Indiana, received three degrees from Indiana University: a B.S. in business administration, an M.P.A. in public administration and an Ed.D. in educational administration. He was a member of the Dean of Student’s staff at IU from 1961 through 1966, working in student residence life. In 1966 he became assistant dean of men at Kent State University and served in several positions prior to being named vice president for student affairs in August 1970.

His appointment as vice president came three months after the tragedy at an anti-war protest that left four students dead and nine students seriously wounded. At that time, he was one of the youngest persons to be appointed a senior student affairs officer at a major state university. Ambler assisted in reopening the university and aided the effort to restore student, alumni and the public’s confidence in the university after the tragedy.

He was appointed vice chancellor for student affairs at the University of Kansas in 1977 and served in that position until his retirement in 2002. Additionally, he held the rank of adjunct associate professor in the School of Education where he worked with graduate students interested in pursuing careers in higher education.

He was active in national professional organizations and served as president of the Foundation of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators. In 2000 he received the Fred Turner Award for Outstanding Service to NASPA and was designated a Distinguished Pillar of the Profession in 2016. In 1987 he received the Robert H. Shaffer Distinguished Alumni Award from IU. Upon his retirement, the University of Kansas established the David A. Ambler Leadership Development Fund, and in 2007 the Kansas Board of Regents named the new Student Recreation-Fitness Center at KU in his honor.

Ambler is married to May Kate Harris Ambler, a graduate of the School of Education. They have two adult daughters and three grandchildren.


Carole Ames, Ph.D.

Carole Ames served as dean of the College of Education and professor of educational psychology at Michigan State University for 18 years, retiring in August 2012. She earned a B.A. in psychology in 1967 and an M.S. in education in 1968 from Indiana University and a Ph.D. in psychological sciences in 1976 from Purdue University. Prior to her appointment at MSU, she served on the faculties at the University of Maryland and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and then as chair of the Department of Educational Psychology at UIUC. During her tenure as dean, the College of Education was recognized by the U.S. News and World Report with over seven graduate programs consistently ranked among the top ten. She launched new initiatives including the establishment of the Education Policy Center, the Office of K-12 Outreach, Global and Urban Educator's Cohort Programs and online graduate programs.

Dr. Ames has been recognized as a leader in research on the development of academic motivation and has published extensively on the effects of classroom structures and teaching practices on student motivation to learn. For her scholarship, she was awarded fellow status from Division 15 of the American Psychological Association.

Her service to the profession has included vice president of Division E (Counseling and Human Development) of the American Educational Research Association, board of directors for the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, executive board of the Council of Academic Deans from Research Education Institutions, chair of the Council of Education Deans for the Council of Independent Colleges/Big Ten Institutions, Fulbright Commission committees, editorial boards, National Research Council Committees of the National Academies, and long-standing membership on the Dean’s Advisory Board for the IU School of Education. Her range of contributions has also been recognized through an Honorary Alumni Award from Michigan State University and a Distinguished Friend Award from the Purdue University School of Education.


Marilyn Friend, Ph.D.

Marilyn Friend has spent her career as a general education and special education teacher in both Virginia and Indiana, a researcher, professor, administrator, and teacher educator in Oklahoma, Illinois, Indiana, and North Carolina and a staff developer in 48 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and many other countries. She received both her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Special Education from Indiana University. Friend is professor emerita of education in the Department of Specialized Education Services at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she served as department chairperson, and she is a Fulbright scholar. She is past president of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), the largest international professional organization dedicated to improving the educational success and other outcomes of children and youth with disabilities and/or gifts and talents. She currently resides in Washington, DC.

Friend has consulted with school professionals nationally and internationally, including more than 3,500 presentations and projects in the United States, Canada, Central America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia, as they collaborate to educate diverse groups of students, assisting them to create classroom partnerships through co-teaching; form productive and efficient work teams; and foster inclusive practices for students with disabilities. She is the author or co-author of three widely used college textbooks on special education topics; a variety of co-teaching materials for teachers and administrators; more than 70 articles and chapters about collaboration, inclusive practices and co-teaching; and a popular video series on co-teaching, effective instruction and other inclusive practices. Her materials have been translated into Danish, Mandarin, Italian, Portuguese and Japanese. In recognition of her contributions, Friend was named the 2016 recipient of the Teacher Education Division (CEC)/Pearson Excellence in Special Education Teacher Education Award.


Karen Schuster Webb, Ph.D.

Karen Schuster Webb is a visionary leader of more than 30 years in higher education. In 2018 she was selected as the sixth president of the Union Institute & University System and initiated The Union Institute for Social Justice. Union is a private non-profit university with centers in California, Florida and Ohio; it also serves Jamaica and offers online programs.

Prior to her presidential appointment at Union, Webb served as president of the Antioch University-Midwest Campus. Before Antioch, she was associate provost for community engagement and founded the California School of Education at Alliant International University System, becoming its founding dean. Her previous positions also included leadership at both public and private universities, as well as international consultancies, most recently in Nairobi, Kenya.

Throughout her career, Webb has dedicated herself to the pursuit of equity of access to educational excellence. Recently, she was honored with the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Gestalt Center for Organization and Systems Development, and among her other accolades for leadership and teaching, Webb was named as one of the Top 25 Women in Higher Education and Beyond by Diverse Issues in Higher Education Magazine. In addition, she has been named chair of the American Council on Education’s Women’s Network Executive Council. Moreover, she serves on the Advisory Board of the William V. S. Tubman University Foundation in Harper, Liberia; the Board of Every Child Succeeds in Cincinnati, Ohio; and the Southwestern Ohio Council of Higher Education Board of Trustees.

Webb holds three degrees from IU Bloomington: a B.A. in Spanish, an M.S. in Education and a Ph.D. in English Education: Second Language Studies. Webb is also the proud mother of Ramona Webb of Oakland, California, and Wallace H. Webb, III of Beavercreek, Ohio.