Bennetts Honor and Strive to Improve DePauw Experience

Lisa Henderson Bennett ’93 and Isham Jay Bennett ’91 are passionate about the education DePauw provides not only through academic coursework, but also through servant leadership and student involvement. Lisa has served on the university’s Board of Trustees for 11 years and is the national chair of the Annual Giving committee. Jay is former chair of DePauw’s Board of Visitors. “We both have served on numerous reunion committees,” Lisa said recently while on campus for the 25th reunion of the Class of 1993, “and we continue to mentor students over a number of current and graduated classes.”

 While students at DePauw, Lisa and Jay each served as a resident assistant (RA), student orientation leader and president of the Association of African American Students (AAAS). “We’re fond of the leadership experiences including the challenges and opportunities of having served as AAAS president during a pivotal time in DePauw’s history of diversity and inclusion,” Lisa said. “The friendships that we made and have maintained, while at DePauw and certainly as alumni, are truly precious to us and keep us engaged and excited for the future. Faculty and staff who made a tremendous impression on us during our formative years as critical thinking individuals and leaders have had a lasting impact.”

Lisa and Jay agree that former DePauw President Robert Bottoms had a significant impact on their lives when they were DePauw students and as active alumni. “His leadership commitment to diversity during his tenure as president and his friendship and counsel to us both afterward have been influential in our giving,” Lisa said.

Jay added, “Dr. Mac Dixon-Fyle’s passion for instruction and holistic education prompts us to do what we can to continue to improve the academic environment with the best faculty working with the best students.”

Their DePauw experience has served them well and continues to be influential in the way they lead their lives as business and community leaders. “The importance of women of color succeeding in the sciences has been a driver in my vocational success and civic involvement,” said Lisa, who majored in chemistry. “It has now become the genesis of my entrepreneurial pursuits.”

Lisa operates a small business focused on science, technology, engineering and math education and workshops for pre-school and elementary school children. She also is a stay-at-home mom to six-year-old daughter Lauryn and is active in Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.; The Links Inc.; Mocha Moms; and Jack and Jill of America.

Jay is vice president of human resources for Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company; an active alumni member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.; and a member of the Board of Directors for the Connecticut Yankee Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

Jay said DePauw influenced him as he developed skills in leadership and relationships that kept him grounded in his human resources and labor relations career. “I have had the good fortune and consider it a blessing to influence people and organizations on a global scale,” he said.

Loyal philanthropic supporters of the university, Lisa said, “We are proud to be members of the Washington C. DePauw Lifetime Society and regularly give to The Fund for DePauw while also providing an endowed student scholarship. We felt it important to be involved in the establishment of the Justin and Darrianne Christian Center for Diversity and Inclusion and were honored to fund the Bennett Library in the phenomenal facility that is the result of the Christians’ generosity.

“We give to honor the support we’ve seen demonstrated by some of the alumni who came before us and who had their own personal struggles while at DePauw, but who evidenced a love and commitment for the students who would follow them. With the critical mass of alumni of color who now have the capacity to do so much more, we hope that our gifts provide a similar stimulus that inspires that same love and commitment from others.”

To learn more about how you can become involved with DePauw, contact the Development and Alumni Engagement Office at 800-446-5298.

Back to Full List