Scholarships play an integral role in the lives of students at Herron School of Art and Design. Behind each scholarship you’ll find a unique and inspiring story.
Edgar and Dorothy Fehnel, or Ed and Dottie as they are more likely known, have been supporting Herron students since 2000 with two special scholarships—the Fehnel Family Foundation International Study Scholarship and the Fehnel Family Fine Arts Scholarship.
Ed’s career with Eli Lilly and Company, serving as vice president of Lilly International and vice president of Elanco Animal Health, exposed Dottie and their three children to the world.
Elanco’s manager in France had a niece, Claire de la Tour who was an art student. Ed shares, “Our daughter Holly was studying French so we organized a travel abroad trip. Holly visited Claire’s family one summer and Claire stayed with us the next. Before her return to France, we visited the National Gallery and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she shared her knowledge of the collections of French Art.”
He adds, “In 1959, Dottie and I participated in a trip offered by the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) to the Pont Aven School of Art in Brittany, France. We were extremely impressed with the quality of the program and the dedication of its students.”
As an outgrowth of that trip, IMA’s Ellen Lee arranged a meeting with Herron’s dean, Valerie Eickmeier. Soon the Fehnel Family Foundation International Study Scholarship was established to provide support to Herron students studying at Pont Aven.
“The scholarship recipients seemed so inspired and grateful for the experience to study abroad that we soon created another scholarship,” Dottie shares. In 2002, the Fehnel Family Fine Arts Scholarship was established to recognize outstanding undergraduate students who have passed sophomore review and who demonstrate financial need.
“We provide our scholarships because we believe in supporting young artists,” Ed shares. “Each recipient we have met seems extremely dedicated and committed to their educational and artistic goals. We want to help the students have a richer experience and help them attain their dreams and goals.”
The Fehnel scholarships play a significant role in impacting Herron’s students—with 22 students having benefitted from Ed and Dottie’s generosity. The Fehnels enjoy meeting each student and getting to know them a bit better. They have purchased works by scholarship recipient Christie Blizard (B.F.A., 2001) who says the Fehnel Family Foundation International Study Scholarship changed the direction of her academic and professional career.