DAA 2016: Kenneth A. Beckley, BS’62

ken-beckley-mug-webKen Beckley has had a storied career in journalism, marketing and public relations since graduating from IU with a degree in radio-television in 1962.

Beckley served as news reporter and anchor in Terre Haute, Indianapolis and Asheville, North Carolina. He and co-anchor Howard Caldwell formed one of the first two-man anchor teams in Indiana, and they were a top-rated team at WRTV in Indianapolis.

After 14 years on the air, Beckley decided to step away from television news to spend more time with his family. He became the first director of university relations for IUPUI in 1977.

In 1983, his career took another turn. Beckley became vice president of marketing for Indiana-based appliances and electronics retailer H.H. Gregg. He was the face and voice of the company on radio and television commercials for nearly 18 years.

He retired as executive vice president at H.H. Gregg in 2001 and was appointed president and CEO of the Indiana University Alumni Association, after volunteering for the organization and IU for more than 30 years. During his tenure from 2002 to 2007, he cultivated unprecedented growth in the association, with significant increases in membership and the establishment of the $9 million Jerry F. Tardy Operating Endowment.

Beckley retired from the IU Alumni Association in 2007, then embarked on yet another use of his writing skills. After reporting on the facts for decades, he fulfilled a years-long goal to write fiction. His first novel, Knuckleball: The Uncertainties of (a) Life, was well received when it was published in 2012. His success inspired him to write his second novel, An Act of Frustration, published in 2016.

Beckley has received countless awards for excellence in his career and for his service to communities throughout Indiana. Among his awards are IU’s Distinguished Alumni Service Award, the Indiana University President’s Medal for Excellence and the IUPUI Maynard K. Hine Medal.

Beckley is a member of the Indiana Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame, where he has served as president. He is a past vice president of the Indianapolis Press Club. He is a charter member of The Media School’s Dean’s Advisory Board.

Ken and his wife, Audrey, recently made a gift to The Media School to support the installation of the new television studio in Franklin Hall. The Ken and Audrey Beckley Studio serves as a facility for broadcast production classes and workshops, as well as the student-run station IUSTV. The studio features cutting edge technology, allowing students to learn and work with the most up-to-date equipment, thanks to the Beckleys’ generosity.