Who We Are
Board of Advisors
The Bowen Center for Public Affairs Board of Advisors is responsible for providing on-going advice to the Center’s co-directors and provides evaluation of the various programs and projects of the Center. The board meets annually. The members are:
Rick Bowen joined the board in the spring of 2012 as the Bowen family representative. He was the men’s basketball team head coach for more than 20 years at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. Before coaching the Falcons, Mr. Bowen assisted the Wisconsin Badgers and the Ball State Cardinals basketball teams. He served as athletic director of University of Wisconsin-River Falls from 2004-2010. He is married and lives in River Falls, Wisconsin.
Gilde Breidenbach-Morrisson is an Administrative Appeals Judge for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C. She is a graduate of Ball State University and received her law degree from the University of Virginia.
Ronald Fields, is the state action chair for the Indiana NAACP. In this capacity, he works with local chapter presidents and political action chairs. He also serves as the second vice president and regional director for the southern district of the NAACP. He is married and lives in Jeffersonville, Indiana.
Merle S. King
Merle King is the Executive Director of the Center for Election Systems at Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, Georgia. He is the Emeritus Associate Professor of Computer Science at Kennesaw State, and is a nationally recognized expert on voting systems and election administration.
Billy Linville majored in political science at Ball State University, and has served as vice president of public affairs for AT&T where he led all public affairs activities in the eastern half of the United States and Europe. He left his position with AT&T in June 2013 to form the consulting firm Murphy Linville, LLC. He is now a strategic advisor at Baker Donelson. Linville lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife, Sherry.
Marissa Manlove is the President and CEO of Indiana Philanthropy Alliance. She earned a bachelor of arts in psychology from St. Louis University and a master’s in education from Indiana University. She has been awarded several honors including Distinguished Award Recipient by the Center for Leadership Development in 1990 and again in 1992.
Robert T. “Tad” Perry
Robert T. “Tad” Perry retired as executive director of the South Dakota Board of Regents in 2009. From 1971 to 1994, he was a professor of political science at Ball State University, where he also served as the university’s liaison with state government. He has served as the chair of the State Higher Education Executive Officers as well as the treasurer of the National Association of System Heads. While at Ball State he was the co-creator, along with Dr. Raymond H. Scheele, of the Bowen Institute on Political Participation. Dr. Perry also served as state representative in the South Dakota Legislature from 2010-2012. He lives with his wife, Carolyn in Fort Pierre, South Dakota.
Bart Peterson is the senior vice president of corporate affairs and communications at Eli Lilly and Company. He is the former two-term mayor of Indianapolis and chief of staff to then Gov. Evan Bayh. He also chaired the U.S. Conference of Mayors on Arts, Culture and Recreation from 2002-2005. In addition, he served as president of the National League of Cities from 2006-2007. Prior to joining Lilly, Peterson served as a Distinguished Fellow at the Bowen Center for Public Affairs. He lives with his wife in Indianapolis.
Janet Powell is a senior public policy advisor with the law offices of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC in Washington, D.C. She is a graduate of Ball State University and served as the press secretary for Indiana Governor Robert D. Orr.
Dr. Raymond Scheele is a professor of political science, Emeritus. He retired from Ball State University on June 30, 2015 after 40 years of service. He was the co-founder of the annual Bowen Institute on Political Participation begun 35 years ago to honor Governor Otis Bowen’s legacy of public service, and in 2007, Dr. Scheele helped create the Bowen Center for Public Affairs. He is the author or co-author of two dozen scholarly papers, several published articles, and two books. Currently he is working on a book detailing the 20th Century history of Indiana’s political parties.
Mark Shublak is a partner with the law firm of Ice Miller in Indianapolis. A graduate of the political science department at Ball State University, he represents clients before government agencies and his legislative practice spans all industry sectors with a focus on heavily regulated companies. He lives in Indianapolis.
Becky Skillman is the former Lt. Governor of Indiana and spent eight years managing five state agencies. Prior to serving as the first elected female lieutenant governor in Indiana, she held elected offices in Lawrence County and was elected to the Indiana Senate where she served for twelve years. She is currently the President and CEO of Radius Indiana, an eight county economic development organization in South Central Indiana. She is also co-chair of the Indiana Bicentennial Commission, which is planning the two hundred year celebration of statehood in 2016. She joined the Board of Advisors in 2013.
Matt Smith is a founding partner in the government and public relations firm Atlas Advocacy. Mr. Smith served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as well as the Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Liaison during the administration of President George W. Bush. Prior, he worked on the Bush-Cheney 2000 campaign, in the office of U.S. Senator Dan Coats (R, IN), and at the Indiana House Republican Campaign Committee. Mr. Smith is the recipient of the President’s Distinguished Service Award for actions on September 11th and the Department of Veterans Affairs Service Commendation. Mr. Smith resides in Virginia outside Washington D.C. with his wife Karen and their three children. He is a Political Science major graduate of Ball State University.
Sally Jo Vasicko
Dr. Sally Jo Vasicko is a professor of political science, Emerita. She retired from Ball State University on June 30, 2014 after 41 years of service. She served as White House Liaison for the United States Department of Labor Secretaries Elizabeth Dole and Lynn Martin during the George Herbert Walker Bush Administration. She was also nominated by President Reagan and confirmed by the United States Senate as a Commissioner to the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science.