IU's Little 500 scores the Bachelor's Ben Higgins as grand marshal

The Indiana University alumnus will be accompanied by his new fiancée, Lauren Bushnell

  • March 21, 2016


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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Ben Higgins, Indiana University alumnus and star of ABC’s hit reality TV series “The Bachelor,” will participate in IU’s 2016 Little 500 festivities, serving as grand marshal of both the women’s and men’s races.

Higgins will be accompanied at Little 500 race events by his now-fiancée Lauren Bushnell, a flight attendant from Marina Del Rey, Calif.

"There are not many life experiences that can encompass the commitment, tradition, cheer and camaraderie that the Little 500 fosters,” Higgins said. “Indiana University and the Little 500 race have and will always be joyful experiences. I’m grateful to participate in the celebration and tradition once again. Thank you for inviting me back home to IU.”

As grand marshal at the Little 500 women's race, which begins at 4 p.m. April 15, Higgins will welcome each of the riders before the race and be involved with other pre-race activities. He also will do so before the men's race, which begins at 2 p.m. the following day.

“Indiana’s ‘Perfect Ben’ is a role model for more than his fame and very good looks,” said IU Student Foundation Director Tara Vickers. “While not every IU student will become a TV star, the IU Student Foundation hopes every student will follow Ben’s lead, incorporating philanthropic activity in his or her life beyond IU. We are thrilled to welcome Ben back to IU and to have him participate in Little 500 events.”

A native of Warsaw, Ind., Higgins received a Bachelor of Science degree in public affairs with a management major from the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs in May 2012. Today, he works as an account manager for Talisys, a financial services software firm based in Golden, Colo.

This year marks the 29th running of the women's Little 500 and the 66th running of the men's race. Both races take place at Bill Armstrong Stadium, 1606 N. Fee Lane, near the intersection of 17th Street and Fee Lane. The Little 500 is the nation’s largest collegiate bike race and initially received Hollywood’s attention through its depiction in the 1979 Academy Award-winning film, "Breaking Away."

The Little 500 raises money for scholarships for working IU students and provides professional development for many students who work off the track and behind the scenes to make it a success. In total, the IU Student Foundation has raised more than $2 million to fund scholarships for IU students who are working their way through school.

Tickets for the women's Little 500 on April 15 and the men's Little 500 on April 16 are available for $30 in advance, $40 the day of the event, and $15 for children 12 and younger. They can be purchased online through IU Athletics and by visiting the IU Athletics and the IU Auditorium box offices in person.

A complete field of 33 teams is expected to compete in both Little 500 races. Teams line up for the start in 11 rows of three, just like the Indianapolis 500 after which the race is modeled. All race competitors are amateurs and are full-time undergraduate students at IU Bloomington.

Also, as with the Indy 500, winners of the Little 500 are immortalized on their version of the BorgWarner Trophy, which is displayed year-round at the Indiana Memorial Union.

Visit the IU Student Foundation's Little 500 website for more information.

The IU Student Foundation provides opportunities for philanthropic leadership to thousands of undergraduate students, primarily by sponsoring campus events that foster enthusiasm and support for IU. Founded in 1950 by the Indiana University Foundation, IUSF raises money to fund student scholarships, an effort largely supported by IUSF’s flagship event, the Little 500 bicycle race. These meaningful undergraduate experiences help create loyal, involved IU alumni who support the university for the rest of their lives.

Founded in 1936, the IU Foundation maximizes private support for IU by fostering lifelong relationships with key stakeholders and providing advancement leadership and fundraising services for campuses and units across the university. Today, the IU Foundation oversees one of the largest public university endowments in the country, with a market value of $1.9 billion. In fiscal year 2015, IU received $359.3 million in support from the private sector. IU is consistently ranked among the top four of Big Ten universities in annual voluntary support.

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