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Maddy Phipps ‘22 ‘23 (Marketing, MBA) Gives Back to Community, Inspires the Next Generation as 500 Festival Princess


Each year, the 500 Festival Princess Program, presented by the National Bank of Indianapolis, selects 33 of Indiana’s most civic-minded, academically driven young women to serve as ambassadors of the 500 Festival, their hometowns, and their colleges/universities. 

This year the University of Indianapolis is proud to have two students selected to serve as princesses, including Maddy Phipps ‘22 ‘23 (Marketing, MBA). 

Maddy first learned about the program in middle school from an upperclassman in Danville who had served as a princess. After that seed was planted, the idea of being a princess grew on Maddy.

“It’s just always kind of been in the back of my mind as something I should do,” said Maddy. “Then, one of the UIndy princesses from last year was in the School of Business as well. She shared a lot of her experience on social media and I was following along. Then I followed the 500 Festival page. So hearing about it a long time ago, keeping my eye on the program, then seeing the other princess’s experience, like how you were able to get connected and give back to your community, I thought, ‘this is definitely something I want to do.’”

Maddy credits UIndy for preparing her to serve as a princess. As a student in the School of Business, a member of the Student Business Leadership Academy and a Presidential Ambassador, Madelynn honed the skills needed to succeed in a professional environment. 

“Being involved in the School of Business, I feel like I’ve been able to have some professional development training that has helped translate into some of those professional settings that the princesses are in,” said Maddy. “I feel like UIndy has definitely helped me be able to network with high-level professionals. Also I feel like my experience at UIndy has helped enhance my time management skills.”

In addition to corporate events, Maddy will have the opportunity to partake in community events and leadership development. One of her early community outreaches was to a local elementary school, to teach students about the Indianapolis 500 after their recent visit to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. 

“The 500 Festival program provides us with some different education curriculum materials that we are able to utilize as well, so I was able to show the class a video of what actually happens on race day,” explained Maddy. “I think kids love being able to talk with you. You know, they’ve been sitting in school, like they don’t want to just sit and listen to me just talk and talk at them. Part of the 500 Festival mission is about enriching the lives of Hoosiers and helping spread the spirit of the 500 Festival. It’s just really cool to see the education program that they have implemented. Being able to connect with kids has been such a rewarding experience.”

Maddy is also helping to spread awareness about the Princess Program itself and inspire the next generation of princesses. 

“People may know about the program, but they don’t realize what it all entails,” said Maddy. “In the past, it was more of a beauty pageant and I think some people might still have that perception of it. And it’s not, that’s not what it’s about anymore. It’s scholarly. It’s about community.”

And as Maddy prepares for life after graduation, she plans to pursue a career that will allow her to continue giving back to her community. With a Bachelor of Science in Marketing and a Masters of Business Administration, Madelynn will have numerous paths open to her.

“I would love to end up in the sports industry somewhere, specifically in marketing or, I’ve been really drawn to the community relations side of things,” said Maddy. “That’s part of what led me to the princess program, all of the civic opportunities that they have. That’s always been something that I’ve been very passionate about and interested in.”

There is no doubt that Maddy’s passion for helping others combined with her leadership skills will allow her to thrive in any career path she sets her mind to.