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Niki Kelly | The Journal Gazette

Daniels: Ian Rolland has led the sort of life you’d like your kids to emulate

Statement as issued Wednesday by the governor’s office:

INDIANAPOLIS (April 25, 2012) – Governor Mitch Daniels today presented civic leader and former chairman and CEO of Lincoln National Corp. Ian Rolland of Fort Wayne with the 2012 Sachem Award, the state’s highest honor, at a ceremony at the State House.

“Ian Rolland has achieved excellence at everything he has ever attempted, no question in that regard. The reason we are here today is because he has led the sort of life you’d like your kids to emulate,” said Daniels. “He has constantly searched for the right thing to do and then done it. Ian Rolland possesses and has demonstrated courage on many occasions, never more plainly than his fight for desegregation in his community. On behalf of a state full of fortunate people who have benefitted from his leadership over time, we are so proud that he is one of us and we are so proud to say that Indiana, now and then, gives rise to someone of his character and moral fiber.”

The Sachem is given annually to recognize a lifetime of excellence and moral virtue that has brought credit and honor to Indiana. Previous recipients include college basketball coaching legend John Wooden, the Reverend Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., president emeritus of the University of Notre Dame and world statesman, philanthropist Bill Cook and civic leader and legendary baseball pitcher Carl D. Erskine.

“As you’re leading your life you do things that seem right to you and it is nice when you can look back, put it all together and say ‘you didn’t do too bad,’” Rolland said. “It is a responsibility of citizenship and your humanity that when you take a lot out of this world, you put something back to make this world a better place. If I have done that, then I am pleased.”

Rolland, a Fort Wayne native, began his career at Lincoln National Life in 1956 and was elected as senior vice president in 1973. He became president and a director of Lincoln National Corp. in 1975 and was named CEO two years later. In 1992 he was named chairman and CEO, retiring in June 1998.

“The University of St. Francis, the City of Fort Wayne and the entire region have been incredibly blessed with the presence, the leadership and the involvement of Ian Rolland at every level. He brings wisdom, expertise, enthusiasm and strong commitment to all that he does,” said Sister M. Elise Kriss, president of the University of Saint Francis.

Dedicated to the University of Saint Francis, he served as a director from 1976 to 1995, and is treasurer for the board of trustees, to which he was elected in 1995. During his terms as director and trustee, he also served on the executive committee and chaired the finance and investment committee. He and his wife, Mimi, are major contributors to the Rolland Art and Visual Communication Center and other university projects. He serves on other higher education boards and is past board chair for DePauw University.

Rolland sits on the board of more than a dozen non-profits and charities including the Indiana Historical Society, Arts United, Junior Achievement of Northern Indiana, the Indiana chapter of the Nature Conservancy, Indiana Natural Resources Foundation, Courthouse Preservation Trust and the Indiana Heritage Trust. He has chaired the board of regents for the Indiana Academy, and sits on the boards of prominent corporations, including NiSource and Bright Horizons Family Solutions. He was recently named receiver of the Oakwood Park and Hotel in Kosciusko County and is tasked with reorganizing and reopening the historic park and hotel.

Audio of the program may be accessed here later today:

Video of the program will be available on the governor’s YouTube channel:

Sachem (Say-chum) background:

In 1970, Governor Edgar D. Whitcomb introduced the “Confederacy of the Sachem,” a group of business, industry, publishing, banking and legal leaders, who served as state hosts, welcoming visitors to Indiana and promoting the state’s culture and economy. The organization’s name came from the Algonquin term applied to village leaders, implying wisdom, judgment and grace.

Bylaws outlined that Sachems were to nominate and recommend Sagamore appointments to the governor. The Sagamore of the Wabash dates to the term of Indiana Governor Ralph Gates in 1945 and has been the state’s highest honor bestowed by the governor.

Following Whitcomb’s term, the Sachem project was not pursued, and the organization dissolved in 1989. Whitcomb visited Daniels in 2005 to acquaint him with the concept and to give him custody of remaining Sachem funds. Governor Daniels recreated the Sachem to underscore the importance of moral example; achievement alone without exemplary virtue does not qualify a person for this recognition.

Each Sachem honoree receives a specially-designed sculpture that captures the Native American heritage of the Sachem. All Sachem recipients will be selected by Indiana’s governor.

A digital photo of the Sachem sculpture may be found at:

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