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About the Sachem

Sachem Award Archive: Current | 20222021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017
About the Sachem

Sachem (Say-chum) background:

In 1970, Gov. Edgar D. Whitcomb introduced the Sachems, 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.

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

Sixteen Sachem awards have been previously bestowed since the honor was revived in 2005:

2005: John Wooden — Legendary college basketball coach, teacher and mentor

2006: Rev. Theodore Hesburgh — Former president of the University of Notre Dame and world statesman

2007: Jane Blaffer Owen — Philanthropist and preservationist of New Harmony

2008: Bill and Gloria Gaither — Grammy winning singer/songwriter duo from Alexandria, Indiana

2009: Donald C. “Danny” Danielson — New Castle business and civic leader

2010: Carl D. Erskine — Civic leader and legendary baseball player

2011: William A. “Bill” Cook — Philanthropist and cofounder of Cook Inc.

2012: Ian M. Rolland — CEO of Lincoln National Corp.

2013: Don Wolf — Civic leader and CEO of Do It Best, Corp.

2014: P.E. MacAllister — Long-time businessman and civic leader

2015: Amos C. Brown, III — Radio host and civic leader

2016: None

2017: Eva Mozes Kor — Holocaust survivor; forgiveness and civility advocate

2018: Sammy L. Davis — Vietnam veteran, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient

2019: Dr. George Rapp — Humanitarian

2020: Reginald O. Jones, Sr. — Businessman, community leader and mentor

2021: James T. Morris — Civic leader, global ambassador and advocate for youth

2022: Patricia Ann Koch — Community leader and originating partner of Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari

2023: Albert Chen — Entrepreneur, innovator and Asian American advocate

All Sachem recipients are selected by Indiana’s governor. Each Sachem honoree receives a specially designed sculpture.

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