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Indiana Historical Society Announces 2018 Indiana Living Legends

April 18, 2018

INDIANAPOLIS—The Indiana Historical Society (IHS) is proud to announce Leonard Hoops, Sallie W. Rowland, Deborah Hearn Smith and Jeffrey H. Smulyan are being recognized as the 2018 Indiana Living Legends. This year’s class of Living Legends will be honored at the annual gala, Friday, July 27, at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center, located at 450 W. Ohio St. in downtown Indianapolis.

Each year, IHS recognizes extraordinary Hoosiers for their local, statewide and national accomplishments in a variety of areas and disciplines. The gala is IHS’s signature fundraising event and helps IHS fulfill its mission to be Indiana’s Storyteller™ by supporting its statewide programs and services. In addition to the generous corporate sponsorship of OneAmerica Financial Partners, Inc. and Lake City Bank, IHS welcomes individuals and companies to support the IHS mission by attending the event.

The black-tie gala will begin with a cocktail reception with the Living Legends at 5:30 p.m., followed by a gourmet dinner at 6:30 p.m. The program, which features Scott Sander of WISH-TV 8 as master of ceremonies, will begin at 7:45 p.m. It will be followed by coffee and desserts.

The Living Legends Gala is $250 per person or $2,500 for a table of 10. Interested attendees may purchase patron-level tickets for $350 per person or $3,500 for a table of 10. All but $75 of each ticket price is a tax-deductible gift in support of IHS’s educational programs throughout Indiana.

A selection committee of civic and corporate leaders performs the difficult, but rewarding, task of choosing the recipients. Honoree tribute videos are produced by WFYI.

For additional information, or to purchase tickets to the 2018 Indiana Living Legends Gala, please contact the IHS Development Department at (317) 233-5658 or visit

2018 Indiana Living Legends Bios

Leonard Hoops
Leonard Hoops has served as president & CEO of Visit Indy since 2011. During his tenure, Visit Indy has shattered all-time records for convention and tourism sales, while Indianapolis has been named the #1 convention city in America by USA Today and a top visitor destination by The New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure.

Prior to joining Visit Indy, Hoops held executive positions with destination marketing organizations in San Francisco, Sacramento and San Jose. He has been named one of the “25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry” by Successful Meetings magazine and one of the “Top 25 Most Extraordinary Minds in Hospitality & Travel Sales & Marketing” by HSMAI.

Hoops currently serves on the Professional Convention Management Association’s board of directors and the Destination & Travel Foundation’s board of trustees. In Indy, Hoops serves on the Capital Improvement Board, as well as on the boards of the Indy Chamber, Downtown Indy, the Indiana Sports Corporation, the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee, and the Greater Indianapolis Hotel & Lodging Association.

Hoops earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from San Jose State University and an MBA from Santa Clara University. He lives in downtown Indianapolis with his wife Dorene, son Cannon, and daughter Avalon.

Sallie W. Rowland
Sallie Rowland is chairman emeritus of Rowland Design, Inc. Founded by Rowland 50 years ago, Rowland Design is widely recognized for excellence in the field of interior design, architecture and graphic design.

Rowland is co-founder and governance chair of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership. She has served as first woman president of the Economic Club of Indianapolis and campaign chair for the United Way of Central Indiana. She served as the only women on several corporate boards. Rowland served on the board of trustees of Hanover College, as well as the board of directors of the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce and the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission. Currently, she is on the board of directors of Indiana Landmarks and president of the Brendonwood Historic District Foundation.

Rowland was recognized with the 2017 Williamson Prize for Historic Preservation, the 2009 Charles L. Whistler Award, the Indiana University Distinguished Alumni Service Award, Entrepreneur Awards from Indiana University and Ernst & Young, the 2009 Legends IN Design Award, and the Sagamore of the Wabash.

Rowland graduated from the business school at Indiana University, known today as the Indiana University Kelley School of Business. She and her late husband, architect Richard H. Rowland, have two sons, Eric and Jason; daughters-in-law, Sally and Susan; and five grandchildren.

Deborah Hearn Smith
Deborah Hearn Smith is credited with impacting the lives of at least one million girls through the Girl Scouts of Central Indiana, formerly the Girl Scouts of Hoosier Capital Council. Smith spent more than four decades with the organization where she oversaw operations, such as the reorganization and merger of five regional Girl Scouts councils into one; resources, such as reducing the council’s dependence on cookie sale revenue; and new initiatives, such as a council-wide educational commitment to engaging girls in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Smith’s work to remove barriers and reach underserved communities led the Indianapolis Business Journal to honor her with the Women of Influence Award in 2014. Additional honors include the Indiana Commission for Women Torchbearer Award, the Kiwanis Club of Indianapolis Civic Award, the Black Police Association Community Service Award, the Martin University President’s Award and the Women’s Empowerment Leadership Award. In 2017, she received the Sagamore of the Wabash.

An Indianapolis native, Smith earned her bachelor’s degree from Kentucky State University, her master’s degree from Indiana Wesleyan University and a nonprofit management certificate from Harvard University. She also holds an honorary doctorate from Martin University.

Smith lives in Indianapolis with her husband Ebenezer Smith. They have two children, Lawrence and Jason, and four grandchildren.

Jeffrey H. Smulyan
Widely recognized as a visionary leader, Jeffrey H. Smulyan serves as founder and chairman of the board of Emmis Communications Corporation, an Indianapolis-based diversified media company that owns and operates radio stations in three U. S. markets, as well as Indianapolis Monthly magazine.

A former director of the National Association of Broadcasters and former chairman of the Radio Advertising Bureau, Smulyan served as past chair of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership and sits on the board of trustees of his alma mater, the University of Southern California.

In 2017, Smulyan received the Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award by the Broadcasters Foundation of America. His leadership has been recognized by the American Women in Radio and Television’s Silver Satellite Award and the National Association of Broadcasters’ National Radio Award, among others. In addition, Emmis was named one of FORTUNE magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For,” a particular point of pride for Smulyan, who believes a vibrant, collaborative company culture is critical to success.

Smulyan earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California and his law degree from USC School of Law. He resides in Indianapolis with his wife Heather. He has three children, Samantha, Cari and Bradley, and one grandson, Liam.

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