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Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center 450 West Ohio Street, Indianapolis, IN 46202
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Indiana Historical Society Announces 2024 Indiana Living Legends

June 26, 2024

The Indiana Historical Society (IHS) is proud to announce Sue Ellspermann, Miriam Acevedo Davis, Gary Reynolds and John Thompson are being recognized as its 2024 Indiana Living Legends. This year’s class of Living Legends will be honored at the annual gala on Friday, Aug. 16 at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center, located at 450 W. Ohio St. in 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 collect and preserve Indiana’s unique stories 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 IHS by attending the event. Event Benefactor Sponsorships are available for $10,000 and include a table of 10 with priority seating, a listing in the evening program and additional benefits. The entire cost of this level is a tax-deductible gift in support of IHS statewide educational programs.

Individual Benefactor tickets are available for $1,000. Patron Tables (10 seats) are available for $5,000, and individual patron tickets are $500. All but $75 of the purchase price for each seat/ticket at these levels is a tax-deductible gift.

The black-tie gala will begin with a cocktail reception at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m. The program will begin at 7:45 p.m. It will be followed by coffee and desserts, during which time all attendees will have the opportunity to congratulate the honorees. WISH-TV’s Scott Sander will serve as the master of ceremonies for the event.

Each year, a selection committee of civic and corporate leaders performs the difficult, but rewarding, task of choosing the recipients. For additional information, or to purchase tickets to the 2024 Indiana Living Legends Gala, please call (317) 233-5658 or visit www.indianahistory.org.

2024 LIVING LEGENDS

SUE ELLSPERMANN, PHD
Sue Ellspermann serves as President of Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, the nation’s largest singly accredited statewide community college and largest National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships accredited institution.

Under Sue’s leadership, Ivy Tech launched the first Industry 4.0 associate degree as well as Ivy+ Career Link, a transformative approach to career development services. She also led efforts to focus on scale, innovation and agility to ensure student success and meet Indiana’s talent upskilling needs.

Prior to leading Ivy Tech, Sue served as Indiana’s 50th Lieutenant Governor, serving as Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Affairs and overseeing six state agencies. She also co-chaired the Blue Ribbon Panel on Transportation Infrastructure and led trade missions to Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and China.

Sue represented District 74 in the state House of Representatives. She previously served as the founding Director of the Center of Applied Research and Economic Development at the University of Southern Indiana. Prior to her tenure at USI, she owned and operated an independent consulting firm and also held operations and engineering positions at Frito-Lay, Michelin Tire Corporation and General Motors.

Ellspermann chairs the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership Board of Directors and serves on the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet, Indiana Chamber, Indy Chamber, Applied Research Institute, and Center for Leadership Development boards. Her corporate board service includes OneAmerica, German American Bancorp, and OFS.

Sue holds a Ph.D. and M.S. from the University of Louisville and a B.S. from Purdue University. She and her husband Jim Mehling have a blended family of four daughters, three sons-in-law, six grandsons, and three granddaughters.

MIRIAM ACEVEDO DAVIS
Miriam Acevedo Davis is the President & CEO of La Plaza, Inc., a not-for-profit organization that provides essential health, social services and workforce development programs for Latino families and education programs for Latino youth to prepare them for academic success, college and careers.

Miriam has more than 40 years of experience as an executive, consultant and volunteer. In 2004, she oversaw the merger of the Hispanic Education Center, El Centro Hispano, FIESTA Indianápolis and La Plaza. Under her leadership, La Plaza has served tens of thousands of individuals.

As a prominent leader and voice of the Latino community, Miriam has worked tirelessly to ensure that opportunities for Latino youth and families are equitable and accessible. La Plaza’s programs increase graduation rates, college attendance and persistence, and employment opportunities for Latinos.

With a spirit of collaboration and service to the greater community, Miriam currently serves on boards or committees for The Mind Trust, the Indiana Latino Scholarship Fund, Monarca Academy, IU Health Equity Advocacy and Leadership Coalition, and Far Eastside Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee.

Miriam was a recipient of the 2009 Indiana Commission for Women Torchbearer Award, 2015 recipient of the Sagamore of the Wabash, 2016 NFL Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award, 2017 IUPUI Office for Women Pacesetter Award and 2021 Excellence Award from ILI and the 2022 Conexion Five for 500 Vision Award from the Indy Chamber.

Miriam earned a B.A. from Wheaton College (Massachusetts), an M.S. from Butler University, and an Ed.M. from Harvard University.

JOHN T. THOMPSON
John Thompson is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Thompson Distribution Company, Inc., First Electric Supply Company, LLC, CMID, and BC Countertops. He also served as a consultant for McKinsey and Company in the New York and London offices from 1981-1983. From 1984 to 2001, Mr. Thompson served as vice president of Mays Chemical Company, Inc.

He serves on the boards and committees of several organizations, including The National Bank of Indianapolis, Johnson Grossnickle and Associates, Specialized Component Parts Limited, TMap/Make My Move, IMARK Electrical Co-op, Indiana Chamber of Commerce, Crossroads of America Council (Scouting), Indy Chamber, Central Indiana Corporate Partnership, Indiana Economic Development Corporation, Applied Research Institute, Eskenazi Health Foundation, 2024 NBA All-Star Game, Indy Championships Fund and Columbia University Graduate School of Business. He served or served as chairman for several of these entities.

John’s business acumen, innovation and philanthropy have been celebrated with numerous accolades. He has received multiple Sagamore of the Wabash awards, as well as honors from organizations like the Indiana Chamber, Indianapolis Business Journal, Boy Scouts of America, Marian University, Center for Leadership Development, UNCF, Junior Achievement of Central Indiana, Madam Walker Theatre Centre, Indiana Black Chamber of Commerce, and Indiana Black Expo.

John earned an MBA, with Honors, from Columbia University and a BS in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University. He is a member of Eastern Star Church and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. He and his wife Norma have 3 adult children and 4 grandsons.

GARY REYNOLDS
Hard work and community service were instilled in Gary Reynolds from an early age. An important quote from his father has never left him – “After faith and family, everything else is just stuff.”

As the second-generation owner of Reynolds Farm Equipment, started by his parents in 1955, he grew the company with his family, always putting his faith in God. Starting as a one location company in Fishers, today there are five locations in Central Indiana, employing more than 300 people.

Gary is a lifelong resident of Hamilton County and a lifelong member of Fishers United Methodist Church. Gary spent his early years growing up on a small farm in the Fishers area — ground purchased by his grandparents from Butler University in 1936. He graduated from Fishers High School and worked solely for his family business until he enlisted in the National Guard, serving for six years.

Together, Gary and his late wife Cindy had four children, 11 grandchildren, and 13 great grandchildren. Outside of spending time together, they enjoyed and were passionate about giving back and being part of several organizations.

They supported Hamilton County 4-H, Conner Prairie, Kafakumba African missionaries in Zambia, Lebanon Children’s Home, Family Promise in Indianapolis, St. Jude’s Hospital for children, and Agape Unbridled Hope.

Gary was also a member of the Fishers Lions Club throughout its entirety, beginning in 1961. This love of giving was exhibited by his own parents when their trust sponsored a digital offering for the Indiana Historical Society that teaches the history of farming in video form.

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