Civic Award

The purpose of the Evansville Rotary Club Civic Award is to publicly recognize persons for their outstanding civic, charitable, humanitarian, and/or cultural services to the City of Evansville and its people.This award can be given specifically for services performed in the year just ended or for a lifetime of services. This award generally is given to a person in recognition of services performed outside his or her business or profession, but in some instances a recipient is recognized of achievements related to his or her business or profession. The Rotary Club Civic Award was first given in 1927.

A bronze tablet with an intellectual, cultural and spiritual message was originally placed at the entrance of the old Evansville Museum of Arts and Science on N.W. Second Street in 1928. Previously known as the Rotary Civic Garden when it was dedicated by the Club in 1961, and later named the Rotary Wall of Civic Achievement. In 2018, the original plaque was moved to the Rotary Centennial Wall at the entrance of Mickey’s Kingdom.

The center figure on the bronze tablet represents the Spirit of Wisdom. One hand is placed on the Book of Wisdom, and the other holds the Torch of Enlightenment. Directly beneath the Spirit of Wisdom is the Tree of Life. On the lower part of the tablet are figures representing Labor and Intellect. Between these figures is an anvil representing Success, when these two are combined.

Civic Award Recipients

1927 •  Mr. E. Mead Johnson, Sr., for his gift of the building at 422 S.E. First Street to the Public Health Nursing Association for headquarters.

1928Mr. and Mrs. John L. Igleheart, for their gift to Evansville College of a beautifully furnished home for the president.

1928 Mr. Henry F. Koch, for his active leadership in the promotion of “Graham Day” which gave emphasis to Industrial Evansville.

1929 Mrs. Albion Fellows Bacon, for her efforts in the enactment of better housing laws in the city, state and nation, and her many other civic activities.

1930 Mr. Leslie T. Igleheart, for his gift of the solarium to Deaconess Hospital and a large legacy to Evansville College.

1930 Col.Wm. H.McCurdy, for his generous bequest to Evansville College and for liberal gifts and active support to other worthy causes in our city.

1931 Rev. Ernest I. Reveal, for his long untiring and successful service in the management of the Evansville Rescue Mission and for the wide influence of his life as a sincere Christian.

1934 Mr. L. A. Parker, for his leadership as chairman of the first Community Fund Drive which was a notable success.

1934 Mr. John R. Sterne, for his great work through the Masonic Shrine in aiding in the treatment of crippled children.

1935 Mr. George F. Boehne, president of the Chamber of Commerce, for the great strides forward in the industrial and commercial life of the city during his presidency.

1936 Mr. F. B. Culley, for his civic service in the Community Fund, Red Cross, Boy Scouts of America, Vanderburgh County Tuberculosis Society, Chamber of Commerce, Young Men’s Christian Association and the Kiwanis Club.

1937 To those persons known and unknown who served the Evansville area so heroically during the Ohio River flood.

1941 Mr. Louis Ruthenburg, for his active interest in the civic, industrial and educational life of Evansville, and the generous giving of his time and talents to all worthy causes.

1942 Mr. Charles B. Enlow, for his outstanding and successful leadership as Director of the Office of Civilian Defense.

1943 Mr. Albert G. Hollander, for his splendid participation in and unfailing support of work for servicemen, war bond campaigns and innumerable other civic and patriotic activities.

1944 To the workers at the Evansville Red Cross Canteen.

1945 Mr. Robert D. Mathias, for his outstanding work for Evansville College and active leadership in numerous civic organizations.

1946 Mr. A. A. Brentano, for his unselfish and untiring efforts in every undertaking designed for the betterment of Evansville and its citizens.

1947 Mr. Walter G. Koch, for his successful accomplishments in heading the Community Chest Drive, his work in connection with the city’s Air Transportation facilities, and his many other civic activities.

1948 Mr. Charles A. (Dick) Anderson, for his effective and almost constant work for the youth of Evansville.

1949 None

1950 Mr. J. Henry Schroeder, who culminated a long career of tireless, unselfish labor for civic good by guiding the Evansville Community Chest Campaign to an unprecedented success in a most critical year.

1951 None

1952 Mr. H. A.Woods, in recognition of unceasing and outstanding service to his fellowmen and his community, which has been committed with enthusiasm, modesty and unselfishness.

1953 Dr. Paul D. Crimm, for is years of leadership in medicine and public work, as a pioneer in chest surgery and tuberculosis research, as a public administrator, friend to the sick, citizen of the community and state, and leader in many fields of community endeavor.

1954 Mr. Kenneth C. Kent, whose deep sense of personal responsibility and obligation to his home town has made him one of its greatest benefactors in leadership and effort for community betterment.

1955 Mr. O. H. Roberts, Jr., for his great contribution to the improvement of education in the Public Schools, not only in Evansville, but statewide and nationally, through his leadership and guidance in organizations dedicated to this purpose.

1956 Mr. A. B. Brown, for his great service in bringing Alcoa to this community.

1957 Mr. D. Mead Johnson, for his dynamic recognition of the obligations of corporate and individual citizenship, his demonstrated faith in the future of Evansville and his leadership and example in all worthy movements for community betterment.

1958 Mr. Melvin W. Hyde, for his boundless energy to benefit the welfare of Evansville as chairman of the Community Industry Survey, which was responsible for the Fantus Study, and as first president of the Foundation for Evansville’s Future.

1959 Col. Marvin J. Evans, in recognition of many years of dedicated community service, and in particular for his successful conduct of the 1959 United Fund Drive.

1960 Mr. Richard E. Meier and Mr. Fred C. Newman, for sparking a new hope and spirit to achieve the acceptance of all facets of our community on a program of development of our economic future.

1961 Mr. William A. Carson, for the broad scope of his contributions to this community, in business and industry, his help to our children through the YMCA and Camp Carson, and his work for the education of our youth through scholarships and financial support at Evansville College.

1962 Col. Robert M. Leich, for his enthusiastic approach to our community betterment; for his tireless participation in the success of an extraordinary number of local, state, and national organizations, for his conscientious interest and aggressive service to the welfare of others for over a quarter of a century.

1963 Joseph E. O’Daniel, in recognition of his long years of unselfish devotion to civic service and, particularly, for his unexcelled leadership in the Central Business District Improvement and Civic Center Development project.

1964 Mr. Arad A. McCutchan, for bringing nationwide publicity and recognition to this community in recruiting and coaching the Evansville College basketball team to an undefeated season and to its fourth NCAA College Division National Championship as well as for his other civic and religious endeavors and his successful work in leading and developing our youth.

1965 Mrs. Louis B.Whiting, in recognition of and appreciation for her sympathetic and continuing service to the emotionally and mentally ill of our community.

1966 Mr. Leland M. Feigel, for his dynamic leadership and untiring personal efforts, as president and director of the Evansville-Vanderburgh County Building Authority, in the successful launching and progress in building of the Civic Center complex, and for his financial leadership which saved untold amounts for the taxpayers.

1967 Mr. Norman A. Shane, Sr., great humanitarian, patriot and community leader, who for almost 40 years has generously devoted his many talents to his city, his country, his religion and his vocation. “A man of action, integrity, and stability whose light didn’t burn out after his first few years of community service.”

1968 Mr. Alexander L. Leich, for his outstanding leadership as President of the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra and for being the “Ready-Reserve” of Evansville’s leadership. Through exemplary conduct, scholarship, character and service he has been a humanizing influence and has inspired his fellow citizens to a fuller life.

1969 Mr. D. Bailey Merrill, for his inspired work relating to the Citizens’ Crime Committee and the publication of the Committee Report, providing specific recommendations for reducing the overall crime problem.

1970 Mr. Ervin Weil, for his humanitarian work in many fields, particularly with the Evansville Human Relations Commission.

1971 Mr. Harold O. McCutchan, for his efforts in making our community a truly great center of higher education and his outstanding leadership in the organization and development of Southern Indiana Higher Education, Inc.

1972 Mr. Henry B. Struby, for the honor he has brought to our city by reason of the fact that one of our citizens was chosen Imperial Potentate of the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobels of the Mystic Shrine, leader of the more than 900,000 Shriners of North America; and second, because he discharged the duties of this high office with such great honor to the Shrine, himself, this city, and to all of us who claim him as a friend and fellow citizen.

1973 Beulah M. Evans, for her lasting impact for good upon her community, who has consistently applied the ideal of service to personal and community life, who is a living example of “Service Above Self ”, and more particularly for her outstanding leadership of the United Fund Campaign for 1973.

1974 Robert E. Green, for his single minded purpose in providing the finest motel hotel complex in Evansville, his dedication to the improvement of downtown Evansville, his promotion of Evansville as a convention center, and for bringing to Evansville the national convention of The American Academy of Achievement.

1975 Alan Brentano, for setting a shining example for our civic leaders of the present and of the future, in his inspiring record of successful leadership in widely diversified activities too numerous to mention, whether of a civic, political, governmental, educational, religious or humanitarian nature and for his generous sharing of his God-given talents for the benefit of the entire community.

1976 Dr. Charles E. Rochelle, for untiring and unselfish effort to achieve excellence in the education of all youth in the City of Evansville, for devoted and dedicated efforts to improve the quality of education in this community and the State of Indiana, for leadership in quiet, efficient and effective integration of the public schools in this city and a living example of the Rotary motto, “Service Above Self.”

1977 Dr. Wallace B. Graves, for his strength in guiding the University and community following the Dec. 13th tragedy, for leading the university to “new levels of academic recognition,” for bringing the school national and international attention for its quality and innovations and for bringing the school’s Harlaxton Study Center in England to European recognition. He envisioned a significant leap forward for U of E athletics and led the move to Division I basketball. After the Dec. 13th tragedy he took immediate and significant steps…to teach us as persons and as a community how to deal with the misfortunes for which we are never prepared and that we assume can never happen to us.

1978 D.W. Vaughn, for his long positive involvement in various and diverse civic organizations and affairs which have benefited the citizens of the community of Evansville and Vanderburgh County, his example of high personal and moral integrity in the conduct and use of corporate responsibility and as a business leader in this community, his long standing, quiet, unassuming, effective leadership, personally and corporately, his concern for his fellow employees and fellow citizens of this community, and his positive example in the faith which he has in the future growth of this community.

1979 Gregory E. Kempf and Jack F. Rogers II, for a forward looking vision of the growth of the City of Evansville through development of various real estate projects which have enhanced this city’s stature as a major commercial entity, and more particularly for the planning and implementation of the Riverview Commerce Centre.

1980 Governor Robert D. Orr, for his long-standing record of accomplishments, both in his home community where his many successful business activities have made this a better community in which to live and work; while at the same time in the greater community, he has also given generously of himself in public service to the continuing benefit of us all. His high personal and ethical standards, in both private and public works, personify in himself the Rotary motto “Service Above Self.”

1981 None

1982 Aubrey D. Ryals , For his long service and leadership to Evansville in many projects adding to the quality of life for people in our community. He worked for the return of professional baseball. He served the business community as President of the Chamber of Commerce and, more recently, demonstrated his patient leadership in bringing to a successful conclusion the rebuilding and revitalization program for our YMCA, which now becomes a cornerstone of our City’s downtown.

1983 William L. Brooks, for his continuing efforts to introduce our city and its people to visitors…for placing Evansville in the national spotlight…and especially for serving as point-man for the Thunder On The Ohio Regatta.

1984 Robert L. Koch, for his quiet leadership, his wise counsel in matters of business, civic works, cultural achievements, and especially for his generous stewardship which serves to inspire others in our community in their free will support of worthy institutions.

1985 Dr. David L. Rice, president of the newly independent University of Southern Indiana, for his many contributions to the intellectual, cultural, and economic development of the Evansville region. His tireless and unpretentious leadership symbolizes the Rotary motto, “Service Above Self.”

1986 Ted C. Ziemer, Jr., for his repeated willingness to take on the tough and vital fundraising challenges of our community, and for raising more money for more organizations than anyone in Evansville’s history.

1987 Rolland M. Eckels, for his decades of diligent and tireless leadership in numerous community betterment projects including key roles in moving public television into the historic Willard Carpenter home, and the development of the University of Southern Indiana.

1988 N. Keith and Susanne Riley Emge, for more than 20 years of service to their family, their church and their community through countless hours of volunteer service for scores of not for profit and governmental organizations.

1989 Jack Buttrum, for his unceasing efforts for 20 years to improve the lives and opportunities of Evansville’s black citizens, for his efforts to provide job training and job placement for displaced workers and the disadvantaged, and for his efforts to promote dialogue, understanding, and cooperation between labor and management.

1990 William H. Miller, for his lifelong efforts as a community volunteer and a Circuit Court Judge, to coordinate people resources and initiate court reform to make Evansville a civilized and caring city.

1991 Robert L. Koch II, for his appreciation of the need to strengthen the public and private educational system at all levels, for his tireless research in developing data that has helped State and Federal Leaders support education initiatives; and for his personal involvement in engendering International trade in the area business community.

1992 Dan W. Mitchell, for his many years of service to his community, his company, his family and to Rotary, and especially for his great service to the University of Evansville and The Rehabilitation Center in Evansville.

1993 Carolyn S. Georgette, for her significant achievements and contributions to the Evansville business and residential community during her 40 year professional and civic career.

1994 John H. Schroeder, for his dedicated leadership in meeting the needs of higher education and an almost incredible lifetime of contributions to his family, his business, his industry, his city and his country.

1995 Robert R.C. Miller, for his consistent pattern of enthusiastic dedication to his family, his alma mater, his occupation, and his community, and for helping everyone he touches to strive to become champions.

1996 Howard and Carol Abrams, for their leadership in business, civic and volunteer work, for their caring concern to make Evansville an even better city, for their gracious, yet dynamic and always helpful demeanor, and for their warm, creative and caring approach to fulfilling their responsibilities to their family, city and occupation.

1997 H. Lee Cooper, for his 30 years of dedicated leadership through the Evansville area’s leading community institutions, for his key roles in helping launch the Vanderburgh Community Foundation, Leadership Evansville and Youth Resources of Southwestern Indiana, and for leading his company to the top of its industry.

1998 Frank F. McDonald II, for his leadership and many lasting contributions to the City of Evansville as its mayor and First Citizen, and for using his office as a “Bully Pulpit” to benefit community organizations too numerous to mention.

1999 R. Scott Anderson, for his visionary and successful efforts to save and revitalize many of downtown Evansville’s aging treasures. And for his adaptive reuse of those buildings, assuring us that they will be there for future generations of Evansvillians.

2000 Shirley W. James, for her almost 40 years of studying community issues, and developing coalitions of everyday citizens and elected leaders to bring about a better Evansville, and for her tenacity in over coming obstacles that would have stopped many of us from accomplishing worthy goals.

2001 Rita P. Eykamp, for years of steadfast leadership of numerous community and state organizations, representing education, the arts and humanities, for her cheerful attitude that helps others keep their balance while facing challenges, and especially for her role in making the Victory Theatre a diamond in the crown of Evansville’s Downtown, the Rotary Club of Evansville is proud to recognize one of its own, Rita P. Eykamp, as the winner of the 2001 Rotary Civic Award.

2002 Donald B. Cox, for his monumental service to humanity through formation of the Welborn Foundation, for his political leadership in Evansville and in Indiana, and for his insight and leadership that have brought better higher education, safer roads and job opportunities to our region and state.

2003 John M. Dunn, for making a lifelong commitment to building the Evansville area’s moral and economic strength, and for helping achieve an environment for countless others to discover our area, and for exemplifying the Rotary motto of “Service Above Self,” the Rotary Club of Evansville is proud to recognize John M. Dunn as the winner of the 2003 Rotary Civic Award.

2004 Dr. H. Ray Hoops, for his Service Above Self on behalf of the University of Southern Indiana and of the greater Evansville region, for sharing his extraordinary ability to marshal human capital and state resources, and for his support of business and cultural institutions, the Rotary Club of Evansville salutes and honors Dr. H. Ray Hoops as the winner of the 2004 Rotary Civic Award.

2005 Dr. Ray W. Arensman, for sharing his love of history, his insight into economics, his gift of music, his discoveries of travel, his support of charities, and his “Wonderful Life” with our region, we honor Dr. Ray W. Arensman with the Rotary Civic Award.

2006 James A. “Jim” McCarty Sr., for service to his family, his country, his fellow men and women, numerous civic organizations and educational institutions, and for his years of using his vocation to nourish and beautify Planet Earth.

2007 Dr. William G. Wooten, for his recognition of the profound dangers of alcohol, drug and tobacco abuse, for his lifework in rallying the community to pull young people from the edge of disastrous lives, and for the formation of Youth First, Incorporated.

2008 Reverend Adrian M. Brooks, Sr., for developing Memorial Community Development Corporation into the model of holistic ministry, and for his remarkable achievement of converting his personal faith into helping feed the hungry, house the needy, provide economic opportunity and save souls.

2009 Jack and Sue Schriber, for their years of supporting and improving education and the arts in Evansville and Indiana, for their untiring leadership in making local arts organizations viable, and for bringing hundreds of other volunteers along for the delightful ride called community service.

2010 Randall D. Wheeler, for encouraging and fostering the ideal of service, and in recognition for his outstanding professional, civic and charitable endeavors benefiting Evansville, his beloved Newburgh, and the Rotary Club of Evansville.

2011 Vicki Snyder, for leaving a comfortable teaching position and taking great risks to lead a small group of teachers to launch the first charter high school in Indiana, and for her tireless dedication and hard work that yielded extraordinary measurable success for Signature School and its students.

2012 John Whinrey, for his years of service through Rotary and other community organizations, for his successful efforts to make the Rotary Club of Evansville an unmatched forum for the airing of important local issues, and for his leadership in making the Rotary Club of Evansville a true international organization.

2013 Dr. Maria Del Rio Hoover, for her career of advocating for children and women, and for helping deliver services that have improved the quality of life for people in Evansville, the Tri-State, Indiana and our nation.

2014 Dr. Raymond W. Nicholson, Jr., for his years of leadership and service as a teacher, doctor, a volunteer and a public servant.

2015 •Dr. Linda L.M. Bennett, for her years of leadership in our community ensuring a brighter tomorrow for education, culture, economic development, and our young people.

2016 •Barbara and Brian Williams, for embodying the spirit and ideals of Rotary with humility and servant leadership.

2017 •Dr. Steven G. Becker, for his steadfast commitment of bringing a full-fledged four-year medical school to Evansville.

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