The Indiana State Museum will present its most prestigious Heritage Keeper Award to John and Sarah Lechleiter at its annual Tribute dinner. The award is the highest honor bestowed by the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites. It recognizes Indiana’s greatest ambassadors for their embodiment of the Hoosier Spirit in their achievements, leadership and service to the State of Indiana. The Lechleiters will be the seventh honorees, following Indiana’s four living governors in 2016, former First Lady Judy O’Bannon in 2015, Rabbi Sandy Sasso in 2014, Senator Richard Lugar in 2013, Earl Goode in 2012 and the Hulman-George family in 2011. This year’s Tribute is presented by Lilly.
John and Sarah Lechleiter have spent many years working to build up the Indianapolis community. Together, they chaired the 75th Anniversary Gala for Marian University and have been deeply involved in the United Way of Central Indiana’s efforts to strengthen early childhood education and support families. John joined Lilly in 1979 as a senior organic chemist in process research and development. He was named CEO in April, 2008 and has served as chairman of the board of directors of Eli Lilly and Company since January, 2009. John retired as president and CEO in December of 2016, after 37 years with the company.
John is a member of the American Chemical Society. He is chairman of the board of United Way Worldwide and serves as vice chair of the board of the Chemical Heritage Foundation. He is a member emeritus of the board of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership and serves on the boards of Nike, Inc. and Ford Motor Co. John earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Xavier University in 1975 and master’s and doctoral degrees in organic chemistry from Harvard University. He’s also been the recipient of multiple honorary doctorates.
Sarah serves on the boards of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and the Indiana Repertory Theatre. She was a founding member and served as chair for what is now United Way of Central Indiana’s Women United, as well as Women of Tocqueville. Sarah is a sustaining member of the Children’s Museum Guild, the St. Augustine Guild of the Little Sisters of the Poor and the Proctor Club. She graduated in 1976 with a degree in Sociology and Social Welfare from Edgecliff College, which is now part of Xavier University in Cincinnati John and Sarah Lechleiter have three children and six grandchildren.