Nine members tasked with programming celebrations as the city turns 200

December 20, 2018

INDIANAPOLIS – Mayor Joe Hogsett announced a bipartisan commission that will lead the planning, programming, and initiatives surrounding Indianapolis’ bicentennial celebration in 2020 and 2021. The commission is also tasked with engaging community organizations and fundraising for city events and projects tied to the bicentennial. The nine-member body includes two former mayors and will meet regularly leading up to this major milestone.

“As we approach our bicentennial celebration, we strive to honor our roots while looking ahead to our city’s future,” said Mayor Hogsett. “In acknowledging this milestone for our great city, we want to recognize a history of changes, challenges, and—through it all—an underlying spirit that has shaped Indianapolis’ success and defined its progress. Once described decades ago as ‘the typical city in which to find the typical American family,’ in truth, Indianapolis has always been far from typical.”

The history of Indianapolis can be traced back to the spring of 1820 when dozens of families built cabins along the riverbank in a settlement named Fall Creek. Commissioners hand-picked by the Indiana legislature were mandated to locate the new capital as near as possible to the center of the state, to take advantage of western migration. The legislature approved the site as the capital of the state in early 1821, and the name Indianapolis was chosen as a combination of Indiana, plus the Greek word “polis” for city.

Celebration events will kick off in June of 2020, and continue through the summer of 2021. Former Mayors Bart Peterson and Greg Ballard will serve as honorary co-chairs of the Indianapolis Bicentennial Commission. The seven additional co-chairs are longtime community leaders whose vision and contributions have helped shaped the progress and continued vitality of our city.

Indianapolis Bicentennial Commission Chairs:

Bart Peterson (Honorary Co-Chair)

Bart Peterson served two terms as mayor of Indianapolis from 2000 to 2007, and was recognized for leading a transformation of public education in the city as the only mayor in America with the authority to create new schools by issuing charters. Recently, Peterson served as senior vice president of corporate affairs and communications for Eli Lilly and was a member of the company’s executive committee for nearly eight years. He retired from Eli Lilly in March 2017, and next year, he will join Christel House International as president and CEO. Peterson received a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University and earned his law degree at the University of Michigan.

Greg Ballard (Honorary Co-Chair)

After a 23-year career in the Marine Corps and retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel, Greg Ballard returned home to Indianapolis in 2001. He served two terms as mayor of Indianapolis from 2008 to 2015, and is currently a visiting fellow for The Institute for Civic Leadership and Mayoral Archives at the University of Indianapolis. A Persian Gulf War veteran, he continues to be active in veteran causes and was recently named to Indiana’s Veteran Affairs Commission. Ballard is a graduate of Indiana University, holds a master’s degree in Military Science, and was awarded an honorary doctorate from both Butler University and Marian University.

Keira Amstutz

Keira Amstutz currently serves as the president and CEO of Indiana Humanities. Prior to joining the organization, she was chief counsel and director of policy for the City of Indianapolis. Amstutz serves, or has served, on a variety of community boards including Visit Indy, Indy Hub, and Downtown Indy, Inc., and has held positions on strategic committees for many community organizations and events including the 2012 Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee and the 2015 Men’s Final Four. Amstutz graduated from DePauw University with a degree in political science, earned a J.D. from the Indiana University McKinney School of Law, and graduated from the Stanley K. Lacy Executive Leadership Series.

Yvonne Shaheen

Yvonne Shaheen is a community leader and retired corporate executive. She is the past president and CEO of the Bright Sheet Metal Co. and Long Electric Co., and since her retirement in 2005, she has been a tireless champion of and held board positions for dozens of community and nonprofit organizations. She has won numerous awards including Indianapolis Business Journal’s Outstanding Woman (2003, 2008), the Indiana Lifetime Philanthropy Award, Sagamore of the Wabash, and the Whistler Award. Shaheen got her Bachelor of Science from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. She received honorary doctorates from Purdue University and the University of Indianapolis, and participated in the Master Honorary Program at Purdue University.

Justice Theodore “Ted” Boehm

Justice Boehm began his long legal career as a law clerk to Chief Justice Earl Warren and retired Justices Stanley Reed and Harold Burton during the 1963 term of the United States Supreme Court. In 1964, he joined the Indianapolis law firm of Baker & Daniels, becoming partner in 1970 and managing partner in 1980. He also served as deputy general counsel to Eli Lilly, and was appointed to the Indiana Supreme Court in 1996. He retired from the Court in 2010 and is currently practicing law as a partner with Hoover Hull Turner, LLP. Justice Boehm received his undergraduate degree from Brown University and his law degree from Harvard Law School. He was awarded the Sagamore of the Wabash by five governors and has received many other awards including the Michael Carroll award for dedication to the Indianapolis community and the Silver Gavel award for civility from the Indianapolis Bar Association.

John Krauss

John Krauss is an attorney, mediator, and arbitrator. He retired from Indiana University and IUPUI after 23 years, has served as the founding director of the Indiana University Public Policy Institute, and is now a clinical professor emeritus – SPEA and an adjunct professor of law at IU McKinney Law. Krauss holds leadership positions with a diverse array of civic and corporate organizations, including the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission, the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission, and the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Past service includes chair of the Indiana Supreme Court Commission on Continuing Legal Education, and vice-chair and president of the Indianapolis Museum of Art. The Indiana Lawyer named him a Distinguished Barrister in 2018.

Steve Campbell

Steve Campbell serves as vice president of communications for the Indianapolis Colts. Earlier in his career, Campbell served as the City of Indianapolis’ director of communications and as deputy mayor of Indianapolis from 2005 to 2008. An active community volunteer, Campbell has served as co-chair of the National FFA Conference, chair of Indianapolis USA, vice-chair of the 2004 U.S. Olympic Wrestling Trials, and as a member of the Indianapolis Super Bowl XLVI Host Committee. He has served on multiple boards including the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Indiana Landmarks, and People for Urban Progress. Campbell is a graduate of Wabash College and the Indiana University School of Law, and is a graduate of the Stanley K. Lacy Executive Leadership Series. Campbell was awarded the Sagamore of the Wabash by three governors.

Shannon Williams

As senior vice president of community engagement at The Mind Trust, Shannon Williams leads the organization’s initiatives to engage, empower, and invest in communities that are most affected by education change in Indianapolis. Previously, Williams served for eight years as president of the Indianapolis Recorder Newspaper, one of the nation’s oldest African-American-owned newspapers, and the Indiana Minority Business Magazine. She held numerous leadership roles during her 18-year tenure at the publication. Williams has served on multiple boards including the Crossroads of America (Boy Scouts of Central Indiana), The Oaks Academy, and the Indianapolis Public Safety Foundation. She is a graduate of Jackson State University and the Stanley K. Lacy Executive Leadership Series.

Molly Chavers

Molly Chavers most recently served as executive director of IndyHub – a network, resource, and advocate for Indianapolis’ twenty- and thirty-somethings, providing a space to connect with people, community organizations, and the City. In 2013, Chavers was asked to spearhead the “No Mean City” initiative, a collaborative effort to tell the real stories of life in Indianapolis. Prior to joining Indy Hub in June 2005, Chavers served as the finance and special events director of the Indiana Democratic Party. She also served as government relations liaison at St. Vincent Hospital and Health Services, and is active on a variety of boards including Visit Indy and the United Way of Central Indiana. Chavers attended DePauw University.

For communication and inquiries regarding the Bicentennial, please use this email: bicentennial@indy.gov.

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