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Last modified: Wednesday, October 23, 2002

J. Irwin Miller to be honored with IU's Herman B Wells Visionaries Award

Indiana University and the IU Foundation will honor J. Irwin Miller of Columbus, Ind., with the Herman B Wells Visionary Award on Friday (Oct. 25) at IU's Bloomington campus. This award is given to individuals whose vision and entrepreneurial spirit have brought them to an extraordinary level of achievement in their professional endeavors and in their service to humanity.

Miller is honorary chairman of Cummins Inc. in Columbus, Ind., the world's largest manufacturer of heavy-duty diesel engines. From a family business with 60 employees, he built Cummins into a Fortune 500 company with more than 25,000 workers in 100 countries and $6 billion in annual sales. He also transformed his hometown of Columbus, Ind., into one of the architectural wonders of the nation.

He championed social reform, from helping organize Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1963 civil rights march on Washington to shutting down a Cummins plant in South Africa in protest of the apartheid government. King called him the most progressive businessman in America.

Miller has advised presidents both in the United States and abroad, from John F. Kennedy to Nelson Mandela. He has received 18 honorary doctorates from some of the most prestigious universities in the country and numerous awards, including membership in Phi Beta Kappa and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His colleagues term him a man who thinks first as a concerned citizen of the world. In 1967, Esquire magazine ran his profile on the cover and stated unequivocally, "This man ought to be the next president of the United States."

As IU's president and then chancellor, the late Herman B Wells led the university for 63 years, shaping it into one of the world's great universities. He was known nationally and internationally as a leader in higher education and as a man devoted to the improvement of society through education.

Wells also served as chairman, vice chairman and chairman emeritus of the board of directors of the Indiana University Foundation, IU's central fund-raising, investment and funds administration organization, from 1937 until his death in March 2000.