- IUPUI Spirit of Philanthropy Award (1989)
Jo Ann Spencer, a native of Michigan, moved to Indiana as a young girl. She attended Indiana University, where she was a member of Alpha Chi Omega Sorority and a Phi Beta Kappa Initiate. She earned her B.S. in Chemistry in 1946, but decided to go back to school at Columbia College in New York City to study Library Service. She graduated with her second bachelor's in 1947.
Her first professional position was in the Illinois Institute of Technology, where she met her future husband, William Spencer. The couple moved to New York City, where Spencer immersed herself in the cultural and intellectual opportunities of the city. They moved to Indianapolis in the 1960s, where Spencer returned to her career as a librarian at Eli Lilly and later Boehringer Mannheim. She was an early adopter of computers, learning how to use punch cards and using main frame computers in the early 70's and 80's. She later ran her own computer-based scientific librarian company from her own home, called "On Line Documents and Data."