Cornelius Wesley Pettinga


IUPUI Spirit of Philanthropy Award (1999)
Honorary Degree (1988)
Doctor of Science
Location: Indianapolis
Presenter: Thomas Ehrlich


Dr. Pettinga joined Eli Lilly as a chemist in 1949 and spent most of his first year working on a cooperative research program at the Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago. He was named head of biomedical research in 1953, assistant to the vice president of research, development and control in 1960, and executive director of the product development division in 1963. He was named vice president of research, development and control in 1964. In 1971, he was made president of Elizabeth Arden at the time the subsidiary was acquired by Lilly, and he served concurrently as vice president of the parent company.

He assumed the office of executive vice president of Eli Lilly, responsible for company wide administration of Lilly Research Laboratories, biochemical operations, production operations, corporate quality assurance and corporate medical affairs, in 1972. Dr. Pettinga was a member of Eli Lilly's board of directors from 1966 until his retirement in 1986. He also served on the boards of directors of the following Lilly subsidiaries: Eli Lilly International Corp., Elizabeth Arden, Elanco, IVAC, Physio Control Corp. and Cardiac Pacemakers.

Long interested and active in educational affairs, Dr. Pettinga served on the boards of Park Tudor and Tudor Hall schools. He also served on the boards of Coe College, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Sweet Briar (Va.) College; and Hanover (Ind.) College, and was a member of the Chancellors Advisory Board of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, serving two periods as chairman of that group. He served on the board of governors and finance committee of the Indianapolis Museum of Art and as vice president of its board of trustees.

Dr. Pettinga was active in scientific affairs of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Chemical Society, the Society of the Sigma Xi, scientific honor society, and the Indiana Academy of Science, where he held a number of offices, including that of president in 1991. He served on several National Science Advisory Panels, including at the Department of Commerce, and was a member of the Advisory Committee to the Director of the National Institutes of Health for four years.

The American Diabetes Association awarded him its Dr. Charles H. Best Medal for his leadership in the development of human biosynthetic insulin in 1987. He was twice named a Sagamore of the Wabash by Indiana Govs. Otis R. Bowen and Robert D. Orr.