Isaiah Lynd Esch


Honorary Degree (1971)
Doctor of Humane Letters
Location: Indianapolis
Presenter: John W. Ryan


Isaiah Lynd Esch was born in Flinton, Pennsylvania on 17 November 1905. He received a master's degree in business administration and industrial engineering from Goodyear Industrial University in 1927 and taught there until 1933. His ministerial training, pursued from 1931 on, resulted in his ordination by The United Brethren Church in 1933, and he subsequently held pastorates in Oakland, San Diego, and Los Angeles. He continued his studies at Williams Junior College, Chapman College, which awarded him an A.B. ('40) degree, and the University of Southern California, from which he received Th.M. ('41) and Ph.D. ('42) degrees.

In 1945, Dr. Esch was called to the presidency of Indiana Central College (now University of Indianapolis), inaugurating a period of substantial institutional growth and academic strengthening. When Dr. Esch retired from this position in 1970, he could count among the many accomplishments of his 25-year tenure: the establishment of an Evening Division, a Graduate Division, a Center for Industrial Relations and Continuing Education, and the first Master's of Art degree; accreditation of the College by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools and professional accreditation of the teacher education (National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education) and nursing programs; the addition of seven new buildings to the campus; and a sizeable reservoir of respect and good will among the College's church constituency, generally throughout the state, and particularly within the Indianapolis area.

Additionally, his talents and energies have been productively applied in broad educational, church, governmental, state and civic endeavors. Dr. Esch is a past president of the Indiana Conference of Higher Education and of the Associated Colleges of Indiana, of which he was also a founding member (currently known as Independent Colleges of Indiana, ICI), as well as a former member of the Indiana State Board of Public Instruction. At different periods, he served altogether twenty-two years on the national council of administration for The Evangelical United Brethren Church and, after a merger, on the Judicial Council of The United Methodist Church; he is a past president of the Church Federation of Greater Indianapolis; and, he has served on the boards of the Y.M.C.A. and Salvation Army in Indianapolis. Dr. Esch is a past president and member of the Indiana Employment Security Board. He has seen service on the Industrial Panel of the American Arbitration Association, on the boards of the Indiana League for Nursing and the Indiana Chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society, and on the Central Indiana Council of Boy Scouts of America.

Locally, Dr. Esch has served as Board President of the University Heights Hospital, on the Advisory Board of St. Francis Hospital, and as a Board member of Community Hospital, Norways Foundation, the Indianapolis Hospital Development Association, the Muscular Dystrophy Foundation, the Indianapolis area chapter of the American Red Cross, and the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce.

Among the honors he has accrued are membership in Phi Beta Kappa, Theta Phi, Alpha Kappa Delta, and Phi Kappa Phi; the Award of Merit of the Daughters of the American Revolution; honorary membership in the American Guild of Organists; and honorary degrees from York College (now Westmar), Lebanon Valley College, Chapman College, Butler University, and Rose Polytechnic Institute (now Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology).

Dr. Esch died on February 10, 1994.