Andrew Jacobs


Honorary Degree (1998)
Doctor of Laws
Location: Indianapolis
Presenter: Myles Neil Brand


Andrew Jacobs Jr. has been a Marine, a police officer, a lawyer, a state legislator, a member of Congress, an author, and a college teacher. When asked to describe him, his friends call him a crusader, a nonconformist, a wit- and a kind and civil man. Jacobs graduated from Shortridge High School in Indianapolis then joined the US Marine Corps and fought in Korea. He returned home and returned to school, graduating from Indiana University in 1954 and from IU Law School in Indianapolis in 1958.

"Andy always has been a crusader" says IU Trustee Robert H. McKinney. "While working as a police officer in the sheriff's department and attending law school, he suggested a change in railroad crossings that virtually eliminated crossing accidents in Marion County." Jacobs took that crusading spirit to the Indiana House of Representatives, where he served from 1959 to 1964, and on to Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. During his 15 terms in the U.S. House, he served on the House Ways and Means Committee, chairing both the Medicare and Social Security subcommittees.

His crusades on the Hill were many and varied. He helped write the 1965 Voting Rights Act. "He put forward year after year with unyielding determination a plan for a national preschool program so all children would enter kindergarten prepare to learn," McKinney recalled. Jacobs sponsored laws that made Father's Day a legal holiday and that designated smoking sections on airplanes.

"Andy also courageously stood up against those calling for further involvement in the tragic Vietnam War, using insights undoubtedly gained during his own participation in a foreign war," says Ralph Gray, IUPUI professor emeritus of history. In 1976, Jacobs authored the "Payment Book Amendment" to require a balanced budget and mandatory retirement of the national debt. He reintroduced it in every Congress. He fought to end Political Action Committees (P ACs), spent little on his campaigns, and turned back part of every pay check to the U.S. Treasury.

In 1973 Jacobs wrote The Powell Affair: Freedom Minus One, telling the story of Adam Clayton Powell's ouster from Congress. Ralph Gray describes the book as "one of the few historical accounts ever written by any of Indiana's major political figures." When Jacobs left the House in '96, he used his farewell remarks to admonish those on both sides of the aisle: "There is so much good in the worst of us and so much bad in the best of us that it hardly becomes any of us to say very much about the rest of us."

Jacobs currently lectures in the School of Liberal Arts, and he is as popular on the IUPUI campus as he was with the electorate. "Students have gone out of their way to stop by my office for no reason that to say how much they are enjoying a class they are taking from Andy Jacobs," says William Blomquist, associate professor and chair of the Department of Political Science. "Andy brings the same talents and enthusiasm to the classroom that he brought to his forms of public service." "Many will remember Andy for his nonconformity and wit; many others will remember him for his kind, civil manner," IU Trustee James T. Morris said. "He is the most highly principled lawmaker I know."