Edgar Doud Whitcomb


McKinney School of Law Distinguished Alumni Award (1997)
Honorary Degree (1974)
Doctor of Laws
Location: Bloomington
Presenter: John William Ryan


Edgar D. Whitcomb, Governor of the State of Indiana from 1968 to 1972, was born in Hayden, Indiana. He graduated from the Hayden Public Schools and Indiana University. While an undergraduate at I.U., Mr. Whitcomb helped finance his education by working for two years as a waiter in the Union Building.

Mr. Whitcomb volunteered for the Air Corps shortly before Pearl Harbor and was commissioned in the first class of Air Force Navigators. He flew the Pacific with the first group of bombers to enter the Pacific War. During the war, Mr. Whitcomb was captured by the Japanese at the fall of Corregi-dor. He subsequently escaped from the Japanese prison on Corregidor by swimming eight and one-half hours at night, and returned to combat duty in the Philippines as Assistant Operations Officer for the Fifth Air Force. A graduate of Command and General Staff School, he ended the war as a Major and special staff officer in charge of training in the Fifth Air Force in the Pacific. Mr. Whitcomb has been awarded the Air Medal with oak-leaf cluster, and the Presidential Medal with six oak-leaf clusters.

Upon return to civilian life Mr. Whitcomb published a book entitled "Escape from Corregidor." The book has been printed three times in this country and once in England, and has been considered by critics as one of the most unusual stories of World War II. After the war, Mr. Whitcomb returned to Indiana University, where he received his LL.B. degree in 1950. In that same year Mr. Whitcomb, at the age of 33, was elected to the Indiana State Senate, where he served two regular sessions and one special session, serving as Chairman of the Rules Committee, Chairman of the Military and Veterans Affairs Committee, Member of the Judiciary Aid Committee and of the Little Hoover Commission. From 1954-56 he was Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana. He was elected Secretary of State in the 1966 election and Governor of the State in 1968.
In 1972, after serving four years as Governor of the State, Mr. Whitcomb returned to law practice in Seymour, Indiana. In addition to his law practice, he is active as a member of the official board of the Seymour Methodist Church, chairman of the Great Lakes Commission for the State of Indiana, and a Colonel in the United States Air Force Reserve, with assignment as a Liaison Officer of the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Mr. Whitcomb is currently Director of the World Trade Center at Indianapolis.

Mr. Whitcomb is a member of the Phi Delta Phi Legal Fraternity, the Indiana State Bar Association, the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, Elks, and the Farm Bureau Association.

Mr. Whitcomb is married to the former Patricia Dolfuss of Greenfield, Indiana. They are the parents of five children.