John Egan Reich


Honorary Degree (1986)
Doctor of Laws
Location: Indianapolis
Presenter: John William Ryan


One of the outstanding public-spirited business leaders in Indiana, John Egan Reich has made enduring contributions to the progress of the state. His energy, executive abilities, and personal values have led him throughout his career to participate in an extraordinary range of government, educational, business, and charitable organizations. He has given generously of himself for the advancement of these organizations and the purposes they serve.

Jack Reich was born at Chicago, Illinois. Following study at Purdue University, he became field director of the income tax and employment security divisions of the state of Indiana. In 1939 he began his long term of service with the Indiana State Chamber of Commerce, contributing his administrative skills to the development of this organization as field director from 1940 until 1952, as executive vice president from 1952 to 1962, and later as vice president and first vice president. During the 1940s he was also president of the Junior Chamber of Commerce, Indianapolis Chapter; state president; and vice president of the United States Junior Chamber of Commerce. He continues today to serve as a director of the Indiana State Chamber of Commerce and of the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce.

In 1962 Mr. Reich became chairman and president of the Indianapolis Water Company. In 1967 he joined American United Life Insurance Company and has served as chairman of the board and chief executive officer since that time. He was president of American United Life Insurance from 1968 to 1977.

Mr. Reich's ability to determine in the broadest sense the best interests of the organizations he serves has led him to be called upon for many positions of executive leadership. He is a director and member of the Executive Committee of the American Fletcher Corporation, the American Fletcher National Bank, and the Indianapolis Water Company; a director of the First National Bank of East Chicago; a member and past president of the Association of Indiana Life Insurance Companies; and a member of the Public Relations Policy Committee of the Health Insurance Association of America.

With commitment to the responsibilities of citizenship, Jack Reich has contributed his time, thought, and vision to a variety of governmental and civic organizations in his state and community. In all of these his leadership has brought widespread benefits for the quality of life in Indiana. He serves as director of the Indiana Academy in the Public Service and director and president of the Indiana Legal Foundation, and is a past chairman of the Indiana Toll Road Commission. He has put into action his dedication to the city of Indianapolis in numerous positions: as director and past president of the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee; director of the Corporate Community Council and of the Commission for Downtown, Inc.; a member of the Industrial Advisory Council of Indianapolis Opportunities Industrialization Center; and a member of the Advisory Committee for Metropolitan Manpower Commission.

Jack Reich's humane values and concern for others have led him to devote himself to many human service organizations. As a member of the Advisory Board of St. Vincent Hospital and of St. Augustine's Home for the Aged, a trustee of the Leukemia Society of America, and a past campaign chairman, president, director, and member of the Board of Governors of United Way of Greater Indianapolis, he has carried out a philosophy of personal obligation to contribute to the welfare of his fellow citizens. That philosophy has nowhere had greater scope than in Mr. Reich's work in support of education. His personal involvement with institutions both large and small has contributed importantly to the cause of higher education in Indiana and the enhancement of opportunities for young people as a foundation for the future of the state. He served for many years as a trustee of St. Mary-of-the-Woods College and the Indiana School for the Blind, and is a member and past chairman of the Board of Governors of the Associated Colleges of Indiana, a former campaign chairman of the United Negro College Fund, and a member of the national Campaign Council of the Campaign for Indiana. In addition, he has offered invaluable support and counsel to Indiana University's School of Business and School of Medicine.

The honors that have been conferred upon Jack Reich testify to the range of his civic contribution and the esteem of those who have had the pleasure of working with him. He is a member of the Indiana Academy, and received in 1967 the Horatio Alger Award of the Indianapolis Boys Club, and in 1985 the Isidora Feibleman Award of B'nai B'rith and the Abacus Award for service to the Indianapolis community. He was awarded the honorary Doctor of Laws by Butler University in 1973 and the honorary Doctor of Business Administration by Marion College in 1983.

A man of many talents and interests, John Egan Reich has left his mark in every area of his endeavors. Few individuals have volunteered so much of themselves or succeeded in bringing to completion so great a variety of significant projects. His leadership is an inspiration to the business community of Indiana and an example of the highest ideals of citizenship.