Roger Douglas Branigin


Honorary Degree (1969)
Doctor of Laws
Location: Bloomington
Presenter: Joseph Sutton


Roger D. Branigin was born and educated in Franklin, Indiana. Following graduation from Franklin College with a B.A. degree in 1923, he entered Harvard Law School, receiving his LL.B. degree three years later. In 1926, he was admitted to the Indiana bar and began the practice of law in Franklin. Immediately establishing himself as a competent member of his profession, he became deputy prosecutor of Johnson County in the same year and added to a practical apprenticeship in the law an early baptism into Hoosier politics at the grass roots level. Further recognition of his ability came with his appointment as general counsel, Louisville office, of the Federal Land Bank and the Farm Credit Administration in 1930. After eight years, he resumed his private practice of law at Franklin, continuing until his entry into military service in 1942.

Assigned to the Transportation Corps, he held the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army at the time of his retirement in 1946. Since World War II, he has practiced law continuously at Lafayette, except for the four years when he was Indiana's Chief Executive, and served as legal counsel or board member for several corporations. Active in the Indiana Bar Association, he became its president in 1950. The Democratic State Convention of 1964 selected him as its nominee for Governor on the first ballot, a choice overwhelmingly approved by the voters in November. Inaugurated 42nd Governor, Roger Branigin served the state with great dedication and devotion. His varied interests have been especially identified with education and Indiana history. He has been a member of the Franklin College Board of Trustees since 1937, chairing it for many years. Additionally, from 1950 to 1955 he was a Trustee of Purdue University. His generous contributions to the Banta Library at Franklin College have made its holdings on Indiana and Middle Western history among the foremost in this region.

Unsurpassed by any leading Hoosier state official in his knowledge of Indiana's historical background and heritage, he has been notably successful in arousing fellow Hoosiers to a heightened appreciation of their legacy from the past. In recognition of these accomplishments, Indiana University named him an Honorary Lilly Library Fellow in 1966. Governor Branigin has won a large and enduring niche in Hoosier annals as an outstanding lawyer, distinguished public servant, and specialist in Indiana history.