Joe E. Kernan


Honorary Degree (2017)
Doctor of Humane Letters
IU South Bend Commencement Ceremony
Location: South Bend
Presenter: Michael A. McRobbie


Joe E. Kernan served as the State of Indiana Governor and Lieutenant Governor as well as mayor of South Bend. He currently serves on IU South Bend's Chancellor's Advisory Board and is a member of the Chancellor's 100.
As South Bend's mayor, he was credited with investing in long-term job-creation efforts, improving public safety and strengthening the city's financial standing. He continued those efforts as lieutenant governor and governor, leading numerous initiatives and programs to raise the economic and human condition of the state.
In 1969, Kernan entered the U.S. Navy and served as a naval flight officer aboard the U.S.S. Kitty Hawk. In May 1972, he was shot down over North Vietnam and was held as a prisoner of war for nearly 11 months. Kernan was repatriated in 1973 and continued on active duty until December 1974. For his service, Kernan received numerous awards, including the Navy Commendation Medal, two Purple Hearts and the Distinguished Flying Cross.