Honoree

Beurt SerVaas

AWARDS

Thomas Hart Benton Mural Medallion (1992)
International Council Dinner
Location: Bloomington
Presenter: Thomas Ehrlich

BIOGRAPHY

A medical scientist, industrialist, business and community leader, Dr. Beurt SerVaas is one of the architects of Unigov, Indianapolis' consolidated city-county government adopted in 1970. A key player in shaping the city's political and business landscape, he served more than four decades on the Indianapolis City-County Council , 27 as president.

Dr. SerVaas grew up in Indianapolis. At Shortridge, he played football, was on the debate team and edited "The Daily Echo" school newspaper. He also achieved the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts, and won his amateur radio license. His grades and activities at Shortridge earned him a scholarship to Indiana University Extension Division. Later, he enrolled at the University of Mexico, teaching children English to support himself, and eventually returned to finish at IU with degrees in chemistry, history, and Spanish, along with a teaching certificate. Dr. SerVaas briefly taught students at Shortridge, yet those plans were cut short by World War II; he then served as a naval officer in China for the Secret Intelligence Division of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS).

After the war, Dr. SerVaas returned to Indianapolis. He purchased and successfully re-established more than 20 small and medium-sized diversified companies. In 1970, he acquired and became chairman of Curtis Publishing Company. His business empire, SerVaas, Inc., now includes 21 companies that specialize in everything from European foreign trade to pharmaceutical licensing and manufacturing. Dr. SerVaas entered IU Medical School as a part-time student when he was in his 40s, due to a lifetime interest in health and preventative care, and earned a doctorate in medical science.

Dr. SerVaas and his wife, Corey, have five children and 19 grandchildren.