November 18, 2013
Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus (IUPUC) honored local education advocate and former Columbus Mayor Nancy Ann Brown with the 2013 James G. Simms Leadership Award during its annual Circle of Leadership Celebration on November 14 at Harrison Lake Country Club.
The award—established in honor of the late James G. Simms for his vision, perseverance, and dedication in founding the IUPUC campus in the 1970s—recognizes inspiring individuals who have generously given their time, dedication, and leadership to advance IUPUC’s mission.
During her time as mayor of Columbus, Brown rallied community, congressional, and corporate support to secure 29 acres of land which is now the permanent home of IUPUC. In 1974, IUPUC took up residence in the former U.S. Army command and training facility that had been vacated and neglected for more than five years.
FAA regulations mandated the local Board of Aviation collect and direct proceeds from activity on airport property to support aviation. IUPUC paid annual rent and made significant improvements to the facility in lieu of rent. When rent payments were scheduled to double in order to fund a new runway, then Vice Chancellor and Dean Paul Bippen sought assistance from Mayor Brown.
Bippen cited that IUPUC’s value to the community and the region went far beyond that of a rent-paying airport tenant. Bippen’s recommendation that the land be donated to the Trustees of Indiana University met with resistance until Mayor Brown intervened. Brown garnered the support necessary to make the land transfer a reality.
Brown’s list of accomplishments is long and impressive. During her tenure as mayor of Columbus, she established the Arts Commission for City Hall and led work on the construction of City Hall and Fire Station 3.
In addition to holding other elected county offices, Brown has worked in the local real estate and finance sectors, served on numerous local and state governing boards, commissions, and advisory committees, and is active in a number of professional organizations.
Brown is the recipient of the Indiana Trailblazing Women Award, the Golden Rule Award for Outstanding Work in Government, the Community Achievement Award for Outstanding Progress Improving Municipal Government, and the Athena Award for Outstanding Leadership among Community Business Women.
For more information about IUPUC, visit iupuc.edu/history.