Released April 11, 2017

State Museum to honor John and Sarah Lechleiter at Tribute


Contact: Megan Simpson, 317.234.8146,  [email protected]

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana State Museum will bestow its most prestigious Heritage Keeper Award to John and Sarah Lechleiter at the annual Tribute dinner on April 25, 2017 at the Indiana State Museum.

“I had the privilege of getting to know John and Sarah during my time at Lilly, and was able to see firsthand their commitment to the community,” said Indiana State Museum President and CEO Tom King. “We are most fortunate to be able to honor their commitment and abilities during Tribute – and thank them for lending their names to help our organization thrive.”

The award is the highest honor bestowed by the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites. It recognizes Indiana’s greatest ambassadors for their embodiment of the Hoosier Spirit in their achievements, leadership and service to the State of Indiana.

The Lechleiters will be the seventh honorees, following Indiana’s four living governors in 2016, former First Lady Judy O’Bannon in 2015, Rabbi Sandy Sasso in 2014, Senator Richard Lugar in 2013, Earl Goode in 2012 and the Hulman-George family in 2011.

Tribute is our signature fundraising event. The proceeds allow us to continue our mission of developing high-quality exhibitions and dynamic programming for visitors and students around the state, while recognizing Indiana’s most respected citizens and leaders,” King added.

The event will begin with a reception at 6 p.m. The program will begin at 7 p.m., followed by a dinner reception at 8 p.m.

Business or cocktail attire is requested. For ticket information, please call 317.232.1637 or visit

This year’s Tribute is presented by Lilly.

About the recipients 

John and Sarah Lechleiter have spent many years working to build up the Indianapolis community. Together, John and Sarah chaired the 75th Anniversary Gala for Marian University and have been deeply involved in the United Way of Central Indiana’s efforts to strengthen early childhood education and support families.

John Lechleiter joined Lilly in 1979 as a senior organic chemist in process research and development. He was named CEO in April, 2008 and has served as chairman of the board of directors of Eli Lilly and Company since January, 2009. John retired as president and CEO in December of 2016, after 37 years with the company.

John Lechleiter is a member of the American Chemical Society. He is chairman of the board of United Way Worldwide and serves as vice chair of the board of the Chemical Heritage Foundation. He is a member emeritus of the board of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership and serves on the boards of Nike, Inc. and Ford Motor Company.

John Lechleiter earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Xavier University in 1975 and master’s and doctoral degrees in organic chemistry from Harvard University. He’s also been the recipient of multiple honorary doctorates.

Sarah Lechleiter serves on the boards of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and the Indiana Repertory Theatre. Sarah was a founding member and served as chair for what is now United Way of Central Indiana’s Women United, as well as Women of Tocqueville. She is a sustaining member of the Children’s Museum Guild, the St. Augustine Guild of the Little Sisters of the Poor and the Proctor Club.

Sarah Lechleiter graduated in 1976 with a degree in Sociology and Social Welfare from Edgecliff College, which is now part of Xavier University in Cincinnati.

John and Sarah Lechleiter have three children and six grandchildren.

#   #   #

The Indiana State Museum is located in White River State Park in the heart of downtown Indianapolis. It is Indiana’s museum for science, art and culture, offering a place where you can celebrate, investigate, remember, learn and take pride in Indiana’s story in the context of the broader world. Even the building is a showcase of the best Indiana has to offer in architecture, materials and sculpture. Easy and convenient parking is available in the attached underground garage.