Rose-Hulman Honors Wabash's Clay Robbins ’79

by Jim Amidon

June 9, 2006

Wabash alumnus N. Clay Robbins ’79, who is president of Lilly Endowment Inc., received the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology's highest honor during the 128th Commencement ceremonies in Terre Haute. Robbins was one of three men who received an honorary doctorate of humane letters. What follows is the citation read when Robbins was presented for his degree.

"Mr. Chairman, on behalf of the Board of Trustees, it is my pleasure to present to you N. Clay Robbins, for the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.

"Throughout his life, Clay Robbins has been guided by a consistent set of values: hard work, high standards, integrity, honesty, and generosity of spirit. He is a leader in every sense of the word.

"Clay Robbins has served as the president of Lilly Endowment since 1994. He joined the staff of Lilly Endowment in 1993 as the vice president for Community Development, supervising the division's grant-making activities. He was elected as a member of the Endowment's Board of Directors in 1999. His values are reflected in the Endowment's long term commitment to nurturing Indiana's intellectual capital, especially as represented in our youth. Thirty-four of our graduates here today are Lilly Community Foundation Scholars.

"An Indianapolis native, Clay Robbins graduated from Wabash College in 1979, where he was a religion major and Lilly Scholar. He went on to earn a J.D. from Vanderbilt University School of Law.

"In 1982, Clay Robbins joined the law firm of Baker & Daniels where he later became a partner. There he focused his practice on tax-exempt organizations, estate and gift tax, and immigration law. He also served as an exchange associate in the European Economic Community in Brussels, Belgium.

"A member of the Indiana State Bar Association, Clay Robbins chaired the international law section in 1987-1988 and served on the drafting committee for the Indiana Nonprofit Corporation Act of 1991.

"Clay Robbins also serves as a member of the boards of the United Way of Central Indiana, the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce and the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership. He is also a former director of the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee, the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, and Damar Homes, a nonprofit residential program serving youth with developmental disabilities.

"Along the way, Clay Robbins has been an active member of North United Methodist Church in Indianapolis, taken time to coach youth sports teams, and shared the joy of planting and nurturing a garden with his family. Clay and his wife Amy are the proud parents of three sons.

"In recognition of these achievements, the Board of Trustees of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology present on this 27th day of May 2006, N. Clay Robbins for the highest award of the Institute, the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters."


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