The Purdue Bands & Orchestras Awards Banquet takes place at the end of each semester, recognizing student accomplishments and awarding many unique scholarships. The Fall 2019 Awards Banquet on Sunday, November 24 began with a special surprise. Professor Jay Gephart, Director and Al G. Wright Chair of Purdue Bands & Orchestras was awarded the Sagamore of the Wabash – one of the highest honors in the State of Indiana. Purdue University President Mitch Daniels presented the award on behalf of the Governor of Indiana, Eric Holcomb. Gephart received the award in recognition of his dedication to excellence and the impact he has had throughout the state.
In addition, State Representative and loyal Purdue alumna, Sheila Klinker, presented Gephart with a golden Seal of the State of Indiana celebrating his 25 years as a faculty member with Purdue Bands & Orchestras.
The Sagamore of the Wabash award was created during the term of Governor Ralph Gates, who served from 1945 to 1949. The term “sagamore” was used by the American Indian Tribes of the northeastern United States to describe a lesser chief or a great man among the tribe to whom the true chief would look for wisdom and advice. It is a personal tribute usually given to those who have rendered a distinguished service to the state or to the governor. Among those who have received Sagamores have been astronauts, presidents, ambassadors, artists, musicians, politicians, and ordinary citizens who have contributed greatly to our Hoosier heritage.