Indiana Gov. Mike Pence presents Indianapolis couple with prestigious recognition
Indianapolis, May 28, 2015 – Indiana Gov. Mike Pence presented Sidney and Lois Eskenazi each with the Sagamore of the Wabash at a special ceremony earlier today. The Sagamore of the Wabash is one of the state’s highest individual recognitions.
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi are recognized philanthropic leaders in Central Indiana. In 2011, the Indianapolis couple contributed one of the greatest philanthropic gifts ever to the people of Central Indiana, and one of the largest gifts ever made to a public hospital in the United States, when they contributed $40 million for a new hospital and medical campus now known as the Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital and Eskenazi Health. The hospital and health campus opened in December 2013.
“Sidney and Lois Eskenazi are humble and compassionate individuals who share Eskenazi Health’s spirit of community and commitment to improving the lives of others,” said Dr. Lisa Harris, CEO of Eskenazi Health. “We are deeply grateful for their continued support and congratulate them on receiving the Sagamore of the Wabash.”
Sidney Eskenazi grew up in Indianapolis, attending Manual High School before graduating from Shortridge High School, and both he and Lois Eskenazi are Indiana University (IU) graduates. Lois Eskenazi earned a bachelor’s degree that enabled her to work as a medical and lab technician. Sidney Eskenazi established a successful real estate development company, Sandor Development Company, in 1963 and has built it into one of the nation’s leaders, with 129 properties under management in 23 states. Sidney Eskenazi, founder and CEO of Sandor, continues to manage operations, along with his son, David Eskenazi, president at the Indianapolis office. Sidney Eskenazi named Sandor after his daughters, Sandy and Dori.
“We are immensely grateful to the Eskenazis for their contributions not only to Eskenazi Health, but the entire Central Indiana community,” said Ernest Vargo II, CFRE, president and CEO of Eskenazi Health Foundation. “They have had a tremendous impact on philanthropy to public projects – including public hospitals – across the country.”
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi learned early the importance of philanthropy. After the example set by Sidney’s father and uncle, Sidney made giving back a priority. After a successful business transaction in 1970, Sidney established a scholarship fund at IU. Years later, IU presented Sidney and Lois with an opportunity to support the arts and art students by giving to the Indiana University Herron School of Art and Design. Today, the Herron School’s Eskenazi Hall honors that gift.
“The exceptional and unprecedented gift from Sidney and Lois Eskenazi has been a catalyst for further giving and support from our community,” said Matthew R. Gutwein, president and CEO of Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County. “Eskenazi Health and the entire Health & Hospital Corporation family have benefitted enormously because of the generosity.”
The term “sagamore” was used by the Native Americans in the northeastern United States to describe a great man—or woman—among the tribe to whom the chief would look for wisdom, guidance and advice. Similarly, the Sagamore of the Wabash is given to those who have rendered distinguished service to the state and contributed greatly to Hoosiers statewide.