The Chancellor’s Medallion Award is the highest honor that a Chancellor of Indiana University Northwest may bestow upon any individual. The award signifies that its recipient has given many years of distinguished and dedicated service to the institution and to the community. Only eight have been awarded throughout the university’s history.
On July 10, IU Northwest Chancellor Bruce Bergland awarded the Chancellor’s Medallion to longtime instructor, administrator and university friend, Randall C. Jacobs, in honor of his 34 years of service to the campus community. Jacobs, 62, of Valparaiso, has served since 2002 as Special Assistant to the Chancellor, and in that role he has achieved a number of critical objectives for the university related to community and legislative affairs.
“I am humbled and overwhelmed,” Jacobs said following Bergland’s presentation of the Medallion, which took place before a large audience at Gamba Ristorante in Merrillville. “It’s just amazing to me that we’ve got 115 people here that took time out of your personal schedules to be here and make this a very special night for me. I appreciate so much your being here and sharing it with me.”
Jacobs’s service to IU Northwest extends back to 1975, when he first joined the campus as a lecturer of technology in the Division of General and Technical Studies. Jacobs has remained deeply engaged with IU Northwest since that time, serving in a variety of administrative roles in the School of Business and Economics and other units, and continuing to lecture at the university even when his career path took him first to St. Margaret Mercy Hospital in Hammond and then to Northern Indiana Public Service Co.
Bergland, in a formal declaration accompanying the Medallion, gave Jacobs credit for obtaining $1.2 million in funding over five years from the U.S. Department of Justice for the Glen Park Weed and Seed Initiative, a program that supports community development and crime prevention as part of a revitalization effort. The Chancellor also credited Jacobs for his assorted instructional and administrative efforts for IU Northwest, as well as for his assistance in obtaining legislative support for a new Tamarack Hall, for which the Indiana General Assembly included $33 million in a state budget approved last month.
“We are honoring a very special person who has provided outstanding service to IU Northwest and to Northwest Indiana for many years,” Bergland told the audience before presenting Jacobs with the award. “His connection to our region has played a significant role in enabling him to be so important to the university.”
“Indiana University has been the most significant institution in my life,” Jacobs said. “I will always be proud to be associated with Indiana University.”
Other speakers lauded Jacobs’s contributions to business and healthcare in Northwest Indiana, calling him a community leader who has always demonstrated integrity, professionalism, and genuine concern for the people who are impacted by the decisions businesses make. Jacobs’s involvement with local healthcare began in 1979 as vice president of Saint Margaret’s. He later served on the Ancilla Systems Inc. Board of Directors and the St. Mary Medical Center Board of Directors, where he was greatly respected for his focus on the patients, according to Ancilla President and CEO Beth Kaminski.
“Business and industry in Northwest Indiana have been very fortunate to have Randy Jacobs as part of our business community, as an employee and as a volunteer,” Kaminski said. “As a friend and colleague, I know it’s true.”
In addition to the Chancellor’s Medallion, Jacobs also received the key to the City of Valparaiso, which was presented to him by former Hammond mayor Thomas McDermott, Sr., on behalf of Valparaiso Mayor Jon Costas.
“You’re one great citizen,” McDermott told his friend. “I was visiting with Mayor Costas the other day, and because of all your service to Northwest Indiana, he asked me, as an old mayor, to express his gratitude for you being a Valparaiso resident all these years … and present you with a key to the city. Randy, we all love you.”
Bergland noted that Jacobs was the first recipient of the IU Northwest Chancellor’s Medallion that he had selected, and said that presenting the award to his longtime friend was a personal honor for him, as well.
“Randy has been with me during almost all of my tenure as Chancellor, and he was with IU Northwest beginning long before I arrived,” Bergland said. “During our time together, Randy has been a highly valued colleague, a thoughtful advisor, a confidante … and, most of all, a trusted friend.”
Jacobs was accompanied at the event by many members of his family, including: his wife, Cathie; his son, Brett Jacobs, with his wife, Vanessa, of St. John; his son, Scott Jacobs, and his wife, Jenny, of Columbus, Ohio; his sister, Jacqueline Gutierrez, and her husband, Dr. Peter Gutierrez, of Crown Point; Cathie Jacobs’s sister, Bonney Worthington, and her husband, Edward, of Chesterton; and Randy Jacobs’s cousin, Marge Kerr, of Crown Point.
Jacobs expressed pride and gratitude to his many friends for their tribute to his years of service and accomplishment for the university and for the region he calls home. He reflected fondly on his years working closely with Chancellor Bergland for the advancement of IU Northwest.
“As I began to think about my remarks for this evening, the key words that kept coming back to me were ‘humbled’ and ‘honored’ and ‘overwhelmed.’ And I think that is still very appropriate tonight,” he said.
Other recipients of the Chancellor’s Medallion Award have included: in 1996, the John W. Anderson Foundation, Rev. Dr. Robert Lowery, and Norman G. Tufford; in 1997, former IU Trustee Frederick F. Eichhorn; in 1998, former IU Trustee Dr. Clarence Boone and Katherine C. Lazerwitz; and, in 1999, James L. Dandurand and Joseph T. Morrow.