Skip to Content | Skip to Search | Skip to Navigation
Indiana University

Indianapolis Prize Names Honorary Chairs

August 10, 2011
Indianapolis, Indiana --

A diverse group of entertainment legends, scientists and philanthropists are lending their support as Honorary Chairs of the 2012 Indianapolis Prize. The Indianapolis Prize was created to reward a conservationist with significant achievements in advancing the knowledge and sustainability of an animal species or group of species. The fourth biennial $100,000 Indianapolis Prize will be awarded in September 2012 and represents the leading award for animal conservation in the world.

The 2012 Honorary Chairs include:

-Jane Alexander. A Tony-winning actress, best known for playing the female lead in The Great White Hope on both stage and screen. Alexander has committed herself to a variety of charitable causes, serving on various boards, including the Wildlife Conservation Society, Project Greenhope and Women's Action for Nuclear Disarmament. In 1982, she received the Israel Cultural Award.

-Christel DeHaan. Both a global business leader and advocate of corporate social responsibility and philanthropy, Christel DeHaan’s philosophy is, “To care, to share, to make a difference.” It is manifested in her charity, Christel House, Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to helping orphaned and abandoned children in developing countries. DeHaan also serves on several boards and is the recipient of numerous national and local awards.

-Harrison Ford. Best known for being an award-winning actor, Ford is also a conservationist serving on the board of Conservation International for more than 15 years. Ford has received several environmental honors, including the 2002 Global Environmental Citizen Award from Harvard Medical School and the World Ecology Award from the International Center for Tropical Ecology. Among his many memorable films are Star Wars, the Indiana Jones trilogy, Witness, The Fugitive and Air Force One.

-Gilbert M. Grosvenor. Grosvenor is chairman of the National Geographic Society's Education Foundation and is a member of the Society's board of trustees. In 1975, Grosvenor created National Geographic World (now National Geographic Kids), a monthly magazine for children. In 1985 he launched an effort to improve geography education in the nation's classrooms. The Society's Geography Education Outreach division and its local partners have invested more than $110 million in improving geography in America's K-12 schools. In June 2004 Grosvenor received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

-Marvin Hamlisch. The renowned American composer is one of only two people to be awarded Emmys, Grammys, Oscars and Tonys as well as a Pulitzer Prize. He is the composer of more than 40 motion picture scores including his score and song for The Way We Were and his adaptation of Scott Joplin’s music for The Sting. Additional productions for which Hamlisch has provided original compositions and musical adaptations include Sophie’s Choice, Ordinary People, The Swimmer, Three Men and a Baby, Ice Castles, Take the Money and Run, Bananas and Save the Tiger.

-Carl Hiaasen. The American journalist, columnist and novelist graduated from the University of Florida and since 1976 has worked at the Miami Herald where he pens a weekly column. In the 1980s, he embarked on a career as a novelist, writing “environmental thrillers.” Hiaasen gained a following among young readers after his first children's novel, Hoot, which received the Newbery Medal and was made into a movie in 2006. Hiaasen has received numerous state and national honors, including the Damon Runyon Award from the Denver Press Club, for his journalism and commentary.

-Elinor Ostrom. American political economist Elinor Ostrom is considered one of the leading scholars in the study of common pool resources (CPR) and her work emphasized how humans interact with ecosystems to maintain long-term sustainable resource yields. In 2009, Ostrom received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for her analysis of economic governance. She is first woman to win the prize in this category.

-Roger W. Sant. Roger Sant co-founded the international power utility Applied Energy Services Corporation (AES) in 1981. Holding a variety of positions, including serving as the company’s Chairman of the Board and president and CEO, Sant retired in 2006 after nearly 25 years of service. Sant founded the Energy Productivity Center and is currently chairman of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution and Chairs the Boards of Trustees of The Summit Foundation, The Summit Fund of Washington and the National Museum of Natural History. He is Vice Chairman of the National Symphony Orchestra Board and Treasurer of the World Wildlife Fund – United States.

“We are honored to have these international celebrities and philanthropists lending their support to this important program,” said Indianapolis Prize Chair Myrta Pulliam. “A goal of the Indianapolis Prize is to bring public attention and support to conservationists, and both the distinction and the stature of these individuals aid in spreading that message.”

The Indianapolis Prize and Gala presented by Cummins highlight not only the finalists and recipient, but also the vitality and commitment of the Indianapolis community to this unique initiative – a visible component of the internationally recognized conservation efforts being undertaken by the Indianapolis Zoo. Eli Lilly and Company has provided funding for the Indianapolis Prize since its inception in 2006.


The Indianapolis Prize was initiated by the Indianapolis Zoo as a significant component of its mission to inspire local and global communities to celebrate, protect and preserve our natural world through conservation, education and research. This biennial award brings the world’s attention to the cause of animal conservation and the brave, talented and dedicated men and women who spend their lives saving the Earth’s endangered animal species. The recipient also receives the Lilly Medal, an original work of art that signifies the winner’s contributions to conserving some of the world’s most threatened animals. The 2010 Indianapolis Prize was awarded to Iain Douglas-Hamilton, founder and CEO of Save the Elephants and legendary conservation figure. Additional Prize predecessors include Dr. George Archibald, the co-founder of the International Crane Foundation, and Dr. George Schaller, the world’s pre-eminent field biologist and vice president of science and exploration for the World Conservation Society.

Source: The Indianapolis Prize