Indiana University Bloomington

Lebanon High School Community Center named for Herman B Wells

Sally Shaw Tanselle, B.A. 1963

The Herman B Wells Chapter of Boone County of the I.U. Alumni Association joined with Lebanon, Indiana city and school officials on November 14, 2013 to dedicate the new Herman B Wells Community Center at Lebanon High School. Wells, former president of I.U., was a 1920 graduate of Lebanon High School whose ties to Lebanon and Boone County remained important to him throughout his life. The new center is a joint project of the Lebanon Community School Corporation and the City of Lebanon.

HBW by Mary McCartney Jones“We are pleased that we still have so many fingerprints of Herman B Wells here in Boone County, and this is the perfect opportunity to honor him and those connections, ” said Jane Myers, (BSEducation,1974;MSEducation,1978) president of the Herman B Wells Chapter of Boone County IUAA

The 1920 Lebanon High School Cedars yearbook reveals that Wells graduated with 35 and one-quarter credits and was involved with the orchestra, the LHS Pennant newspaper, and the Cedars. Wells was “known to the Hall of Fame for three paramount reasons,” the yearbook states, “first, his minute size; second, his business head and pecuniary wisdom; and third, his musical ability.”

Other connections linking Wells to Lebanon are that Wells’ father, Granville, was a local Lebanon banker who had also served as the Boone County treasurer. The Granville Wells Elementary School near Jamestown on the former Wells family farm was named after him and is now led by Principal Susan Tanselle Ottinger (B.A.’89), a Lebanon High School and Indiana University graduate. The Wells family also donated the chimes for the carillon of Centenary United Methodist Church in Lebanon.

Speakers at the 4-5:30 p.m. dedication, in addition to Myers, included Pastor Richard Burdett, former campus minister; Dr. Robert Taylor,(M.S.Ed.1981; Dr.of Education, 2003)), Lebanon Community Schools Superintendent; Huck Lewis, Mayor of Lebanon, and Patrick O’Meara, I.U. Vice President Emeritus, who knew and worked with Wells. O’Meara recounted some of his personal memories of Wells and discussed many of Wells’ I.U. accomplishments. Also attending the dedication ceremony were the Jason Frost family, who today reside in the Wells family home on North Meridian Street in Lebanon.

Entertaining the audience with Hoagy Carmichael songs and folk and patriotic music were 41 members of I.U.’s Singing Hoosiers from the Jacobs School of Music, directed by Dr. Stephen L. Zegree. Earlier in the day, the Singing Hoosiers interacted with Lebanon High School music students in their choral classes in a music clinic directed by Dr. Zegree.

Boone County IUAA has given over $65,000 in scholarships to high school seniors during the club's history in Boone County. The most recent scholarship was the new Herman B Wells Memorial Scholarship, offered for the first time in 2013 to a Lebanon High School senior planning to attend IU Bloomington. Hanging next to the scholarship plaque is the HB Wells portrait by Jamestown artist and Wells family friend Mary McCartney Jones, purchased by the local alumni chapter, and now on permanent loan from Indiana University. An honorary bench, similar to the one found on the Bloomington campus, was also donated in honor of the HB Wells Community Center Dedication.

Boone County Alumni involved with the coordination of the day’s events included members of the Executive Board: Myers, Tom K. Drake, Ron and Frances Lind, Allyson Faucett, Dr. Gary French, Steve Gates, Mary Grabianowski, Dr. Jim Haines, Julie Haines, Kay K. Martin, Molly Murphy, Sigmon Myers, and Sandy and Pete Obremskey. Contributing members were Sally Shaw Tanselle, Sally Quick, Dr. Lacey Boggs, Dan Robbins, and Jeff Welty.

Information adapted in part from Sara Lang article in the Lebanon Reporter, Nov. 1, 2013.