IU mourns passing of former Indiana Governor Joe Kernan

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Former Indiana Gov. Joseph Kernan, center, was awarded an honorary doctorate in 2017 for his contributions to IU.  Photo by James Brosher, Indiana University

The Indiana University community mourns the passing of former Indiana Gov. Joe Kernan, who died this morning at the age of 74.

Kernan served as the 48th governor of Indiana from 2003 to 2005. He previously served as mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and then as the 47th lieutenant governor of Indiana from 1997 to 2003.

Kernan was also a U.S. Navy lieutenant who received numerous awards for his service, including the Navy Commendation Medal, two Purple Hearts and the Distinguished Flying Cross.

"Indiana University is deeply saddened by the loss of Joe Kernan, a decorated and heroic Navy officer, highly accomplished businessman and civic leader, and admired individual who served our state and its citizens with great distinction," IU President Michael A. McRobbie said. "As a mayor, Joe made major contributions to the revitalization of South Bend and to the growth and success of Indiana University's South Bend campus, which is actively engaged in serving the educational and employment needs of the local community. As lieutenant governor and governor, he was a great friend to and supporter of IU's educational mission, and he understood the enormous impact that higher education has on the economic development, cultural vitality and quality of life in our state.

"In 2017, we were extremely pleased to recognize Joe, who served on the IU South Bend Chancellor's Advisory Board, with an honorary doctorate for his enormous achievements, his public service, and his many contributions to IU and our state.

"His will be a lasting legacy, and our most heartfelt condolences go out to his family, friends, former colleagues and Hoosiers across our state who were fortunate to encounter his kindness, civility, compassion and generosity."