It is indeed a great honor and pleasure to introduce Eugene Ingram as our latest recipient of the Emeritus Award. Gene has been a member of the Ann Arbor Rotary Club since 1974, and he brings to us a record of professional and community achievement that exemplifies Rotary’s ideal of ‘Service Above Self.’
Gene was born and grew up in Louisville, Nebraska. He attended Nebraska Wesleyan University until World War II. He enlisted in the Air Force and attained the rank of 2nd Lieutenant. He finished his Bachelor of Business Administration at the University of Nebraska in 1948. A favorite professor, Dr. Elliott, told him that a position was open at the University of Nebraska as a buyer, and he got the job. By 1956 he was named Director of Purchasing at Nebraska. During those years in Lincoln, he was also very active in the Jaycees, serving on their Board of Directors and as President.
In 1965, Gene was offered the post of Director of Purchasing at the University of Michigan, retiring from there in 1993. Early in his tenure at the U-M, he was involved in the planning and implementation of a Minority Vendors Program, which served as a nationwide model. Other significant changes that occurred were the implementation of a new phone system, and the computerization of the University. As you might guess, the Purchasing Department played a big role in setting up policies and procedures for such huge projects. In addition, the Purchasing Department began a University-wide program of coordination with all units, resulting in a centralized purchasing system that reached every part of the institution.
Gene also served his profession for many years as President and longtime board member of NAEB, the National Association of Educational Buyers. His enthusiastic involvement on a national stage reflected his belief in sharing his ideas with others.
Gene has been married to Margaret for more than 60 years. They have four children, Rick, married to Susan Froelich, one of our own Rotarians; Rick, by the way, has been awarded the Honorary Paul Harris Award having brought the Huron High School choirs here for a number of years. Other children are Doug, married to Jamey Ingram of New York City, David here in Ann Arbor, and Margene, married to Brad Biederman of Philadelphia. There are four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Today we have with us Margaret, Rick, Susan and Doug. I have known this family since 1965 when they moved to Ann Arbor and have served with Gene in several areas of leadership both at Zion Lutheran Church and at First Presbyterian Church.
His longtime involvement in Rotary has included membership on many Rotary committees, especially the Scholarship Committee. He treasures his Rotary friends, and looks forward to many more years of Rotary fellowship.
(Remarks by Lois Jelneck, Nov. 23, 2011)
Rotary Club of Ann Arbor, Emeritus Award