In a surprise announcement Wednesday, Gov. Mike Pence gave a local university administrator the highest award the state has.
Indiana University Southeast Chancellor Sandra Patterson-Randles was awarded the Sagamore of the Wabash by Pence at a bill-signing ceremony at Ivy Tech Community College Southern Indiana in Sellersburg.
“I had absolutely no idea that was going to happen,” Patterson-Randles said. “Apparently, a bunch of people were working behind the scenes and they completely snookered me.”
Pence said Patterson-Randles’ work on the campus has helped expand learning opportunities for Hoosiers in the area and commended her on getting the dorms built on campus.
Patterson-Randles, who is also a Kentucky Colonel and an Ohio Commodore, said she’s glad to see IUS get some recognition from the state for its advances.
“I’m just really delighted that our progress here at IU Southeast has been recognized by the governor,” Patterson-Randles said. “I think we’ve made remarkable strides over the last decade with our team of people. I consider this award and recognition not just for myself, but for everyone here who’s been positive and constructive in terms of providing a quality education for our students and serving a public good in our community.”
The Sagamore of the Wabash, according to state documents, refers to a person in a northeastern American Indian tribe that the chief would consult for advice.
This year, the outgoing chancellor at IU South Bend, Una Rae Meck, was also awarded the Sagamore of the Wabash.
Patterson-Randles said as she looks to her retirement at the end of June, she’s honored to receive the award.
“I’m terribly, terribly pleased,” Patterson-Randles said. “It’s a wonderful recognition, and to receive it from the governor in person was a real special honor for me.”