Hall of Fame


Roger Branigin, Franklin High School Class of 1919, served as Indiana Governor from 1965 to 1969.

Artist: Helen Briggs Duckwall  Source: Indiana Historical Bureau

Honoring Our

Distinguished Alumni

The Franklin Community High School Alumni Hall of Fame was created in 2014 to honor distinguished FCHS graduates.   

The inductees exemplify the FCS Guiding Principles of Communication, Individual Student Growth, Collaboration, Systemic Continuous Improvement and Trust.

Those honored include a late governor, business and education leaders and noted professional athletes. 

The criteria are based on the nominee as a role model, leadership at local, state, national, and/or international level through their chosen career or vocation and/or society through their work or donation of time and have been out of high school for 20 years or more.  

George Crow l Franklin Community Schools Hall of Fame

George Crowe, 1939 graduate and one of Franklin High School's greatest athletes, played professional baseball and basketball. 


Class of 2015
Gov. Roger D. Branigin

Gov. Roger BraniginRoger Branigin once said, “I’m a Hoosier, a Baptist, and a Democrat, and by God, you can’t get much more common than that.”  His opinion of himself was very humble, however, ‘common’ is probably the least accurate word one could use to describe him. Born in 1902, he was a member of a pioneer Johnson County family with a proud Hoosier heritage. Branigin graduated from Franklin Community High School in 1919. He went on to graduate from Franklin College, then earned his law degree from Harvard University.


Branigin practiced law in Franklin, Louisville, Kentucky, and Lafayette prior to serving in World War II.  In 1964, he was elected the 42nd governor of Indiana. Branigin’s campaign pledge to build a new Indiana meant that he often spent 18 hours a day speaking with thousands of voters. The result of Branigin’s election is history, winning by a record plurality of over 260,000 votes. It was his boyhood dream come true.  


Throughout his career, Roger Branigin never said no to Franklin. Even while serving as governor, Branigin was never too busy to welcome the new class of students to Franklin College each year. He contributed heavily to the David Demaree Banta Collection of the Franklin College Library and served as a member of the Franklin College Board of Trustees. During his alumni years, nothing was built, programmed or done at Franklin College without Roger having a strong hand in it, financially, in wisdom input, or otherwise.   


Of all of his many great accomplishments, Branigin himself was especially proud of the Hoosier Scholarship Program. He has said that his fondest memories as governor were the launching of the program designed to help deserving young men and women to attend college. He often referred to a delivery truck driver who had four children, all of whom were valedictorians in high school and attended colleges or universities in Indiana on Hoosier Scholarships.  

Mr. George Crowe
George Crowe l Franklin Community Schools Hall of FameGeorge Crowe graduated from Franklin Community High School in 1939. He graduated from Indiana Central College, which is better known today as the University of Indianapolis, in 1943.

A standout athlete, Crowe didn’t start playing basketball until his junior year of high school when he was approached by Coach Fuzzy Vandivier. His senior year the Grizzly Cubs played for the state championship, and after the loss, Crowe was overlooked by the committee who selected the tournament’s outstanding player. The Hammond Times wrote that “George Crowe was reminded by five little men that his color wasn’t right.” When the Indianapolis Star invited its readers to vote for an all-state team, Crowe, the only black player on a small-town team, finished first with just over 48,000 votes out of more than 103,000 cast. As the people’s choice, he was named the first Indiana Mr. Basketball.


While in college he played basketball, baseball and ran track. Mr. Crowe always maintained that basketball was his best sport, but because professional basketball was on shaky financial ground, he tried out with the New York Black Yankees baseball team.   


Though Crowe never played baseball in high school, as there was no school baseball team back then, he went on to have a successful career. He made his Major League Debut in 1952, at the age of 31, for the Boston Braves. Crowe is remembered as a mentor to many of the young African American players that came after him. Jackie Robinson described him as articulate and far-sighted.


Mr. Crowe retired in 1961 and the Franklin High School baseball field was named Crowe Field shortly thereafter.     

Throughout his life and athletic career, George Crowe faced discrimination and segregation, but chose to, in his own words, ‘play through it’, and did so with quiet confidence.
Mr. Robert Davis

Robert Davis l Franklin Community High SchoolRobert Davis graduated from Franklin Community High School in 1985. After graduating from Miami University with a Bachelor’s degree in finance, he went on to earn his Master of Business Administration from Northwestern University's Kellogg Graduate School of Management and his Juris Doctorate from Northwestern University School of Law. 


Rob began his career at Eli Lilly and Company where he held numerous positions of increasing responsibility for over 14 years. In 2004, he joined Baxter, International Inc., as treasurer. In 2006, he became corporate vice president and CFO at Baxter, before being named corporate vice president and president of Medical Products where he served from 2010 through 2014. In this role, Rob oversaw a range of businesses with products used in the delivery of fluids and drugs to patients, and in the treatment of end-stage kidney disease.


He joined Merck in April of 2014 as the chief financial officer and executive vice president for Merck & Co., Inc. He is an accomplished executive with significant financial and operational expertise.   


Rob served on the board of trustees for Rush University Medical Center and as a member of its finance committee from 2006 through 2014.  He was a member of the board of directors of AdvaMed from 2010 through 2014, and a member of the board of the Baxter International Foundation from 2006 through 2014. 

Ms. Jane Hughey

Jane Hughey l Franklin Community High SchoolJane Hughey graduated from Franklin Community High School in 1965. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Evansville and her Master of science and education from Indiana University. Jane dedicated her entire career to Franklin Community Schools.  


She exudes the guiding principles daily. She is committed to providing students with a world-class education. Her unparalleled professionalism is a great example for those who have had the opportunity to work with her. Her selfless devotion to her career and to her students is one of the many traits we applaud this evening. Jane is a credit to the school district and the community.  Many colleagues were once her students, and they share the same admiration for her now as they once did as her students.


Jeff Mercer had the opportunity to work alongside Jane during the course of a very special, year-long project, which resulted in a children's book being published and distributed free of charge to scores of classrooms throughout Johnson County and Indianapolis. He recalled that a couple of things struck him immediately; what a skilled educator Jane was and how incredibly committed she was to the children of Franklin. She is the epitome of a Master Teacher who bleeds Franklin blue.


Although Jane has been a leader in this district for nearly 46 years, she is continually striving to be innovative in her classroom. At the Google conference held in Franklin this past spring, Jane was front and center, eager to learn, soaking in each new concept. She remains student-centered spending countless hours tutoring students outside of the school day.   


Jane continues to have a love and a passion for teaching as though it is her first day of school. 
Mr. Jon McGlocklin

Jon McGlocklin l Franklin Community High SchoolJon McGlocklin graduated from Franklin Community High School in 1961. A four-year starter for the Grizzly Cubs, McGlocklin went on to play basketball for the Indiana Hoosiers before becoming a third-round draft pick of the NBA’s Cincinnati Royals. He scored the  Milwaukee Bucks first points and was the first player in the Bucks’ history to have his jersey number retired. By the end of his 11-year professional career, his resume included an NBA championship, an NBA all-star nod, and 9,119 career points.  


Utilizing basketball as his platform, Jon went on to co-found the Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer Fund. Espousing the guiding principles of leadership and trust, Jon partnered with longtime Milwaukee Bucks TV announcer Eddie Doucette, whose two-year-old son had been recently diagnosed with leukemia, to launch the charity.


Comprised of athletes, local business leaders and local celebrities, the MACC Fund is a great story of people rising up to be the best they can be in making our world better. McGlocklin is not only the MACC Fund’s president, and has been from the beginning, he is its most visible - and active - fundraiser.  The charity has given nearly $54 million to research centers and continues to grow.  When the MACC Fund was established, cure rates were about 20 percent. Today, they are about 80 percent. Facing a five-year survival rate of 66%, The MACC Fund’s first success story, Brett Doucette, beat the odds. Today, Brett is healthy, happily married, and a father.  Jon has made the growing charity his life’s mission and calls it a labor of love.  


Continuing his relationship with the NBA and professional sports, Jon can be seen and heard as a color analyst for the Milwaukee Bucks televised games.  McGlocklin also established and served as Vice President for Bando McGlocklin Capital Corporation from 1980-1997. He was also the owner and President of Healy Awards, Incorporated from 1997-2006.  


Jon’s dedication to community service is well demonstrated through his long-running commitment to the MACC Fund. He also sits on the Board of Trustees of the Medical College of Wisconsin, Emeritus status since 1986, as well as on the Athletic Board for the Wisconsin Fellowship of Christian Athletes since 1980. 

Mr. Robert 'Fuzzy' Vandivier

Fuzzy Vandivier l Franklin Community High SchoolRobert ‘Fuzzy’ Vandivier graduated from Franklin Community High School in 1922. For Fuzzy, leadership happened quite naturally. He was the captain, and most prominent member of ‘The Franklin Wonder Five’, Franklin High School’s legendary team. Bonded by basketball, the teammates stayed together throughout their high school career and continued their legacy at Franklin College, where Fuzzy captained the team for two more seasons.


A spinal infection caused Fuzzy to miss the first part of the season his junior year at Franklin College, but rather than sit idly by, he acted as Coach ‘Grizz’ Wagner’s assistant as well as the freshman team coach.


Vandivier is also remembered for his humility and commitment to the Franklin community. Rather than going into college coaching or pursuing more prestigious positions, he spent his entire working career at Franklin Community High School. He returned to his alma mater as a basketball coach from 1923- 1944 and then served as athletic director from 1944 -1962. He continued teaching at the high school until 1968. Fuzzy wasn’t one to speak about his accolades; his sole concern was his students.  


His impact on the community is evident as both the Vandivier gymnasium and the Wonder Five Center have been named in his honor. 

Class of 2016
Mr. Niel Ellerbrook
Niel Ellerbrook l Franklin Community Schools Hall of FameNiel C. Ellerbrook graduated from Franklin Community High School in 1966. He received a Bachelor of Science in accounting from Ball State University in 1970. In 1999, he received Ball State University’s Business School Award of Distinction and was later inducted into the Business School’s Hall of Fame. In 2001, he was also selected as a Distinguished Alumni and in 2008, was granted an honorary Doctor of Law degree from Ball State University.

Mr. Ellerbrook’s 10 years at Arthur Anderson were followed by a 20-plus year career at Indiana Energy, known as Indiana Gas Company during his early years with the organization. He advanced through a series of financial roles prior to becoming president and CEO of Indiana Energy in 1991. In the late 90’s, discussion began about a possible merger between Indiana Energy and the Southern Indiana Gas & Electric Company. The merger took place in April of 2000, and Mr. Ellerbrook was selected chairman and CEO.  

Mr. Ellerbrook’s 30-year energy industry career has been marked by impressive accomplishments. He was essential in the merging of two energy holding companies together, and successfully championed state utility rate redesign, which focused on the conservation of natural gas and the development of customer programs.


His leadership style and willingness to collaborate with others has made him extremely successful in his endeavors.  He is a recognized leader of diversity in the workplace and was instrumental in creating a high-performance culture within Vectren.  In a 2010 interview with the Journal Media Group, Greg Wathen said that Ellerbrook is a true gentleman, which is rare in the world of CEOs.  He is the epitome of a servant leader and genuinely cares about the well-being of people and the community in which he is a part of. He had a career-long devotion to the United Way and other community outreach efforts.


He was co-chair of a successful campaign for a new Ivy Tech campus and served as chair of the University of Evansville board of trustees. Along with his wife, Karen, he also co-chaired the fundraising campaign that led to the opening of the Koch Family Children’s Museum of Evansville, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. Mr. Ellerbrook also held many leadership positions at the state and national levels with the American Gas Association and the Indiana Energy Association.
In 2007, Mr. Ellerbrook was named the Indiana Chamber’s Business Leader of the Year.  He was quick to recognize that it was a team award, giving the credit to working for a great Indiana company in a great community, but it is also recognized that with any outstanding team or organization, it takes true leadership at the top.
Mr. Max Friedersdorf
Max Friedersdorf  l Franklin Community Schools Hall of FameAfter graduating from Franklin College with a journalism degree, Mr. Friedersdorf joined the staff at the Franklin Evening Star as city editor,  He was also a reporter for the Louisville Times, the Indianapolis News, and the Chicago Daily News.
During his time reporting at the Indianapolis News, Mr. Friedersdorf covered the courthouse, the statehouse, and the legislature. Then he started covering politics and the governor’s race. He became very involved and interested in politics. While covering the statehouse during the election of 1960 a newly elected congressman named Richard Roudebush was looking for an administrative assistant to go to Washington., Mr. Friedersdorf had hoped to get to Washington in a newspaper capacity, but had received no job offers, so he interviewed with the congressman, was offered the job, and spent the next ten years on the Congressman’s Roudebush’s staff.

Shortly after, Donald Rumsfeld contacted Mr. Friedersdorf offering him the congressional relations position at the Office of Economic Opportunity under President Nixon. From there, he says, he met a lot of people who went on to bigger and better things. It opened a lot of doors.  After a year at the Office of Economic Opportunity, he received the offer to work at the White House in congressional relations. Upon receiving the call, his response was, “When do I start?”


As a journalism major with a political science minor, he had always had an eye on politics but recognized that it was about getting the right breaks and meeting the right people at the right time. During the Nixon administration, Friedersdorf served as the Special Assistant for Congressional Relations and Deputy Assistant to the President for the House of Representatives. Through the Watergate scandal, Mr. Friedersdorf decided to stick it out, he said he liked his job and he liked the president.


The day that Nixon resigned, President Gerald Ford had a receiving line in the West Wing and the employees walked through. When Mr. Friedersdorf through the line, President Ford told him, “Max, I want you to stay. I’m going to need all the help I can get.” He served as the Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs. He was also a part of the delegation that was appointed to travel to China.  He served as the Staff Director of the Senate Republican Policy Committee and Chairman of the Federal Election Commission.  

When President Ronald Reagan was elected in 1991, he reached out to Mr. Friedersdorf to notify him that he had been recommended for the position of Assistant to the President for Congressional Relations and wanted to see if he had any interest in joining his staff. Before the phone call ended, Mr. Friedersdorf had accepted the position and started the next day.


In a 2002 interview, Stephen Knott spoke of how he was preparing a briefing book on Max Friedersdorf and could not find a single criticism anywhere. He said that it was unheard of, and found nothing but tremendous praise from both sides of the aisle. Mr. Friedersdorf said that he had good mentors and good teachers and that it all started in Indiana.  A master communicator… he is a remarkable man who had a remarkable career.  

Mr. Mark Janis

Mark Janis  l Franklin Community Schools Hall of FameMark D. Janis graduated from Franklin Community High School in 1982. He was valedictorian of his class. He earned a chemical engineering degree, with distinction, from Purdue University, and graduated summa cum laude with a law degree from the Indiana University Maurer School of Law.


Professor Janis practiced law at Barnes & Thornburg before joining the faculty at the University of Iowa College of Law as the H.Blair & Joan V. White Chair in Intellectual Property Law.


Professor Janis is currently a law professor on the faculty of the Indiana University Maurer School of Law in Bloomington, where he holds the Robert A Lucas Chair of Law. He specializes in intellectual property law.


As a professor, Janis has won several awards for his teaching and research, including the Collegiate Teaching Award, a Faculty Scholar Award, and the International Trademark Association’s Ladas Award. At Indiana Law, he was the recipient of the Leon H. Wallace Award, which is the highest teaching honor the school bestows on an instructor.  These honors and awards show us that individual student growth was always at the forefront of Professor Janis’ mind.   


Professor Janis has published numerous books, articles, and book chapters on patents, trademarks, design protection, and other areas of intellectual property law. He has also authored many amicus briefs in cases before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court. His expertise has offered him the opportunity to testify on patent law before the Federal Trade Commission as well as act as a consultant in patent and trademark law in a number of cases in the U.S., Canada, and Europe.


Professor Janis founded and directs the law school’s Center for Intellectual Property Research. The Center trains students who are passionate about innovation and creativity and who seek an intensive experience in all aspects of intellectual property law including patent, trademark and unfair competition, copyright, design and information policy. Thirty faculty, instructors, and staff are now affiliated with the Center, including faculty from as far away as India, Taiwan, and Australia. The Center has established many new programs, most recently an Intellectual Property legal clinic that provides pro bono patent and trademark services for small businesses throughout the state. It is the Center’s hope that these pro bono services will help Indiana solo inventors, Indiana non-profits, and some small Indiana businesses in need.    


Professor Janis and his wife, Julie, have three children and live in Bloomington.  

Mrs. Connie Leonard

Connie Leonard  l Franklin Community Schools Hall of FameConnie Leonard graduated from Franklin Community High School in 1955. After working for a finance company, she took a position at the Franklin Community Schools superintendent’s office. She spent the next 47 years of her life serving our students, faculty, and athletic community.  


After two years of working at the superintendent’s office, the high school principal, Ray Reed, pursued her to work for him at the high school. He begged her just to try it for one year. Her son, Tim, was two years old when she started at the high school, and she will tell you that he was raised by the custodians! He spent much of his childhood at the high school and still works here today.  


When it came time for Principal Reed to take another job, he again pursued Mrs. Leonard to join him. This time, she couldn’t, although she was honored that he thought so highly of her.


So many of the faculty members who taught when Connie was a student, were still there teaching when she went back to work there. She was able to guide new teachers and act as a trusted mentor for them, and serve as a calming and reassuring friend in their times of need. Mrs. Leonard’s dedication to her profession and the passion that she had for her job and the high school are unmatched.  To many, Mrs. Leonard was Franklin Community High School. 


Mrs. Leonard also supported Ted Server, who was the athletic director. She assisted him with many clerical duties, including those for the South Central Conference. This introduced her to athletics. It was not uncommon for Mr. and Mrs. Leonard to be seen at an FCHS sporting event. It probably would have been more uncommon had they not been there. Mrs. Leonard was an avid supporter of our student-athletes.  Over the years, several teams would honor her at the conclusion of the season as a thank you for her ongoing support.   


Mrs. Leonard had a way of making people feel good about themselves. To this day, she is remembered for those random acts of kindness that she continually showed others.

Class of 2017
Mrs. Diane Black

Diane Black l Franklin Community Schools Hall of FameDiane Black graduated from Franklin Community High School in 1967. She received a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from the University of Indianapolis in 1971. She earned a Masters of Arts in religion from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in 2007.  


Diane taught physical education and health at South Wayne Middle School in Wayne Township for three years.  She coached basketball, volleyball, softball and track.  


From 1991 to 1994, Diane was the executive secretary for Edinburgh United Methodist Church.  In 1995, she began her career at Franklin College. She served as the academic secretary for the Leadership Department as well as the program coordinator for Leadership Johnson County.


Between 2001 and  2016, Diane served as the administrator of engaged learning, assistant to the Leadership Department, and adjunct professor in liberal arts, religion, education, professional development and leadership.


Diane was a devoted member of the Franklin Community School Corporation Board of School Trustees for 16 years, two years of which she served as board President. She made an impact on Franklin as a founding member of Community Involvement in Learning, contract negotiator, C-9 Career Center Board president and building, bid and construction committees. She truly served in all capacities as a school board member. Diane was also a representative on the Johnson county Public Library Board of Directors from 2008 to 2016.


Diane has presented at numerous conferences on topics such as leadership, collaboration, board and superintendent relations and conflict management.  She has devoted her time and talents to valuable organizations such as Girls Inc., United Way, Leadership Johnson County, Johnson County Extension Board, and I could go on all night.  


Executive Director of Leadership Johnson County, Tandy Shuck, sums Diane up very well. She says, “Working with Diane Black is an experience you won’t soon forget.  She has the heart of a servant, the passion to lead in any situation, and the laughter to warm your spirit.  I tried to soak up as much leadership wisdom as I could while working with Diane.  I know that I am a better leader and person because of the time we spent together.”


Diane has invested in our community through her involved service, but also through mentoring many future leaders.  She finds potential and helps develop it.  In her honor, the Franklin College Leadership Department now annually bestows the Diane Black Servant Leader Award.  


We are honored that not only is she a graduate of Franklin Community High School, but also that she chose to invest so much back into our community.  

Mr. Barry Whetstine

Barry Whetstine l Franklin Community Schools Hall of FameBarry Whetstine graduated from Franklin Community High School in 1963. Mr. Whetstine said that upon his graduation, he reflected on the recruiters who had visited while he was a senior in high school. He chose to enlist in the US Navy, where he was selected to attend the Navy’s Nuclear Power training program, a two-year college level program that would qualify him to be a nuclear power plant operator on a new nuclear submarine.  From a group of approximately 50, there were two destined for the nuclear power program. 


This program is widely acknowledged as being the most demanding academic program in the US military. It operates at a fast pace with stringent academic standards in all subjects. They typically spent 45 hours per week in the classroom and were required to study an additional 10 to 35 hours per week. Much of the covered materials were classified, restricting the students from studying outside of the training building. Prior to being accepted into the program, Mr. Whetstine underwent many background checks to attain a ‘top secret’ security clearance.  


After successful completion of the Nuclear Power school, Mr. Whetstine was assigned to a fleet ballistic missile submarine where he completed qualification as a nuclear plant operator and qualified in submarines. The Navy's ballistic missile submarines serve as an undetectable launch platform for intercontinental missiles. They are designed specifically for stealth and the precise delivery of nuclear warheads. These submarines are comprised of two crews, rotated every three months, to keep the submarine on station, undetected and ready to defend our nation. He also served on an attack class submarine where his missions were covert and provided invaluable intelligence information to our nation’s leaders.  During his time in the Navy, he served on five submarines rising in rank to be the senior enlisted supervisor of the engineering department.


While in the Navy he received numerous awards including the Navy Achievement Medal, the Navy Unit Commendation, the Navy Expeditionary Medal and the Navy Artie Service Medal for classified covert operations during the cold war with the Soviet Union. One special operation conducted in the early 1980s was closely followed by the most senior personnel in the United States government. Upon completion of that mission, finally making radio contact after over 70 days of radio silencethey received a single reply back that read "Well Done, Ronald Reagan".


Mr. Whetstine was excited to take advantage of a three-year tour of shore after serving ten years at sea. He received undergraduate degrees in nuclear technology from State University of New York and vocational education from Southern Illinois University.  In 1978, he received a Master's Degree in industrial management from Central Michigan University.  


Upon retiring from the Navy, he accepted a position with General Electric and was immediately enrolled in their Reactor Operator Training course.  During his tenure at General Electric, he went on to complete more courses and obtain additional certifications. He worked at nuclear plants in Georgia and Alabama as a shift technical advisor to the control room operating crew.


After three years with General Electric, Mr. Whetstine started his own consulting company, where he provided technical support to the plant engineering staff at various nuclear power electric generating plants throughout the United States.


Throughout his lifetime, Mr. Whetstine continued to learn and grow as a student and leader. He is a living example of our guiding principle, individual student growth, and he calls Franklin his home.  

Class of 2018
Mr. Robert 'Bob' Claxton

Bob Claxton l Franklin Community Schools Hall of FameRobert (Bob) Claxton graduated from Franklin Community High School in 1972. He went on to graduate from Franklin College in just 3 1/2 years. He also earned his MBA from the University of Indianapolis.  


Upon graduating from Franklin College, Mr. Claxton began his career as an accounting clerk at Knauf Fiberglass in Shelbyville, Indiana. Over the years, he received many promotions, working his way up to plant manager in 1985. He was then selected to oversee the building of a new plant in Alabama.  


Upon returning to Shelbyville, he was promoted to Senior Vice President of Finance and served in that capacity for 16 years when he was then promoted to  President and CEO. Bob retired from Knauf in 2011 but continues to work on special projects for the company. In addition, Bob and two partners recently purchased a manufacturing plant in Fairland, Indiana where he currently serves as CEO.


While at Knauf, Bob's leadership helped develop the company into a worldwide industry leader. His greatest contribution, however, was making Knauf a major philanthropic force for Shelby County.  During his tenure, Bob made it a mission of Knauf to provide unprecedented support to non-profit organizations and charities. His efforts encouraged other professionals and businesses to become active in giving of their time, talents and finances to the community. These efforts significantly enhanced the lives of Shelby County citizens and have helped to provide an improved quality of life.


Bob has served on the Shelby County United Fund's Board of Directors for many years and twice assumed the responsibility of drive chairman, leading the campaigns he directed to great success.  He also dedicated extensive time and effort to the Shelby County Boys and Girls Clubs. He was an active member of the board of directors for 15 years and held the position of treasurer for ten years. He served as chairman of the capital campaign committee that funded new building renovation for the two youth-serving organizations.  The drive ultimately raised more than 2.6 million dollars, surpassing the campaign goal by $500,000.  The Indiana Boys and Girls Club Area Council presented Bob with its Volunteer of the Year Award in recognition of his tremendous service.


In addition, Bob has led capital campaigns for Major Hospital and St. Joseph Catholic Church. During his career, he has led campaigns raising more than $7 million for charities.


Bob has also served on several additional boards including Irwin Union Bank, the Blue River Foundation, the Shelby County Economic Development Commission, the Governor's Roundtable, Shelby County Senior Services and the Shelbyville High School Foundation Board.


An avid golfer, Bob competed in the State Finals while in high school, and the NAIA Nationals his junior year at Franklin College. Bob is married to Susie, his high school sweetheart, and has three married sons, Ryan, Brady,and Brett along with seven grandchildren. In addition, Bob's father, Bob Sr., was a teacher and administrator for Franklin Schools.


Bob has never wanted to be in the spotlight and always shifted his well-deserved accolades to others. Bob is an individual who genuinely cares about his community and wants to help.  One of my favorite movie lines is "Your life is an occasion, rise to it".  Bob Claxton has certainly done that. - Scott Olinger.

Dr. Alva O. Neal

Alva Neal l Franklin Community Schools Hall of FameAlva Otis Neal, Franklin High School Class of 1888, was the only male in a class of six. He graduated from Franklin College in 1892 and began teaching Latin to high school students at the South School on Monroe Street in Franklin.


Dr. Neal earned his Master’s in 1895 from Columbia University. In 1898 upon the death of Miss Kittie Palmer, one of the first women principals in Indiana, Alva Neal assumed the leadership of Franklin High School. From 1902 to 1905, he served as principal of Madison High School before becoming the superintendent of the Madison Schools.


Dr. Neal returned to Franklin in 1908 as Superintendent of the Franklin Schools. He was serving as superintendent when the “new high school” on Hurricane Street opened in 1909. Dr. Neal also served as the superintendent of the Kokomo Schools before he worked as a state high school inspector for the State of Indiana in 1912 and 1913.  At that time, he also served as President of the Indiana State Teachers Association.


In 1913, Dr. Neal went to Tucson to the University of Arizona as an instructor of philosophy and head resident of South Hall. Another move in 1917 took him to Washington, D.C. where he was a specialist in rural schools for the United States Bureau of Education, the forerunner of the Department of Education. In 1920, Dr. Neal returned to the University of Arizona as Registrar, Director-General of the University Extension Office and as a high school inspector for the state of Arizona. By 1923, he had earned his Ph.D. after doing work at the University of Chicago and Columbia.


During his tenure at the University of Arizona, Dr. Neal did extensive work on a plan for student registration, taking a process that was typically difficult and simplifying it in a way that made it manageable for many universities. The Bureau of Education selected his plan as one of the best in the country. Along with the president of the University of Arizona, Dr. Neal was instrumental in creating the first administrative bulletin published anywhere in the United States.


When he died suddenly in 1925 at the age of 55, Dr. Neal was honored for his work at the University of Arizona. The Arizona Republic described him as one “who won respect and admiration for his work in the national field of education and who was universally loved by his friends and associates.”


In Indiana, Dr. Neal was remembered as an educator of statewide prominence. Franklin residents remembered him as one of their own. 


In 1928, the Franklin School Board renamed the high school located on Hurricane Street the Alva Neal High School. The Board’s resolution stated: “that the Franklin High School building hereafter shall be designated the Alva Neal High School in honor of the memory of the man who was superintendent of the Franklin schools at the time the building was erected and who served as a teacher in the Franklin schools, as principal of the high school and later superintendent. Who was one of the most loved men who ever lived in Franklin and who was a product of our own school system.”


In 1939 with the addition of a new wing to the high school building, the name of the high school was changed once again to Franklin High School.  The Boys and Girls Club now occupies the site of the Alva Neal High School at 101 Hurricane Street. Still standing on East Jefferson Street, the 1939 addition to the high school is called the Alva Neal Office Building.

Mrs. Karen Wenning Stellick

Karen-Wenning-Stellick l Franklin Community Schools Hall of FameKaren Wenning Stellick graduated from Franklin Community High School in 1978. She earned degrees in physical therapy and biology from Ball State University where she also played golf. 


Karen is a physical therapist with over 30 years of experience. She works at an outpatient private practice in Colorado Springs where she focuses on orthopedic and neurologic rehabilitation. Karen is an entrepreneur. She developed a business plan and carried it out, creating a successful and well-respected physical therapy company.


Earlier in her career, she traveled with the LPGA tour and provided fitness instruction and injury rehabilitation. While touring with the sports medicine team, she helped many of the players, such as Annika Sorenstam and Nancy Lopez, improve their fitness and recover from injuries.  She worked with many of their coaches to understand and integrate fitness and rehab into swing mechanics goals. 


Karen has authored and co-authored articles for Golf for Women, Golf Digest, Golf Digest Woman, and the LPGA website. As a public health speaker, she inspires golfers at many local venues with her passion for health and the integration of golf fitness. She has been instrumental in creating materials and presenting anatomy, kinesiology and golf fitness as a significant part of the LPGA education program curriculum.


Karen is also very service-oriented. She spent time volunteering as a physical therapist in Haiti, Mexico and Peru. She also spent a tremendous amount of time working with youth to help them learn the game of golf. 


Earlier this year, Karen was awarded the LPGA President’s Award, presented by the National President to a member or a non-member who has provided exceptional service, contributions and or leadership to the LPGA Teaching and Club Professional membership. Karen was just the third recipient since the turn of the century.

Mrs. Nancy Ann Phares Brown Poynter

Nancy Poynter l Franklin Community Schools Hall of FameNancy Ann Phares Brown Poynter is a 1958 graduate from Franklin Community High School. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University.


Sometimes in life, we meet an individual whose spirit and dedication flows throughout their community like life-giving blood flows through the veins of every living person. Someone who unselfishly gives of themselves even when those around them does not believe it is possible for them to succeed or even make a difference. A person who steps up to the plate and swings, with everything they have when told that they can’t do something.


Fear of being the first person to do something has never been a drawback for this amazing woman.  Facing opposition to fulfillment of her dreams simply makes her strive harder and become more determined.  


In 1970, Nancy Ann became the first female to be elected and service in a constitutional office in Bartholomew County when she was elected county treasurer. Later, in 1979, Nancy Ann threw her hat in the ring and became the youngest and the first female to serve as the Mayor of Columbus. But that is not where Nancy Ann’s firsts stop. She was the Founder and Charter member of the Hope Chamber of Commerce. She established the Mayor’s Arts Award and a dedicated arts fund for city hall. She also created a training program in 1983 which has now become known as Leadership Bartholomew County.  


Her innovative thinking led her to establish a rainy day fund for city government to be able to operate in emergency situations. She hired the first personnel manager and certified engineer for the city of Columbus and also wrote and implemented the first personnel policy for city employees.  


In addition to being in public office, Nancy Ann has made volunteering a large part of her life. She served on numerous boards and committees. Because of her unselfish participation and dedication to service, she has been acknowledged with several awards as well.  She received the Athena Award for outstanding leadership among businesswomen in the community in 1998, the James G Simms Award of Excellence from IUPUC, and was named the Woman of the Year in 2015.


She has inspired so many other women within her community and because of her willingness to be a driving force and an advocate for other women, she has helped to raise the bar and break the glass ceiling that gave way for other local women to acquire leadership positions in the community.  

Class of 2023
Mr. Dean Abplanalp

Dean Abplanalp l Franklin Community Schools Hall of FameDean Abplanalp graduated from Franklin Community High School in 1976. Dean graduated from Ball State University with a degree in corporate finance. In 1980, he began his career in the financial services industry, where he has spent his life helping clients prepare for and navigate their retirement.


A lifelong resident of Franklin and Johnson County, Abplanalp has poured himself into his community. He has served on numerous boards and committees. Dean established the fund for the annual Downtown Holiday Lighting, as well as the Dean Abplanalp Fund, which supports the Johnson County Community Foundation and the Good Cheer Fund. 


Dean founded Franklin Study Connection and served as the first president of the organization. Other organizations that have benefitted from Dean’s philanthropic efforts are Franklin College, the Interchurch Food Pantry, and Franklin Little League; however, those mentioned are just a few benefactors of his charitable giving.  


In 2017, Dean was awarded the Sagamore of the Wabash by the State of Indiana and Governor Mike Pence. This honor is the highest distinction given by the Governor of Indiana for distinguished service in Indiana.  

What to Know

Selection Criteria

  • A respected leader in his/her profession.
  • Demonstrated unique accomplishments within the area of his/her academic talents.
  • Recognized academic achievements at Franklin Community Schools as well as the collegiate level.
  • A recognized name in the performing arts community.
  • An active contributor and promoter of cultural activities.
  • Promotion of the school’s name and philosophy.
  • A major influence in the lives of Franklin Community students, whether by example or by contribution.
  • Notable contributions to the community.
  • Recognized as having had an accomplished military career.
  • Outstanding public servant.