Richard Lugar was the President of the Lugar Center, a non-profit organization focusing on nuclear non-proliferation, food security, and other critical issues. Lugar also announced the creation of the Lugar Academy at the University of Indianapolis, including a Washington semester internship program for Uindy students and other student leaders. Lugar was also named a Professor of Practice and Distinguished Scholar at the new School of Global and International Studies at Indiana University.
He wasa fifth generation Hoosier who left office as the longest serving member of Congress in Indiana history. In addition to being recognized as a gifted local and state leader, Lugar wasa respected national and international statesman, exercising leadership on critical issues such as food security, nuclear non-proliferation, energy independence and free trade. He holds 46 honorary degrees from colleges and universities in 15 states and the District of Columbia, and was the fourth person ever named Outstanding Legislator by the American Political Science Association.
Lugar graduated first in his class at both Shortridge High School in Indianapolis and Denison University in Granville, Ohio. He attended Pembroke College at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, studying politics, philosophy and economics. Lugar volunteered for the U.S. Navy in 1957, ultimately serving as an intelligence briefer for Admiral Arleigh Burke, chief of Naval Operations.
Lugar managed his family’s 604-acre Marion County corn, soybean and tree farm. Before entering public life, he helped manage the family’s food machinery manufacturing business in Indianapolis with his brother Tom.
As the two-term mayor of Indianapolis (1968-75), he envisioned the unification of the city and surrounding Marion County into one government. Unigov, as Lugar’s plan was called, set the city on a path of uninterrupted economic growth. He served three terms on the U.S. Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, including two terms as the vice-chair of the commission, and served as president of the National League of Cities.
Lugar was a leader in reducing the threat of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. In 1991, he forged a bipartisan partnership with then-Senate Armed Services Chairman Sam Nunn (D-Ga.) to destroy these weapons of mass destruction in the former Soviet Union. To date, the Nunn-Lugar program has deactivated more than 7,600 nuclear warheads that were once aimed at the United States.
As chairman of the Agriculture Committee, Lugar built bipartisan support for 1996 federal farm program reforms, ending 1930s era federal production controls. He has promoted broader risk management options for farmers, research advancements, increased export opportunities and higher net farm income. Lugar initiated a biofuels research program to help decrease U.S. dependency on foreign oil. He also led initiatives to streamline the U.S. Department of Agriculture, reform the food stamp program and preserve the federal school lunch program.
Lugar and his wife, Charlene, were married Sept. 8, 1956, and have four sons and 13 grandchildren.
Richard Lugar passed away on April 28, 2019, at the age of 87.