Marian University inducted Hulman & Company CEO Mark Miles and Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano into its Clayton Family Circle of Honor during a fundraiser dinner April 22 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Catholic liberal arts university also honored its 1973 baseball team with a M-Club Wall of Fame induction.
The fifth annual Clayton Family Circle of Honor Dinner drew a record 550 people to the Pavilion at IMS, where guests had an opportunity to pose for photos with the Indianapolis 500’s famous Borg-Warner Trophy, as well as the Indianapolis Colts’ Lombardi Trophy from Super Bowl XLI. Marian University President Daniel J. Elsener announced during the event that the university has already raised nearly $800,000 toward its $1 million annual goal for Marian University athletics.
The Clayton Family Circle of Honor, named for Joe Clayton and his wife Jan, honors individuals who have made an impact on the central Indiana community through athletics. The Claytons believe in the character-building qualities associated with athletics in a university community, including respect, fair play, and teamwork. Past honorees include Bob Knight, Bill Polian, Katie Douglas, Jim Morris and Carl Erskine, among others.
This is the first year that the Clayton Family Circle of Honor Dinner was combined with the Marian University athletics department’s annual M-Club Wall of Fame induction ceremony. This year’s inductee, the 1973 Marian College baseball team, finished that season 22-8 and District 21 champions. A team led by great pitching and defense all season, the Knights scored 50 runs in the four-game playoffs to win the district championship. Fifteen members of the team, including its head coach, were on hand for the festivities.
This also marks the first year that either event was held at a location other than the university’s campus. “Not many people realize that three of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s four founders settled on property that is now part of the Marian University campus,” President Elsener said. “In fact, my office is located in the mansion once owned by James A. Allison. Given our shared history, and our mutual desire to assist with the redevelopment of the city’s west side, it makes sense for Marian University and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to continue seeking additional partnership opportunities. We’re grateful that they’ve opened their doors and allowed us to use this wonderful facility for our event.”
Marian University has worked diligently in recent years to bolster its athletics programs. In 2011, the university hired Indiana University basketball legend Steve Downing to serve as its director of athletics. Downing has since hired 2009 NCAA Coach of the Year Todd Lickliter to head Marian’s basketball program, and former Indiana Miss Basketball, Purdue University all-American and WNBA player Katie Gearlds to lead the women’s program. In 2012, the university captured the NAIA national championship in football in just the program’s sixth year of existence. And, earlier this month, the university’s cycling team earned its 25th national championship.
“Marian University is on the rise,” President Elsener said. “We’ve recently opened the state’s first new medical school in 110 years, we’ve risen higher in the U.S. News & World Report rankings than any other college in our category since 2011, and our enrollment numbers are at an all-time high. The success we’ve seen within our athletics programs really mirrors the overall success of the university, and is an essential component in our mission to educate the next generation of leaders for service to the world.”