Celebrated civic leader Andy Cecere awarded Presidential Medal of Merit
September 20, 2017
Andy Cecere, a retired attorney and celebrated civic leader, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Merit from Earlham President Alan Price on Wednesday, Sept. 20.
The award, which was presented to Cecere during a kick-off convocation as part of Price’s inauguration activities, was given in recognition of Cecere’s exemplary service and leadership to Richmond. It is the first public honor bestowed during Price’s presidency.
“Andy has demonstrated in countless ways his dedication to the welfare of others and has earned the respect of people from all ages and walks of life,” Price says. “He has lived during some of the most eventful times in the history of this country, and he has been a stabilizing influence on those around him during rapidly changing times.”
Cecere, a member of Earlham’s Class of 1945, interrupted his undergraduate education by answering a call to serve in the military. In October of 1942, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and, upon completion of his academic year, was called to active duty and commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant.
As a member of the 1st Marine Division, Cecere served in the Southwest Pacific and Okinawa and, following the Japanese surrender, in North China.
After his wartime service, Cecere earned his J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School and moved to Richmond in 1949 with his wife, Betty.
“Richmond and Earlham have been special places during my lifetime because the people in those communities have accepted me for who I am,” Cecere says. “I am touched by the continued friendship from Earlham and Alan Price.”
As an attorney and civic activist in Richmond, Cecere was credited with fighting against racial inequity in housing and employment practices for the citizens of the city.
During the Korean War, Cecere again answered his country’s call and served 18 months of active duty, with most of that time as a Marine captain and attorney in the Office of the Judge Advocate General of the Navy, located in the Pentagon.
Cecere has enjoyed a long and successful law practice and has become a leading figure in many community betterment efforts. He has served on the boards of Reid Memorial Hospital, now Reid Health, and the Scott Boys and Girls Club, now the Boys & Girls Clubs of Wayne County, among others.
As a member of the Community College Board in 1970 he helped raise $1.25 million to purchase land in north Richmond for what is now a thriving joint campus of Indiana University East and Ivy Tech Community College Richmond.
“Today, Richmond residents freely credit Andy and visionary newcomers like him for fostering the modern, equitable, and more caring community that Richmond later became,” Price says.
In addition to the Presidential Medal of Merit, Richmond Mayor Dave Snow also proclaimed Sept. 20 Andy Cecere Day for the City of Richmond.
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Earlham College, a national liberal arts college located in Richmond, Indiana, is a "College That Changes Lives." We expect our students to be fully present: to think rigorously, value directness and genuineness, and actively seek insights from differing perspectives. The values we practice at Earlham are rooted in centuries of Quaker tradition, but they also constitute the ideal toolkit for contemporary success.
Brian Zimmerman is director of media relations at Earlham College. He can be reached at 765-983-1256 and firstname.lastname@example.org.