Senator Richard Lugar

Tribute to Senator Richard Lugar

Former United States Senator Richard G. Lugar is the President of The Lugar Center, a non-profit organization focusing on global food security, WMD nonproliferation, aid effectiveness, and bipartisan governance. Senator Lugar also serves as a Professor of Practice and Distinguished Scholar at the new School of Global and International Studies at Indiana University. He also serves as a distinguished faculty member in the Department of History and Political Science and leads the Richard G. Lugar Symposium for Tomorrow’s Leaders at the University of Indianapolis.

A fifth generation Hoosier who left the United States Senate as the longest serving member of Congress in Indiana history, Senator Lugar is recognized as a gifted local and state leader, as well as a respected national and international statesman. During his tenure in the United States Senate, he exercised 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 he was the fourth person ever named Outstanding Legislator by the American Political Science Association. He was the 2005 recipient of the American Foreign Service Association Lifetime Contributions to American Diplomacy Award. Her Majesty The Queen of England bestowed upon Senator Lugar the rank of honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in honor of his work to make the world more secure from weapons of mass destruction and his commitment to the U.S.-U.K. alliance. President Barack Obama named Senator Lugar a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Senator 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 manages 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 has been 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.

Senator Lugar and his wife, Charlene, were married Sept. 8, 1956, and have four sons and 13 grandchildren.