Noted philanthropist Randolph H. Deer to receive honorary degree during IUPUI Commencement

Randolph H. Deer, chairman and owner of the Pepsi Cola Bottling Company of Logansport and South Bend, will receive a Doctor of Humane Letters from Indiana University during IUPUI’s commencement ceremony on May 14. The honorary degree is awarded for outstanding achievement in the arts and humanities, and for community engagement and public service.

Deer is an important figure in Central Indiana and a 21st-century Renaissance man, authoring six books and creating more than 100 paintings. He has distinguished himself as a philanthropist supporting educational institutions and social service, arts, health and youth organizations in Indiana, Ohio, and Arizona. Deer also co-founded the Back Home Again Foundation in 1998, which makes grants to nonprofits working in hunger relief, conservation, homelessness, at-risk youth, the environment and the arts.

An IU alumnus with a Bachelor of Science degree in business, Deer is a longtime advocate of Indiana University and patron of the arts in Indianapolis. He has been involved with the Indianapolis Museum of Art for almost 30 years and was an inaugural member of the Herron School of Art and Design Dean's Advisory Board. Deer has generously supported Herron’s capital campaign, provided scholarships for both minority students and the study abroad program as well as endowing the Randolph H. Deer Professorship in Painting. 

“Randy provides us with a shining example of how philanthropy impacts individuals and communities both locally and globally,” Herron School of Art and Design Dean Valerie Eickmeier wrote in her letter nominating Deer for the honorary degree. “He has generously given his time and service to many organizations, provided leadership on boards and contributed significant resources that have impacted individual lives as well as entire communities.”

Sergio Aguilera, member of the IUPUI Board of Advisors, wrote in his nomination letter, “He is one of those rare individuals that realized early in his life that without generosity, personal financial success has no meaning.” 

IUPUI Commencement will take place at 1 p.m. on Sunday, May 14 at Lucas Oil Stadium. Community leader Frank M. Basile, who serves on the Herron School of Art and Design Dean’s Advisory Board, will deliver a keynote speech during Herron’s graduation ceremony immediately following commencement at 4 p.m. in the Wabash Ballroom.