Andre B. Lacy, the man for whom Butler’s Lacy School of Business is named, was Chairman of the Board of Indianapolis-based LDI, Ltd (Lacy Diversified Industries) and a Senior Advisor to the Lacy School of Business.
Lacy, a graduate of Dennison University, started his career at LDI’s founding enterprise, U.S. Corrugated Fibre-Box, where he worked his way through the corporate ranks. Following the sale of U.S. Corrugated, he was named Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer of the newly created Lacy Diversified Industries, the holding company that would become LDI.
He was elected CEO of LDI in 1983 and Chairman of the Board in 1991. He remained Chairman following his retirement from LDI in 2006.
A strong advocate of civic progress, especially economic development, agriculture, and education, Lacy was co-chair of the Cultural Trail fundraising committee and a co-creator of Conexus. In 2009, Governor Mitch Daniels appointed Lacy chairman of the Indiana State Fair Commission, a role in which he remained in until his death. As commission chair, he was a driving force behind the State Fair Coliseum restoration.
Lacy provided leadership for many boards, including the United Way of Central Indiana, Indianapolis 500 Festival, Indianapolis Public School Board, and Economic Club of Indianapolis. He served as an advisor for the Lacy School of Business at Butler University. He was also an alumnus of the Stanley K. Lacy Executive Leadership Series (SKL) and served as moderator of Class XV.
In addition to his civic contributions, Lacy was active on numerous corporate boards, including Hulman & Company, Herff Jones, Patterson Companies, Inc., Ethyl Corporation, National Bank of Indianapolis, and Indianapolis Power & Light Company. He is past chairman of the Indiana State Chamber of Commerce and the chairman of the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors.
Governors Roger Branigan, Robert Orr, and Mitch Daniels each recognized Lacy as a Sagamore of the Wabash.
In April 2016, Lacy and his wife, Julia, made a transformational gift to Butler University, donating $25 million. The University named the business school in his honor.
“Butler has long been an excellent school and an anchor to the Indianapolis and Central Indiana community,” he said at the time. “But in the last five years, under President Danko’s leadership, I have seen Butler grow into a national player, especially when it comes to the University’s focus on innovation, experiential learning, and outcomes.”
Lacy worked with Butler for more than a decade, serving on the Butler Business Consulting Group Advisory Panel and endowing a student scholarship within the School of Business. He saw his role at Butler as an opportunity to pass down what he had learned.
“The adviser role,” he said, “provides that opportunity to share, mentor, and help students see that prospering an entity is bigger than any one individual—and it gives back exponentially to the communities where they live. That’s a desire we see in this generation—to be part of something bigger than themselves, and to be on the ground floor of establishing something that has meaning and value.”
Working with Butler faculty and administration, Lacy helped the School of Business build upon its signature experiential approach to teaching and learning, and expand its focus on closely held businesses.
“Butler’s business program presents two main points of value proposition for the student that differentiate it from Kelley, Krannert, Harvard, and the like,” he said. “The first is focusing on closely held businesses—meaning small businesses and family-owned businesses—which drive the nation’s economy and make up 90 percent of Indiana’s business sector. The second is giving students the real-world experience of working directly with local businesses, seeing first-hand the challenges they face, and learning the art and science of developing and selling solutions that have real value in the business market.”
On Thursday, November 30, 2017, Lacy, an avid motorcyclist, was killed in a single-rider accident while on a private motorcycle tour in southern Africa.
“Andre and Julia Lacy will be remembered in perpetuity for their transformational gift to name the Lacy School of Business,” said Steve Standifird, Dean of the Lacy School of Business. “For those of us that had the good fortune of working with Andre as Senior Advisor for the school, he will be remembered as someone who cared deeply for the success of the school and of our students.”