Alumni Hall of Fame

Gideon Johnson - Inducted in 2018

Gideon Johnson was a Quaker born in North Carolina in 1798. He moved to Morgan county and, along with fellow Quaker George Hubbard, established Monrovia in 1834. Originally, they had planned on naming the town Pleasant Grove, but another town already had that name so Monrovia was chosen. Most reports say that the town was named after the Township, which was named after President Monroe. However, some reports say that Monrovia was named after Monrovia, Liberia, which was a country started by the United States to recolonize freed slaves. This suggests that the name was chosen to support the Quakers´ abolitionist views and opposition to slavery. Gideon Johnson was a business leader in Monrovia. He died in 1854 and is buried in the West Union Cemetery.

Sylvanus Finchum - Inducted in 2018

Written by: Maddie Newlin

Sylvanus Finchum was born on February 13, 1908 in Crown Center, Indiana. He attended and  graduated from Monrovia High School in 1926. After high school, Finchum went to Indiana University where he obtained his Master’s Degree in 1961. He began a teaching career and taught for 44 years at many schools, including Monrovia, Decatur, Crown Center, Eminence, and Center Grove. Along with these achievements, Sylvanus was a member and past Master of the Eminence Mason Lodge. He was also Co-Director of the 1984 Sesquicentennial and Grand Marshall of the Monrovia Festival. Sylvanus Finchum was named Monrovian of the century by the Monrovia Festival and Civic Association.

Branch McCracken - Inducted in 2018

 Written by Travis Judson

Emmett Branch McCracken, born in Monrovia, Indiana on June 9, 1908, went to Monrovia’s schools, quickly becoming a star player on the high school basketball team.  As a player and captain of Monrovia’s team, McCracken would win several county championships with his team.  This was along with their follow-up placement in the Tri-State Tournament in 1924, followed by two consecutive victories in the tournament in 1925 and ‘26.  McCracken would be named the MVP of the two winning tournaments in his junior and senior years of high school.

        After his time in high school, McCracken would go to Indiana University in the fall of 1926, joining both the football and basketball teams there.  McCracken quickly began to excel under his new coach, Everett Dean, becoming a distinct player on the team.  McCracken was the high scorer at IU and the second place scorer in conference during the 1927-’28 season.  He would repeat this same score in the following season.  In the 1929-’30 season however, McCracken would break the all-time record set the year before by Murphy of Purdue, winning the number one conference scoring spot.

        McCracken graduated in 1930 and soon after became the head coach at Ball State Teachers College (now known as Ball State University).  After leading them to an 86-57 record over eight seasons, he became the coach IU in June, 1938; following the leave of Everett Dean.  His first year their record was 17-3, which was immediately followed next season with a 20-3 record.  IU under his coaching was invited to join the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Eastern tournament to represent the Midwest, winning all of the non-conference games.  They later earned the opportunity to play against the University of Kansas team for IU’s first national college basketball championship, where they would claim victory against Kansas with a score of 60-42 during McCracken’s second coaching season.


        McCracken would take a three-year long break from coaching to serve in the U.S. Navy, and returned thereafter, once again leading the Hoosier team to victories.  After his return they would be ranked fifth in the country by the United Press board, and would go on to break the previous Big Ten record of 103 points with 113 points.  On March 1st, the Hoosiers, led by McCracken, won the Big Ten title after defeating Illinois.  They earned the position to play in the national championship again that season against Kansas again, winning their second national basketball title for IU.  The following year and in 1957 and ‘58, McCracken’s team would again win the Big Ten conference.  In 1965, McCracken retired from IU after 24 seasons of coaching there and 32 seasons coaching in total, he’d won two NCAA titles and four Big Ten titles.  In 1960, before he retired, he had been added to the Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a player, recognizing his coaching talent.


        During McCracken’s time coaching at IU he faced controversy for adding Bill Garrett, an African-American man, to his team.  During this time, basketball, like all aspects of life in the U.S., faced segregationist issues, which McCracken bravely refused to abide by.  He broke the “gentlemen’s agreement” along with others, which didn’t allow African-Americans to participate on Big Ten teams.  On April 8, 2017; the Indiana Historical Bureau unveiled a state marker honoring Bill Garrett at IU, and their fight against segregation in sports.

Monrovia High School Accomplishments:

IU Player Achievements:

IU Coaching Achievements:

2. Branch McCracken Gym Dedication. Rocky and Christy Carter Photo Collection, 1971

4. Pjeiffer, Casey. “Branch McCracken a Hardwood Hero.” Indiana History Blog, 19 April 2017, Indian Historical Bureau of the State Library. Accesses 24

November 2020

5. McCracken, Branch. Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame Accessed 24 November 2020 

6. Hammel, Bob. “Branch McCracken: Symbol of IU.” Daily Herald-Telephone, 4 June, 1970, p. 21 

7. Branch McCracken Senior Photo. Brett Fisher Photo Archive, 1926. 

The Indianapolis News (Indianapolis, Indiana) · 28 Oct 1976, Thu · Page 14

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Gordon Hadley - Inducted in 2018

Written by: Maddie Newlin

Gordan Hadley was born in Monrovia in 1911. While in high school, he was the team captain of the 1928 Morgan County Champion Basketball team. Hadley then graduated from Monrovia in 1929. After graduation drove a bus for Greyhound and later was owner-operator of Hadley and Hinshaw Tile Ditching. Gordan was active in community service which included 4-H, Band Parents, founding member of the Monrovia Volunteer Fire Department and Monrovia Farmers Businessman Association. Gordon Hadley was a central figure in establishing football in Monrovia as a Football Father and his role was recognized for his contribution to the program with the field being named in his honor.  He was  a member of the Monrovia Mason Lodge for 50 years and participated in the Sesquicentennial Festival Committee in 1984.  

John Hurt - Inducted in 2018

Written by Emma Gaston

John Hurt was born in Hall on November 3, 1912. John was a member of the 1931 class of Monrovia. He went on to lead a successful life as a lawyer and being a member of many different organizations/clubs. Hurt went to Indiana School of Law and partnered with different law offices based in Martinsville and Indianapolis. He joined the Jackson Club and became an avid member of the Democratic party. John served the successful campaign of Governor Paul McNutt and became the Secretary to the Indiana Democratic State Central Committee. He was also a Delegate to the Democratic Convention. John Hurt was a Kentucky Colonel, Oklahoma Admiral and five time recipient of Indiana’s highest honor the Sagamore of the Wabash Award which is given by the Governor. John Hurt passed away on July 6, 2006 and was inducted into the inaugural Alumni Hall of Fame class in 2018. The following are different organizations that John was apart of:

My View of the Twentieth Century. John E. Hurt.December 2005. Cover Photo.

Virginia (Schrader) Jett - Inducted in 2018

Written by: Maddie Newlin 

Virginia Schrader Jett was born in Monrovia in 1917. She then attended Monrovia High School and was a part of the graduating class of 1935. Jett attended college at Butler University where she obtained her Associate’s Degree in teaching. She then attended Ball State University. Virginia taught for over 39 years at Nora Elementary and the Indiana Boys School. Afterwards, she began teaching fifth and sixth grade at Monrovia in the 1950s. Jett retired from the Monroe-Gregg School district in 1980 and then began serving as the school board secretary from 1984 to 1988. Following her time as the school board secretary, she was heavily involved in the Alumni Association and Monrovia Festival Committee chronicling the history of Monrovia and the school. Virginia Schrader Jett passed away on September 27, 2013, at the age of 95 years old.

1. The Reporter-Times (Martinsville, Indiana) · 30 Aug 2001, Thu · Page 11

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2. The Indianapolis News (Indianapolis, Indiana) · 12 Feb 1991, Tue · Page 5

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3. The Reporter-Times (Martinsville, Indiana) · 25 Sep 2005, Sun · Page 3

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4. The Reporter-Times (Martinsville, Indiana) · 7 Apr 1975, Mon · Page 1

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5. Hardin, Becky. Morgan County Scrapbook Vol. 2. Mooresville IN: Dickinson Printing, 1989

6. Hardin, Becky. Morgan County Scrapbook Vol. 2. Mooresville IN: Dickinson Printing, 1989

Alma (Davis) Smock - Inducted in 2018

Written by: Maddie Newlin

Alma Davis Smock was born in Monrovia in 1918, attended the Wilbur School and graduated from Monrovia High School in 1937.  After high school she married Charles Smock who served in Africa, Italy and France in the Army in World War 2. Alma Smock always had an interest in painting but her Mother worried that it would not be a stable profession so she attended the American School of Business and would become a secretary for Hoover Brothers and Mormon-Harrington located in Indianapolis. Alma started art work after moving back to Monrovia and being inspired by the scenery and by the encouragement of Evelyn Dillon who had invited her to the White Lick Art Group. Alma would win numerous art and writing show awards and be a member of the Central Indiana Art League, Heritage Art in Brown County, White Lick Art League and Morgan County Art Colony. In 1989, she started the Monrovia Festival Art Show and due to her contributions to our community she and her husband were named Grand Marshall of the Festival Parade in 1997. In 2006 she wrote a book “My Life on Baltimore Road” that included writings and poetry. Alma Davis passed in 2012 and was a dedicated member of the Monrovia Methodist Church.  Alma Davis Smock was inducted into the Monrovia Alumni Hall of Fame for her contribution to Fine Arts in it’s inaugural class.

Bill "Mac" Fisher - Inducted in 2018

Bill Fisher graduated from Monrovia in 1947 and was a member of the 1944 and 1945 Tri-County Championship teams as well as participating in track, baseball, school plays and was class president.  After high school he attended Canterbury College in Danville and later earned his masters degree from Indiana University. He was in education for 40 years including being principal and superintendent at Monroe-Gregg School District.

Gary Morris- Inducted in 2018

Written by Travis Judson

Gary Morris grew up in Monrovia, Indiana, saying that one of his most fond childhood memories was getting to listen to the Indianapolis 500 race with his family while at a Memorial Day picnic.  Morris graduated from Monrovia High School in the class of 1973, and later would graduate from Indiana State University in Terre Haute - where he would provide many job opportunities to students there.  Clabber Girl was a company that began in the 1850s, producing baking powder and other ingredients.  Morris would work his way up in the company to become its CEO in 2000.  He provides many job opportunities to the students of Indiana State University, and charitably donates much of the company earnings to Riley Hospital - a quarter of the proceeds of every tub the company sells.  Mr. Morris also has the following affiliations:

 Jeff Schwegman - Inducted in 2018

Written by: Emma Gaston

Jeff Schwegman was a graduate of the 1987 Monrovia class. He was also a member of the marching band. Schwegman went on to have a very successful life being the founder of AB BioTechnologies. In 1992,  Schwegman earned his BS in biochemistry from Purdue University and worked at Cook Imaging located in Bloomington Indiana. In 1999 he began his graduate studies within the Department of Industrial and Physical Pharmacy at Purdue University. His graduate studies focused on the changes in the physical structure of biological molecules during lyophilization. In 2003, Jeff received his PhD from Purdue and worked at Baxter Pharmaceutical Solutions as a research scientist. In 2005, Jeff and three other founders formed BioConvergence LLC. From there, in 2008, Jeff left and started AB BioTechnologies which focuses on lyophilization technology. To enhance his business techniques, in 2012, Dr. Schwegman joined the PeerSpectives CEO roundtable. This organization has given Jeff much more confidence in running a successful business. In 2015, AB BioTech broke the $1 million mark in revenue and Schwegman hopes that the revenues will rise over the next several years so that he will have the capability to expand his company.  Jeff Schwegan was inducted into the inaugural Alumni Hall of Fame class in 2018.

George Hubbard - Inducted in 2019

George Hubbard was a Quaker born in North Carolina in 1786 and moved to Morgan County.  He along with fellow Quaker Gideon Johnson established Monrovia in 1834.  Originally they had planned on naming the town Pleasant Grove, but another town already had that name so Monrovia was chosen.  Most reports have the town being named after the Township, which was named after President Monroe, but some reports have Monrovia being named after Monrovia Liberia, which was a country started by the United States to recolonize freed slaves. This suggest the name was chosen to support the Quaker views on abolition and opposition to slavery. George Hubbard’s family would later own the Hubbard Mill, which was a local landmark and one of the first steam grist mills in Central Indiana.

John Elwood Bundy- Inducted in 2019

John Bundy was born in 1853 in North Carolina and moved to Monrovia at age five.  He attended the West Union Meeting school and was a Quaker.  He was an American Impressionist artist and was known as the Dean of a Richmond group of painters.  He would later join the Earlham University art staff and was known for his landscape paintings.  He was inducted into the the Morgan County Hall of Fame for Fine Arts in 1976 and was the second Monrovia resident inducted with Branch McCracken.

Bruce and Kay Atkinson - Inducted in 2019

Bruce and Kay Atkinson had been Monrovia residents since 1964 and were longtime school employees since the late 1960’s.  Bruce started off as a janitor, would be involved with the maintenance of the bus garage and eventually head of maintenance until his departure in the early 1990’s. Kay worked for 36 years retiring in 2003. Bruce and Kay were Model T Ford enthusiasts and had traveled to various parts of the United states as part of car clubs.  Bruce had climbed Pikes Peak and the annual Newport Hill Climb.  Bruce was famous for his iconic 1926 Ford Model T Truck and even drove it in the opening ceremonies of the Pan Am games that were held in Indianapolis. Due to their travels across the country they became avid collectors; Kay was known for Teddy Bears, which she would eventually have over 700, and Angles. Bruce collected other antiques that were associated with engines and automotives including a 1906 steam engine. Bruce and Kay were consistent entries in antique shows and parades including the Martinsville Fall Foliage and the Monrovia Festival which they Grand Marshals for in 2005. Bruce has contributed a significant amount of memorabilia to the local history department and alumni association. Some of the most significant contributions have been the blue prints and old High School stones from the “Old School”  Bruce carted the old stone fragments to his house in a cart and used them in the construction of his garage. He and Jerry Pheifer were also responsible for the “Old Bell” structure that was built outside the high school office entrance. Most importantly to the importance of Bruce and Kay were comments that older alumni had about the support that they gave students during their time as employees. Alumni would comment that “anytime we needed anything for homecoming or spirit week, Bruce and Kay were there to help us with anything we needed.” Bruce and Kay are the only couple inducted into the Hall of Fame and were given a standing ovation.

Austin "Red" Lambert - Inducted in 2019

Written by: Mackensi Schneider

Austin Lambert, also known as Red, was born on November 13, 1912. Red lived in Hall, IN, and graduated Monrovia high school in 1931. He was a part of the Morgan County Championship Team 1929 and then went on to play at Purdue from 1931-1935. While playing at Purdue, Lambert helped the team win a Championship in 1932. Following that he played on the MBC team, Indianapolis Kautskys, in 1936-1937. Austin Lambert taught Agriculture at Attica High School and coached basketball. During his coaching tenure he led the Ramblers to six Sectional and two Regional Championships.  The Attica gym was named in his honor in 1977 and he was inducted into the Monrovia Alumni Hall of Fame in 2019. Austin ‘Red’ Lambert passed away on March 16, 1974.

Austin Lambert. Purdue University Library Archive. 1931

Randy Marsh-Inducted in 2019

Randy Marsh graduated from Monrovia High School in 1965. He worked at Allison in Indianapolis that summer and enrolled in the fall at Howard W. Sam’s Technical Institute (future ITT) studying electronics. Once qualified, Marsh worked at RCA on the nightshift, continuing his studies during the day. 

Marsh was drafted, but married his wife Jackie before reporting for service. In the Army he was placed in the Signal Corps and sent to Vietnam to run communications for a battalion. He became communications chief and was promoted to the rank of sergeant, serving twelve months from 1968 to 1969.

Returning home, Marsh continued in electronics. After his company relocated, he began working in construction for Central Engineering. He helped to develop tens of thousands of acres in the Indianapolis area. This is when Marsh began to see the need for historic preservation.

Marsh was invited to join the Morgan County Historical and Preservation Society, a commitment that lasted 20 years. They saved the Grassyfork Fisheries building in Martinsville. They worked with Indianapolis-based Flaherty and Collins to save and restore the old jail, the Martinsville Sanitarium, and the Kivett Building. They were converted into senior housing.

The Marshes joined the Monrovia Christian Church in 1986. They were deeply engaged in church programs and activities, Jackie’s involvement assisting in the development of many church associations.

Marsh became president of the Wilbur Community Association. He led efforts to obtain the quick claim deed of the Wilbur Schoolhouse building and grounds. They secured funding and restored the roof to its 1876 state. The intense project required help and labor from friends, using native lumber cut to non-modern dimensions. The work took three years to accomplish. During this period Marsh was working a full-time job as well as completing other Wilbur Schoolhouse projects such as a new ceiling, insulation, wiring and new limestone steps.When the Association stepped down from the schoolhouse stewardship, they worked with county officials to pass oversight to Morgan County Parks.

In the mid-1990’s Marsh was invited to the Monrovia High School Alumni Banquet. He saw a need to set up an association and was quickly nominated to lead it. He was president for ten years. He stepped back for a short time while he was receiving radiation treatment for cancer, a fact which he did not share with the group. He headed up the scholarship committee. He steered the group toward going digital. They tracked down and collected addresses, started a mailing list and sent out newsletters. Donations boomed. The Alumni Banquet was packed. In 1995, the Rivieras performed at Marsh’s 30-year reunion. 

Marsh learned that Hall School would become vacant. He formed the Hall Civic Association in 2004. They started with a 99-year lease on the 1911 building. Fundraising to sustain the building included dinner theatre, spaghetti dinners and festivals. In 2010, the association took full ownership of the building and grounds. It is now on the National Register of Historic Places. Hall’s Haunted Halls has become the key to the fundraising efforts.

In 2017 the Morgan County Historical and Preservation Society was dissolved. Marsh helped to form a new historical group, the Morgan County History Partnership. They have established a history center and museum in Martinsville.


2000: Monrovia Alumni Association Booster of the Year

2006: Morgan County Preservationist of the Year

2014: Sandi Servaas Memorial Historic Preservationist Award presented by Indiana Landmarks

Hall Civic Association Preservationist Award

Bill David Shields - Inducted in 2020

Written by: Mackensi Schneider

William David Shields was born on June 24th 1939 in Monrovia and died on Thursday, January 18, 2018 at the age of 78. Bill would serve our country in the Air Force after graduating high school in 1957. In 1975 he started Form Tec Plastics, which would earn a U.S. Patnet,  in his garage at his home on Lake Edgewood.  Along with being a successful entrepreneur Bill was heavily involved in his community and participated on several boards and committees.  He was president of the Monrovia Alumni Association, Martinsville Rotary Club as well as having membership in the Monrovia Masonic Lodge, Scottish Rite, Martinsville Elks and the Society of Plastic Engineers.  Bill Shields was also a founding member of Special Olympics Unified Leagues for Morgan County as well as a charter member of the Martinsville P.R.I.D.E.  For his accomplishments and contributions he has been awarded the Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International and the Albert Merritt Award. In 2020 an Alumni Association scholarship was named in his honor and is given to a Monrovia student that plans on attending a vocational school.  He was inducted into the Monrovia Alumni Hall of Fame in 2020.

Rick Streiff - Inducted in 2020

Written by: Emma Gaston

Inducted into the Monrovia Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006-2007

Rick Streiff has led a very successful life including being an athlete at Monrovia High School and Butler University, and then being a well-established coach at Cathedral. He graduated in the class of 1980 and went on to get his Bachelors and masters at Butler University. Rick is married to Julianne and has three children, John, Lauren and Tom. He now serves as the athletic director for Cathedral High School.

High School:


Coaching career:

David Becker-Inducted in 2021

Written by Travis Judson

David Becker moved to Monrovia, Indiana, after 7th grade where he would attend High School.  He struggled to find the funding to go to college, which nobody in his family had ever gone to before.  He managed to get admitted to the Coast Guard Academy, which very few do, and decided instead to go to DePaw University in Greencastle, Indiana, where he would graduate with a degree in political science in 1975.  Becker would get his first job at General Electric Credit Corp., which he would leave to start his own credit union that would fix their issues, known as Member Data Services.  He would sell the company for $24 million, and then he would start and sell several tech companies before founding First Internet Bank.  

Today he is the Chairman, President, and CEO of the corporation which held approximately $2.8 billion in December of 2017.  He is also currently the CEO of three other companies: OneBridge, DyKnow, and RICS.  He used to be a member of the TechPoint Foundation for Youth, which promoted STEM programs for students, and was Chairman of the Central Indiana Community Foundation, a charity to improve central Indiana services.  Becker remains philanthropic today with involvement in several organizations; currently, he is on the board of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership, a group of CEOs and university presidents that work to promote economic prosperity.  Becker, a supporter of higher education, has supported several Indiana universities and educational corporations, serving on the advisory boards for several university programs.  He has received several awards throughout his life, winning the following:

Steve Reeder - Inducted in 2022

The Reeder family moved to Monrovia in the Fall of 1977 before the Blizzard of 1978. The expression “it takes a village” applies to the success that Steve Reeder has achieved. He was very fortunate to have a great family and a structure that included community members, coaches and teachers that supported, encouraged and mentored his growth and accomplishments. 

Mr. Reeder attended Monrovia Elementary and was part of the first kindergarten class in 1980, as well as participated in the Little League sports programs. He attributes his experiences at Monrovia to his desire to be an educator, especially Mr. Noel who he considers one of the most significant people to have had an impact on outside of family. 

Steve graduated from Monrovia in 1993 and while in high school played football under Coach Kaiser until his departure to Avon high school. Steve was named Mr. Football his senior year and felt the skills he learned under Coach Kaiser transferred to his preparation for teaching.

After high school Mr. Reeder attended IUPUI and worked nights at Federal Express to put himself through college. He would earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Indiana University and later a Masters of Arts in Education from the University of Indianapolis. After college he would teach one year at Eminence before returning to Monrovia where he has taught since 1999. 

While teaching at Monrovia he was the Strength and Conditioning Coach under Coach Sconce and Coach Jaynes and has held various positions including Student Government Sponsor, Students for the School Sponsor, Department Chair, Athletic Hall of Fame Committee Member, Monrovia Gregg Teachers Association Scholarship Committee Member. 

Steve was also active with the Monrovia Alumni Association heading the archives and scholarship committee and working with the school to preserve and display school and local history memorabilia. During his local history work he was able to work very closely with Bill Fisher who heavily inspired the work the alumni association and the school has accomplished. During his time with the Alumni Association Mr. Reeder was involved in the following projects.

For his teaching Mr. Reeder 

Finally Mr. Reeder and his students were recognized on the floor of congress, and are part of the congressional record, for their work in community and local history and his performance as a teacher by Congressman Rokita in December of 2018.

Ruth (Darnell) Watson 

Ruth (Darnell) Watson 

Class of 1949

Community Service and Agriculture

Ruth Watson attended Monrovia Schools for her 12 years of education graduating in 1949. She attended Indiana Central Business College and Married George Watson in 1950 and would be married for 54 years. Ruth Watson was a very important contributor to the Alumni Association and Advanced Placement United States History Class Local History Project. She contributed multiple archived photographs and postcards as well as participated in multiple interviews. Her contributions are found in the Monrovia Moments Documentaries done by Faith Nagel over World War 2, The North and South Side of Monrovia and the Rodeo. 

Her work on the local history project is an extension of her years of community involvement. Ruth was a longtime member of the Monrovia Alumni Association, charter member and two time president of the Monrovia Homemaker and highly involved in 4-H. She was a 10 year service member as were her children and grandchildren. Ruth was also a coordinator for the Monroe-Gregg 4-H for over 25 years and created a scholarship in honor of her late husband in 2005. 

The Watson farm, where Ruth has lived for 74 years, and is notorious for Purebred Hampshire Swine. The Watson family has been breeding Hampshire Swine for over 63 years.