Leader of Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation, Regenstrief Foundation and Walther Cancer Foundation honored as a visionary and catalyst for Indiana’s life sciences growth

Indianapolis, October 21, 2008 – At the fourth annual Indiana Life Sciences Forum today, Leonard J. Betley, Chairman and President of the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation and the Regenstrief Foundation, and Chairman of the Walther Cancer Foundation, was celebrated as BioCrossroads’ inaugural Life Sciences Champion of the Year.

Betley’s multiple roles within the life sciences community and his commitment to improve healthcare encompass the award’s mission to honor an individual who has made significant achievements in the development and promotion of Indiana’s life sciences sector; personifies the emerging face of the Indiana life sciences industry; and promotes innovative development of the life sciences in Indiana.

“Len’s vision for stimulating our communities’ health-related organizations and other groups that make a difference in Central Indiana is unprecedented and will positively impact the area for years to come,” said Dr. August Watanabe, Chairman of the Board of BioCrossroads. “Not only is the work that he’s doing improving healthcare, but it’s a catalyst for new businesses, research and collaboration that are the foundations for the growth of the life sciences in Indiana.”

A snapshot of Betley’s work:

  • His leadership at the Fairbanks Foundation brought the vision and funding of a landmark gift of $10 million, their second largest gift to date, for the creation of the Fairbanks Institute for Healthy Communities. This innovative organization will have a positive impact on the health of Central Indiana as well as the rest of the world. The Foundation has also funded Fairbanks Hall — a joint project between IU School of Medicine and Nursing and Clarian, which is one of the largest simulation centers for medical and nursing school students in the country.
  • Since its inception over 20 years ago, the Fairbanks Foundation has awarded grants totaling over $115 million dollars primarily to local non-profit organizations, with nearly half of the grants related to health.
  • Betley is the Chairman of the Regenstrief Foundation, which supports The Regenstrief Institute, an internationally recognized informatics and healthcare research organization(The Regenstrief Institute and others formed the Indiana Health Information Exchange). The Foundation also funded the establishment of the Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering at Purdue, the only integrated university-wide effort in healthcare engineering in the nation.
  • Betley also was instrumental in establishing the Walther Cancer Institute (now the Walther Cancer Foundation) as a medical research organization. Through his leadership, the Foundation has given ecumenically and consistently to advance cancer research at Notre Dame and Purdue, in addition to the Indiana University.
  • Not only has he been influential in the development of Indiana’s life sciences, but Betley has also served on the boards of several community organizations such as The Nature Conservancy, Park Tudor School, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce, the United Way of Greater Indianapolis, and the Indianapolis Arts Council.
  • He served as Managing Partner of Ice Miller law firm until 1996, practicing law for 36 years


“On behalf of myself, the organizations within which I am affiliated, and the entire Indiana life sciences community, it is an honor to receive this award,” said Betley. “The spirit of cooperation among our entrepreneurs, the professionals, the academic world, other philanthropic organizations, government agencies, and the not-for profit sector has made progress toward our mutual goals possible. I am proud to represent the collaborative partnerships which have contributed to our state’s strength in the life sciences sector.”

“As evidence that our life sciences community is full of outstanding entrepreneurs, community and corporate leaders, researchers and academics, several highly qualified candidates were nominated for our inaugural award,” said David Johnson, president and CEO of BioCrossroads. “Len is the perfect honoree because of his influence on countless opportunities within healthcare and well-being organizations, raising their visibility and the awareness of Indiana’s life sciences as a sector, while he stays behind the scenes. His footprint on the life sciences community is immeasurable and has touched the lives of thousands of Hoosiers.”

In addition, as part of the award, BioCrossroads is giving grants to two teachers in the science, technology, engineering or mathematics disciplines to pursue professional development through the Indiana Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (I-STEM) Resource Network. The winning teachers are:

  • Shelly Sparrow, a third grade teacher at Hums Schools in the City of Mishawaka, who has been instrumental in helping her school move the K-6 instructional program to a student-centered, guided-inquiry program using research-based science materials. She has also helped her students become adept at using their science notebooks to enhance their science learning and improve their skills in not only science, but language arts. Three years ago she was the Mishawaka Teacher of the Year.
  • Shannon Hudson, a science, health, and reading teacher in the Crawfordsville Schools. Shannon is working to bring education to life for her students — taking them to tour facilities using science, and leading education teams to academic competitions. She has also been a teacher leader for PRISM, a STEM Education portal run by Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, creating one of nine pioneer projects that demonstrated the efficacy of this on-line gathering space.

2009 Life Sciences Champion of the Year nominations will be accepted in late Spring of 2009.

About BioCrossroads
BioCrossroads (www.biocrossroads.com) is Indiana’s initiative to grow the life sciences, a public-private collaboration that supports the region’s research and corporate strengths while encouraging new business development. BioCrossroads provides money and support to life sciences businesses, launches new life sciences businesses (Indiana Health Information Exchange, Monarch LifeSciences, Fairbanks Institute for Healthy Communities, BioCrossroadsLINX, and Datalys Center) expands collaboration and partnerships among Indiana’s life science institutions, promotes science education and markets Indiana’s life sciences industry.