By Adam Aasen
Each year, the Hamilton County Leadership Academy honors one of its program graduates during its annual holiday luncheon. But this year, the organization decided to do something different for its 25tth year.
HCLA honored Doug Church, dean of the program, as its 2015 HCLA Distinguished Alumnus Winner at the luncheon on Dec. 2 at Plum Creek Golf Club.
“Although Doug is not technically a graduate of HCLA as the board discussed who had done a lot for HCLA and the community we kept coming back to his name – especially this year, as we celebrate our 25th anniversary,” said Greg Wyant, Noblesville Fire Chief and HCLA Board President.
Church is a partner at the law firm of Church, Church, Hittle & Antrim. He was part of the committee to study and put together HCLA as well as being instrumental “borrowing” the curriculum from the Madison County Leadership program, which his mother was running at the time. Church has spoken to nearly every class of the program and was dean during its first year.
HCLA describes itself as, “a leadership development program that identifies and prepares informed leaders for our community. Program participants are brought together by their commitment of time, energy, expertise and their desire to be involved in Hamilton County.” There are more than 570 graduates of the program.
In addition to his legal career, Church’s story begins at age three when he recovered from the disease polio using swimming as a form of therapy. Church’s love of swimming led him to found the Noblesville Adult Swim Team Inc. in the early 1980s and then help save the Forest Park Aquatic Center in the mid-1990s. He also led the capital campaign to help build the Fishers YMCA.
Church also served on the board of Conner Prairie in the mid-1990s and while he was board president he fought against the firing of the board in 2003. The end result of that legal battle helped create today’s expanded Conner Prairie.
For more or to make a donation to HCLA for its 25th year, visit hcla.net/donate.