FORT WAYNE – The retiring director of IPFW’s Community Research Institute received Indiana’s top honor during a surprise party Tuesday at Parkview Field, the university announced.
John Stafford, who has served as the institute’s director for 10 years, was presented with the Sagamore of the Wabash award by state Sen. Tom Wyss, R-Fort Wayne, on behalf of Gov. Mike Pence.
The Sagamore of the Wabash award was created during the term of Gov. Ralph Gates, who served from 1945 to 1949. The term sagamore was used by American Indian tribes of the Northeast to describe a lesser chief or great man among the tribe to whom the true chief would look for wisdom and advice.
Stafford took charge of the Community Research Institute – a regional think tank that studies urban planning, public policy and economic development – in 2003. Before that, he held various positions with the city of Fort Wayne and Allen County.
Stafford is helping with the search for his replacement, and he will work part-time during a transition period that’s expected to start this summer. He also plans to continue teaching urban policy and public finance at IPFW this fall.