Jerry SemlerAn Indiana native, Semler received his bachelor’s degree in industrial economics in 1958. He later graduated from the Stanford University Business Executive Program and received an honorary doctorate from Krannert.

Semler spent a long and storied career with American United Life Insurance. He rose to the rank of president in 1980, chief executive officer in 1989 and chairman in 1991. He also served as chairman and director of its subsidiary, OneAmerica Financial Partners. Semler was named Business Leader of the Year by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce in 2004 and has served as chairman emeritus of American United Mutual Insurance Holding Co. since 2007.

Rosie graduated in 1959 with a bachelor’s degree in education. She has received numerous honors, including the Jefferson Award, the YWCA Volunteer Award and the Spooner Award for Outstanding Volunteer at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.

Together, the couple has received numerous awards for their work throughout the state with business and civic organizations, including being named among Indiana’s Living Legends.

The couple, however, has not forgotten where it started. They joined the John Purdue Club shortly after graduating and have since been longtime supporters of the University and Krannert, supporting several major initiatives focused on the success of students.

The Semlers were co-chairpersons with Michael Bindley and his wife, Mary, for the $1.5 billion Campaign for Purdue's Indianapolis effort under the administration of Purdue President Emeritus Martin C. Jischke. Shown above speaking at the inaugural Boilermaker Ball in 2005, Semler — along with his wife and the Bindleys — helped raise more than $217 million from the Indianapolis area.

“I continue to be involved with younger people and want to give them new ideas and support,” Semler says. “Krannert provided the business background that helped me throughout my career.”

The Semler family’s Boilermaker connection is equally strong — six of their seven children graduated from Purdue and two of their grandsons are current freshmen in Krannert. “We have a joke in our family that we say our kids could go to school anywhere north of Highway 40,” Semler says.

He shares simple advice with his grandchildren and other current students and young alumni — get involved.

“My advice is to start networking and seek out leadership opportunities,” Semler says. “Leadership roles really help you get involved and prepare you for future success. Events like the Purdue University Dance Marathon are also great opportunities for students. They develop circles of friends that pull together for a great cause and they’re able to raise money for a great organization.”

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