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Former Indiana senator Richard Lugar dies at 87


Richard G. Lugar, left, and Lee H. Hamilton, right, shake hands at the announcement in October of the naming of IU's Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies. Lugar died Sunday at 87. Courtesy Photo

Richard Lugar, former United States senator and mayor of Indianapolis, died early Sunday morning at the Inova Fairfax Heart and Vascular Institute in Virginia, according to a press release from the Lugar Center. He was 87.

Commonly known also as Dick Lugar, the former Republican senator represented Indiana in the U.S. Senate from 1977 to 2013, the longest term for a senator in Indiana history. He also ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 1996. He was a Rhodes Scholar, served in the U.S. Navy and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from former President Barack Obama.

IU's School of Global and International Studies was renamed in October after Lugar and Lee H. Hamilton, a former U.S. representative for Indiana.

“Lee and Dick's commitment to the power of diplomacy to make the world more just and secure, as well as their judgment, independence and confidence in the resilience of American democratic institutions, set the tone for our school and inspire our students, faculty and staff,” said Lee Feinstein, dean of SGIS, in a statement when the school was renamed.

Lugar was also a professor of practice and distinguished scholar at SGIS.

Gov. Eric Holcomb said in a statement Sunday that Lugar was devoted to making the world a better place.

“The world weeps alongside Indiana after just learning we lost one of our best, ever,” Holcomb said. “He was an officer and gentleman, father and faith leader, a Mayor and Senator, a diplomat and legendary role model to millions.”

During his years as senator, Lugar worked to prevent the increase of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons around the world. In 1991, Lugar co-sponsored the Nunn-Lugar Act which created a program that has destroyed more than 7,600 nuclear warheads in the former Soviet Union, according to the Lugar Center website.

In addition to his work to decrease the threat of weapons of mass destruction, Lugar was an advocate for farmers and initiated research on biofuels in an effort to make the U.S. more energy-independent.

Lugar had both liberal and conservative stances on large issues. Lugar supported practical solutions to climate change issues and supported international negotiations to mitigate carbon emissions. He also supported gun control and liberal immigration policy. He did not support Obama’s healthcare reform and voted for conservative economic policy.

He had 46 honorary degrees from universities across the country. He was also the president of the Lugar Center, an organization based around food security, decreasing weapons of mass destruction, aid effectiveness and bipartisan governance.

He was a fifth-generation Hoosier and managed his family’s more than 600-acre farm in Marion County.

He is survived by his wife, Charlene, and his four sons and 13 grandchildren.

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