Thursday afternoon Randoph H. Deer N’48 became the third alumnus to receive Culver Summer Schools & Camps Distinguished Service Award. The honor was started in Culver Academies’ centennial year (1994) as a way to pay special tribute to those summer alumni and alumnae who have distinguished themselves following their time at Culver.
Deer joins John Weinberg N’42, the former chairman of Goldman-Sachs, and former Indiana governor and United States Sen. Evan Bayh W’69 as recipients.
The afternoon started with students of the Upper School “manning the rail” to welcome Deer to Culver. Upper School students lined the guard rail atop the Naval Building, which Deer helped renovate for the CSSC centennial celebration in 2002, and saluted him. Deer said the welcoming gesture “brought a tear to my eye.”
Culver was always the base. Culver has always been there at the bottom of everything I’ve done.
During the Culver Eagle presentationat luncheon in his honor, Deer said, “Culver was always the base. Culver has always been there at the bottom of everything I’ve done.”
Deer spent three years in Naval 1, winning the W.O. Fowler Cup as the top sailor in the Naval School his second class year and serving as the company commander his first-class year. To remember his accomplishments in Naval 1, Nadeen Abu-Taleeb (Amman, Jordan) and Estaban Boada (Bogota, Colombia) presented Deer with a ribbon rack and commander’s pin that symbolizes his many camp accomplishments. THe ribbon rack has replaced the medals of Deer’s time.
Along with renovation of the Naval Building, Deer has assisted financially with the renovation of the Memorial Chapel and the Crisp Visual Arts Center. The Deer-Zink Gallery often includes works of art he has donated, including his own paintings. He has also served on the Culver Summer School Alumni Association as vice president and as a member of the Summer School Strategic Planning and Development Committee.
In business, Deer has distinguished himself as the second generation owner of the Bonded Oil Company. After the family business was sold, he has owned or co-owned several entrepreneurial enterprises, including Endangered Species Chocolate, which donates 10 percent of its net profits to conservation and wildlife causes.
He is a past chairman and a lifetime trustee of the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Culver Board of Trustees Chairman Emeritus Jim Henderson ’52 said Deer was instrumental in getting the 1994 centennial celebration exhibit of Culver alumni art set up through the IMA. Deer has also served on the advisory board for the Herron School of Art and Design at Indiana University; is a former board member of the Indiana Historical Society; former vice president of the Back Home Again Foundation; and founder of the Randolph H. Deer Prize for Outstanding and Continued Work in Art at Wabash College.
Henderson added that Deer has always given “110 percent” to everything he does, whether it involved Culver or business. He remembered scheduling a casual meeting to talk about the Crisp Center and before it was over, Deer had him pull the plans out and he was making changes to the original drawings. “He made it better.”