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2010 Hall of Fame Inductees

2010 Inductees to the SHS Alumni Hall of Fame

The SHS Alumni Hall of Fame was created to recognize exemplary SHS graduates who contribute significantly to their communities and/or professions, who achieve academic or professional excellence, and who positively promote Shelbyville Central Schools. A number of applicants, all with worthy credentials, were considered for the 2010 Alumni Hall of Fame. The selection committee met and narrowed the applicants down to four recipients.

These exceptional alumni were recognized at a reception and induction ceremony prior to the May Festival on Thursday, May 6, 2010, at 6:30 p.m. in the SHS Golden Bear Room. A plaque honoring each recipient was unveiled. All are SHS graduates who have made outstanding contributions to their professions and society.

The 2010 recipients were:
Charles Major, Class of 1872


As a member of the first graduating class of SHS, Charles developed an early interest in law and English history. He attended the University of Michigan from 1872-1875, being admitted to the Indiana Bar Association in 1877. He opened his own law practice and was elected to the Indiana state legislature in 1886. His first novel, When Knighthood Was in Flower, was published in 1898, holding a place on the New York Times bestselling list for nearly three years. The novel was adapted in to a popular Broadway play in 1901, with film adaptations in 1908, 1922, and by Walt Disney Pictures in 1953. He continued to write and publish novels and children’s adventure stories, two of which are recognized by the Library of Indiana Classics. He is well known by the children of Shelbyville as the author of The Bears of Blue River written in 1901. A sculpture symbolic of The Bears of Blue River graces the north entrance of the public square in Shelbyville. Charles was a Purdue University trustee from 1902 until his death in 1913.
Nate Kaufman, Class of 1922


Arriving in 1906 as a three-year-old immigrant from Poland , Nate became one of the most successful alums in sports, business and philanthropy in the history of SHS. As a Paul Cross Award winner in 1922, his athletic accomplishments include coaching St. Joseph H.S. to the Catholic national basketball finals in 1926. As one of Indiana’s most respected high school and small-college basketball referees, he was chosen to referee five straight Indiana state basketball championship games from 1936-1940 and was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 1967. For over 20 years, he was the most successful agent in the history of the Indianapolis Life Company. As a founding father and main fundraiser for SCUFFY, the Shelbyville Boys Club, and the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame, he was also a fundraiser with Danny Thomas for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital . Nate was honored with the David Ben-Gurion Award, conferred by the State of Israel in 1979.
Phyllis J. Fleming, Ph.D., Class of 1942


A pioneer among women in science, teaching and research, Dr. Fleming earned her B.S. in physics from Hanover College in 1946 and M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in 1948 and 1955 respectively. She was a Professor of Physics, Emerita, at Wellesley College in MA, where she taught for 50 years, dean from 1968 to 1972, wrote a successful textbook published in 1978, and served as department chair and director of the Science Center. Hanover honored her with an Alumnae Award in 1963 and an Honorary D.Sc. in 2003. She was the first recipient of Wellesley to receive the Pinanski Prize for Distinguished Teaching and the Janet Guernsey Award for Exceptional Lifetime Achievement for her service to faculty, students and alumnae. In 2009, prior to her death, she was named Alumni Fellow by the UW Physics Department. Her students included the first woman astronaut to command a space shuttle and many budding professors. Her passion for leading and teaching women to succeed in the field of physics will forever endure through several scholarship funds established in her name.
R. Gene Sexton, Class of 1944


Gene received his undergraduate degree at Ball State University in 1950 and M.S. in Education at Butler University in 1958. He was a member of the 1949 undefeated Ball State University football team and served in the U.S. Navy. Gene is well known and respected as a dedicated husband, father, grandfather, public servant, 35-year educator, coach, and generous volunteer and supporter of the Shelbyville Golden Bears. Many of his former students have followed in his footsteps, often coming to him for advice. He served on the Shelbyville City Council for 24 years. Gene was born, raised and has lived his entire life in Shelbyville and is a pillar in our community and our schools.
Gene Sexton; Helen Lorenz, accepting for her late sister, Dr. Phyllis J. Fleming; Bart Kaufman, accepting on behalf of his late father, Nate Kaufman;
and Janet Wallace, director of the Shelbyville-Shelby County Public Library, accepting in honor of author Charles Major
May 6, 2010