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2011 Hall of Fame Inductees

2011 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 2011 Alumni Hall of Fame. The selection committee met and narrowed the applicants down to two recipients.

These exceptional alumni were recognized at a reception and induction ceremony prior to the May Festival on May 5, 2011, at 6:30 p.m. in the SHS Golden Bear Room. A plaque honoring each recipient was unveiled. Both recipients are SHS graduates who have made outstanding contributions to their professions and society.

The 2011 recipients are:
 
John C. DePrez, Class of 1930

 

John C. DePrez was publisher of The Shelbyville News from its inception in 1947 until his death July 1, 1988, during which time it was twice named Indiana’s Blue Ribbon Daily by the Hoosier State Press Association. He was elected to the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame in 1995. He was active in community affairs and attracting new industry through Shelbyville Industries and Shelby Industrial Development. A 1930 graduate of SHS and 1934 of Purdue University with a mechanical engineering degree, John C. was a co-founder of Shelby County United Fund for You (SCUFFY). He began his business career in the 1930s by managing the family-owned ice and coal delivery company. A veteran of World War II, he was discharged as a major. He was given the first Lifetime Achievement Award by the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce in 1988. His great friend and fellow SHS classmate George Stubbs said of him: “All of this (economic development) seemed like additional work for a newspaper publisher, but John C. did not look at it this way. To him it was a part of his job to help his community. John C. never wanted to take credit or thanks for what he had done. He felt that this was his job and a part of his work as a newspaperman. The help which he gave his community will last for years and be a blessing forever…John C. DePrez made journalism an important influence in the whole community - a lesson that all newspaper people should learn."
Dan K. Thomasson, Class of 1952

 

A distinguished journalist, nationally-syndicated columnist and political commentator, Dan began his career in 1956 after graduating from Indiana University, where he was editor-in-chief of the Daily Student and president of the IU Student Foundation. Following two years of service in the Army, he was assigned to the Scripps Howard Newspaper Alliance in Washington, D.C. in 1964. He became chief congressional correspondent in 1966, assistant managing editor for investigations in 1972, vice president/news for Scripps Howard Newspapers in 1986, and a vice president of the parent E.W. Scripps Co., in 1992. During the 60s and 70s, he was named by Washingtonian Magazine as one of the nation’s top investigative reporters, covering major scandals such as Chappaquiddick and Watergate along with three presidential campaigns and every political convention from 1960 to 2004. He appeared on a variety of national television shows, including C-Span, Face the Nation, and the Washington Week in Review. Dan is a trustee of Franklin College, a longtime trustee and vice president of the Scripps Howard Foundation, and a member of the National Public Affairs Council for IU, the White House Correspondent’s Assoc., and Gridiron Club of Washington. He was named to the Washington Journalism Hall of Fame and Indiana Academy in 1993, and the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame in 1997.
Shelbyville News Article
 
DePrez, Thomasson honored by high school

By Andrea Smithson
Editor

Published: Friday, May 6, 2011 7:11 AM US/eastern

Two noted members of the Fourth Estate were inducted into the fourth inaugural class of the Shelbyville High SchoolAlumni Hall of Fame on Thursday.

The two men were celebrated Thursday just before the annual May Festival, as John C. DePrez and Dan K. Thomasson were entered into the Alumni Hall of Fame.

DePrez, Class of 1930, was founder and publisher of The Shelbyville News from 1947 to 1988. Thomasson, Class of 1952, worked his way from investigative reporter to vice president for news at Scripps Howard News Service inWashington , D.C. He's currently a nationally syndicated columnist.

"We want to recognize SHS graduates who have made significant contributions to their community, to society, to their professions and field ... and who really promote our school system," said Andrew Hensley, SHS assistant principal and a member of the Hall of Fame selection committee. "These two SHS graduates exemplify perseverance, work ethic and character. We hope all our students can emulate them."

Superintendent David Adams said the hall -- just in the main entrance of SHS, by the front office -- preserves the rich history of SHS, and the students notice.

"Anytime I walk in here, I see students reading the plaques. It's important that kids see what our education here can do for them," Adams said.

The families of the two honorees took Thursday evening to reminisce and celebrate. DePrez passed away in 1988; he was represented by his four children and several grand- and great-grandchildren.

"He would have been humbled, and very appreciative," John C. DePrez Jr. said of his father's reaction to earning the award. "He very much preferred to be in the background. He would have wondered why other people weren't being honored instead."

Peter DePrez agreed on his father's stoic reaction, saying, "He just would have said, 'Thank you.'"

The elder DePrez was a founder of SCUFFY and the first person to received the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce's Lifetime Achievement Award. He lead The Shelbyville News to several top journalism awards and is a member of the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame. He served Shelbyville in many ways, from economic development to community service.

John C. DePrez IV, grandson of the nominee and a current Shelbyville Central Schools board member, accepted the award on behalf of the family. He also announced the creation of a new scholarship for SHS students in John C. DePrez's name through the Blue River Community Foundation.

"It will begin in 2012, which would have been my grandfather's 100th birthday," he said. "(He was) a man who loved his community and strived to make it better."

Thomasson lives in the Washington metro area, but is on a cruise this week and couldn't attend. His brother, Mike, and son, Sean, joined Dan's sister Peggy Brown in accepting on his behalf. The two Thomasson men live in the Columbus and Brown lives in Shelbyville.

Mike Thomasson read a letter from Dan, giving thanks for the honor.

"I've earned several awards in my life, but few have given me the satisfaction of this, the admiration of my high school and hometown. Who I am and what I've done were nurtured in the halls of SHS."

Mike shared stories of growing up in Shelbyville, how young Dan acted as a budding investigative reporter, getting into scrapes around their neighborhood.

"He was always collecting news," Mike Thomasson said. "He knew everything going on in the neighborhood. ... He has and does love this town."

Sean Thomasson grew up in Washington , but he said they still considered Shelbyville home.

"I will tell you all my friends growing in D.C. knew where Shelbyville , Indiana , was," he said.

 
Family members of John C. DePrez and Dan Thomasson stand next to the newly unveiled plaques.