(Nov. 17, 1913-Feb. 16, 1995). Anna Margaret Ross Alexander was born in Lafayette, Indiana, to Linn Carhahan Ross and Gladys Gould Ross. While attending Purdue University, she wrote for the student newspaper, the Purdue Exponent, coedited the university’s yearbook, the Debris, and belonged to Kappa Alpha Theta sorority. She earned her Bachelor of Science from Purdue in 1935. Also in 1935, she married John Arthur Alexander, who graduated with her from Purdue. When he joined the law firm Krieg, DeVault, Alexander, and Capehart, the couple moved to Indianapolis. The Alexanders had two sons.

Alexander actively participated in the Indianapolis community. She organized the first mental health fund drive in Marion County and went on to serve on the Marion County Mental Health Association board for six years. She was president of the Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center, trustee of Christamore Settlement, secretary of the Community Centers of Indianapolis board, vice president of the Citizens Forum board, chair of the Indiana State Symphony Society fund drive, and advisor to Historic Landmarks Foundation.

Alexander’s best-known civic work was in public education. She became interested in grade-level reading, so joined the Parent Teacher Association’s (PTA) of Public School 80 and Broad Ripple High School. Elected in 1966 as an Indianapolis Public School Board commissioner and board president (1969), Alexander was the only woman on the school board during her tenure, a tumultuous time in which public schools were desegregated (See School Desegregation). Alexander helped to implement desegregation programs and bring hot lunches to all elementary schools.

Alexander remained connected to her alma mater, acting as president of the Purdue Women of Indianapolis and serving on the Purdue President’s Council. Purdue University awarded Alexander an honorary doctorate in 1986. Purdue named its new baseball facility in the Alexander family name in 2013.

Revised December 2022

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