(May 12, 1929-June 19, 2015). Former chairman of Lilly Endowment Inc. and senior partner of Baker & Daniels law firm, Thomas M. Lofton was an Indianapolis native and graduate of Howe High School. He attended Butler University, where he met Betty Blades, whom he married in 1951.

Lofton graduated with distinction from Indiana University Bloomington in 1951. He then attended Indiana University School of Law, where he served as editor-in-chief of the Indiana Law Journal. He graduated with distinction and honored with membership in the Order of the Coif. He served as a law clerk to U.S. Court Justice Sherman Minton in 1954-1955 and as a first lieutenant in the Judge Advocate General Corps in the United States Army from 1955-1958.

Lofton then returned to Indianapolis to join Baker & Daniels, where he developed nationally recognized expertise in several legal areas, ranging from antitrust law to the law of tax-exempt organizations. He served as counsel to several of the largest charitable organizations in Indiana, including Lilly Endowment, the Clowes Fund, Liberty Fund, Indiana University Foundation, Christian Theological Seminary, and Eiteljorg Museum Of American Indians And Western Art. In such roles, he provided essential counsel for many of the most significant projects and initiatives that developed the Indianapolis community during the 1970s and 1980s.

He also was considered a preeminent lawyer for national and international fraternities, sororities, and societies, including Alpha Chi Omega, Delta Tau Delta, Phi Gamma Delta, Phi Mu Foundation, Kiwanis International, Kiwanis International Foundation, and his own fraternity, Sigma Nu and Sigma Nu Educational Foundation.

After retiring from Baker & Daniels in 1991, Lofton became vice chairman of the Endowment. In 1993, he assumed leadership as chairman, a position he held until his death in 2015.

Lofton received several honors and accolades during his life, including honorary doctoral degrees from Indiana University, Ball State University, Butler University, and Wabash College, from which he also received the Peck Award for his distinguished legal career. He also received the Distinguished Alumni Service Award from Indiana University in 1979, and he was inducted into the Academy of Law Alumni Fellows of Indiana University. He is a member of the Sigma Nu Fraternity Hall of Honor, and he was inducted into the Indiana Academy and named a Sagamore of the Wabash by Governor Mitch Daniels.

Revised July 2021

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