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Mr. Roger D. Branigin

Roger Branigin once said, “I’m a Hoosier, a Baptist, and a Democrat, and by God, you can’t get much more common than that.”  His opinion of himself was very humble, however, ‘common’ is probably the least accurate word one could use to describe him.  Born in 1902, he was a member of a pioneer Johnson County family with a proud Hoosier heritage. Branigin graduated from Franklin Community High School in 1919.  He went on to graduate from Franklin College, then earned his law degree from Harvard University.      

Branigin practiced law in Franklin, Louisville, Kentucky, and Lafayette prior to serving in World War II.  In 1964, he was elected the 42nd governor of Indiana.  Branigin’s campaign pledge to build a new Indiana meant that he often spent 18 hours a day speaking with thousands of voters.  The result of Branigin’s election is history, winning by a record plurality of over 260,000 votes. It was his boyhood dream come true.  

Throughout his career, Roger Branigin never said no to Franklin.  Even while serving as governor, Branigin was never to busy to welcome the new class of students to Franklin College each year.  He contributed heavily to the David Demaree Banta Collection of the Franklin College Library and served as a member of the Franklin College Board of Trustees. During his alumni years, nothing was built, programmed or done at Franklin College without Roger having a strong hand in it, financially, in wisdom input, or otherwise.   

Of all of his many great accomplishments, Branigin himself was especially proud of the Hoosier Scholarship Program.  He has said that his fondest memories as governor were the launching of the program designed to help deserving young men and women to attend college.  He often referred to a delivery truck driver who had four children, all of whom were valedictorians in high school and attended colleges or universities in Indiana on Hoosier Scholarships.  

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