James T. Morris

2015 Mitch Daniels Leadership Award Winner

James T. Morris - Vice Chairman of Pacers Sports & Entertainment
James T. Morris, 72, is vice chairman of Pacers Sports & Entertainment, which owns the Indiana Pacers and Indiana Fever. A universally recognized civic leader in Indianapolis and Indiana, Morris also is professor of philanthropy and public administration at Indiana University. 
Morris has made an impact on Indiana and the world for much of his professional life. Most notably, Morris served as executive director of the United Nations World Food Programme from 2002-2007 in Rome, Italy. As the world’s largest humanitarian agency, the World Food Programme works to fight hunger and enhance nutrition for the poor. During his leadership, Morris visited with numerous heads of state throughout more than 80 countries and addressed numerous international meetings to discuss ways of reducing hunger and continuing his tireless campaign on behalf of the hungry poor, especially children.
During his time at the World Food Programme, Morris served as the UN Security General’s Special Envoy for Southern Africa, leading an effort to bring UN and humanitarian agencies together to address issues, including food insecurity, HIV/AIDS and the loss of capacity in Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Mozambique.  The effort affected more than 15 million people, especially women and children and was the impetus for significant reform at the UN.
Closer to home, Morris has worked tirelessly to make Indiana better through his leadership in the corporate, nonprofit and government sectors. For nearly 10 years, Morris has served in various leadership roles at Pacers Sports & Entertainment, which annually brings two million people to Indianapolis and hosts more than 500 events. In addition, he previously was president of Lilly Endowment Inc. (1984-1988), one of the world’s largest private philanthropic foundations; chairman and CEO of IWC Resources Corporation and Indianapolis Water Company (1989-2002); and chief of staff for former Indianapolis Mayor Richard G. Lugar (1967-1973).
An Eagle Scout, Morris has made a difference in the lives of others by serving in volunteer leadership roles at several Indiana institutions and organizations, including Indiana University, United Way of Central Indiana, Indiana Sports Corporation, Indiana State and Indianapolis Chambers of Commerce, Indiana Youth Institute, Gleaners Food Bank, and Indianapolis Urban League, among many others. Similarly, he has been involved on the national level with several nonprofit organizations, including American Red Cross, YWCA, Boy Scouts of America and Fellowship of Christian Athletes, to name a few.
Morris has received numerous honors and awards. They include Indiana University’s President’s Medal for Excellence; Michael A. Carroll Award for Outstanding Community Service; Charles L. Whistler Award from the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee; Indiana Black Expo’s Spirit of Freedom Award, Rotary International Humanitarian Award, Sagamore of the Wabash Award from several Indiana governors; and multiple honorary doctorates from several Indiana colleges and universities.
A native of Terre Haute, Morris is married to Jacqueline and has three children and eight grandchildren.