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Do you believe in coincidences? We have a story for you right out of 1976 and Indiana’s First College, Vincennes University.

In 1976, five VU students were busy studying things such as law enforcement, broadcasting, business degrees, and more. While they attended the same school rarely did their paths cross even when two of them shared the same floor in the infamous Harrison Hall dorms. But many decades later, their lives would all become entwined whether they realized it or not.

Harold “Huck” Lewis, Denny Spinner, Mark Senter, Cathy Gross, and Terry Seitz are all current or former Indiana mayors who roamed the campus of VU in the 70’s. “Just the irony that five future community leaders were at Vincennes University together is amazing,” Senter said. Senter is the current Mayor of Plymouth, Indiana.

The five current and former Hoosier mayors are a prime example of VU’s history of educating Indiana leaders. It really speaks to the core mantra that VU has instilled in its student body for decades: “Learn In Order to Serve.”

“It speaks to the tradition of Vincennes University providing the very best in educational opportunities following high school,” Gross said. “VU is the perfect place to acquire core credits in a residential university environment where many life lessons are also learned. What I learned at VU created a solid foundation for my future. I was not considering public service while there. However, my experiences definitely impacted my future in a positive way.”

Former Mayor of Huntingburg Denny Spinner was appointed as executive director of the Indiana Office of Community & Rural Affairs by Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch in 2020. He majored in broadcast production technology at VU so did Seitz.

“It was at VU that I was challenged by my Department Chair, Mark Lange, to take a leadership role,” Spinner said. “Mark placed me in a role at the radio station that brought out a side of me that I did not know. Had it not been for that, I doubt that I would have ever considered being a leader, let alone running for mayor. Mark Lange was a mentor to me not only at VU but in the years after. He definitely sparked the flame that resulted in me wanting to lead and serve.”

Former City of Jasper Mayor Terry Seitz eventually became a senior advisor and the Indiana outreach director for U.S. Senator Mike Braun.

According to Seitz, “As I recall, none of us were majoring in anything to do with government, government affairs, etc. I believe each of us took what we learned in our various VU studies and applied it to public service in our own ways throughout our lives.”

“Huck” Lewis is a former Lebanon city Mayor. He was elected in 2009 and had a vital role in establishing the VU Gene Haas Training and Education Center located in Lebanon. He served more than 20 years in Government Service type of roles.

Just mere weeks ago these five VU grads were in attendance at the 2023 Accelerate Indiana Municipalities Ideas Summit in French Lick. The fivesome now pose for a photo together yearly and the Summit was the same thing except with one difference: Gross joining them.

Cathy Gross serves as the Mayor for the city of Monticello currently as she was just recently added to this prestigious VU alumni “club” a few weeks ago.

Who knew the stars were aligning for Hoosier history to be made all these years ago on a little campus situated on the banks of the Wabash River in Knox County, Indiana?

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