When Niel Ellerbrook received an honorary doctorate from his alma mater May 3, 2008, it was in honor of his leadership, both at his corporation and in his community.
Ellerbrook, who graduated from Ball State as an accounting major in 1970, has held a variety of leadership positions at Vectren Corporation, an energy holding company headquartered in Evansville, Indiana. He currently serves as chairman and chief executive officer.
“I am honored to receive this distinction from Ball State because my alma mater was truly the foundation for the leadership development that has enabled me to enjoy a wonderful career,” Ellerbrook said. “I’m fortunate to have been blessed with such success in my life, and I credit not only my academic experience at Ball State but also the mentoring received from outstanding professors.”
Ellerbrook was named chairman and chief executive officer of Vectren in 2000, added the title of president in 2003 In 2007, he was succeeded by another Ball State graduate, Carl Chapman, ’77, as president. Ellerbrook retired as chief executive officer June 1, 2010. Ellerbrook was president and CEO of Indiana Energy from 1999 to 2000. He worked for Arthur Andersen and Co. for 10 years after graduating from Ball State, then joined a local utility company, Indiana Gas Company. There, he held several management positions before he was named president and CEO at Indiana Energy, the utility’s holding company.
“Niel Ellerbrook is an outstanding example of the quality of students who graduate from Ball State University,” said President Emerita Jo Ann M. Gora. “He not only excels at his profession but also brings equally high measures of commitment and energy to his efforts on behalf of his community, his family, and his alma mater. An honorary degree is meant to convey our highest level of respect and admiration, and there is no one more deserving of that honor than Niel Ellerbrook.”
Ellerbrook earned an Award of Distinction from the university’s Miller College of Business in 1995 and a Distinguished Alumni Award in 2001. In 1999, he was inducted into Ball State’s Business Hall of Fame.
He and his wife, Karen, have been active volunteers in the Evansville area for years. He is a board member of Old National Bancorp and Signature Learning Center, a charter high school. He and Karen were the fundraising cochairs for the Koch Family Children’s Museum of Evansville. He also has held many leadership positions at the state and national levels with the American Gas Association and the Indiana Energy Association. Ellerbrook has served as chair of the board of trustees at the University of Evansville since June 1, 2008.