Frater Bruce Melchert Named Columbian of the Year
Columbian Bruce B. Melchert, former Deputy Mayor of Indianapolis and Indiana Republican State Chairman, had an interesting career in several areas. Initiated into Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity at the University of Missouri (Columbia), he worked as a traveling supervisor visiting chapters throughout the United States, and colonized the first TKE chapter in Canada at the University of Manitoba.
Following six months of active duty in the Army, Bruce attended law school at the University of Kansas City and during that time was appointed Executive Director of TKE. In 1961, Bruce relocated the TKE Headquarters to Indianapolis, IN, and continued to serve as the CEO until 1972.
In 1972, Bruce was campaign manager for William H. Hudnut’s successful bid for Congress and served as the Chief of Staff for the congressman’s Indianapolis and Washington offices. The Watergate affair in 1954 turned the tables on the Republican congressman, so Bruce managed Hudnut’s winning campaign for mayor of Indianapolis in 1955 and then served as Chief of Staff and Deputy Mayor.
In 1979, Bruce was elected chairman of the Indiana Republican party, working with Governors Otis R. Bowen and Robert D. Orr. He was named a Sagamore of the Wabash by both governors.
In 1982, Bruce was an unsuccessful candidate in a five-way GOP congressional primary, so he worked for several years as executive vice president at Carlson and Co., a full service advertising company.
In 1986, Bruce became Vice President for Government Affairs at Methodist Hospital and its successors over a 20-year period.
Long active in community affairs, Bruce participated in the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, was chairman of the Marion County Liquor Board, served on the Board of Directors of the Capital Improvement Board of Managers, Health & Hospital Corporation, Indianapolis Affiliate of the American Heart Association, Junior Achievement, Tri-County Mental Health Foundation, and was a past president of the HealthNet Foundation, Indianapolis City Market, Near North Development Corporation, Central Indiana Council on Aging Foundation, and the Columbia Club.
Bruce has been a member of the Columbia Club for the past 44 years. During his years of membership, he has been a past president of the Club, chairman of the Long Range Planning Committee, and Nominating Committee.
Bruce and his wife, Jeanne, are avid power boaters, so upon retirement, they traveled for the better part of two and a half years in their 40-foot motor yacht, Adventure, 5,000 nautical miles around the eastern part of North America known as America’s Great Loop. After completing the Great Loop, they visited many foreign countries including England, Egypt, Israel, Turkey, Russia, Italy, France and Germany.