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Ian Rolland helped Fort Wayne keep Lincoln collection

by Sara Gabbard, Executive Director of the Friends of the Lincoln Collection | Jul 14, 2017

Ian RollandIan Rolland, the long-time local business leader who died July 1, had a long-standing respect for Abraham Lincoln.  He spent a lifetime preserving the legacy of our 16th President.

As Lincoln National's CEO, Ian was responsible for moving the world-famous Lincoln Financial Collection out of the "basement" of the corporate headquarters, to a new location in what is now Citizens' Square in Fort Wayne.  The new Lincoln Museum opened to the public in 1995.  When that location was closed in 2008, a nationwide search was conducted to find a location for the Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection of historical documents. 

Under Ian's leadership, the State of Indiana submitted the winning proposal (competing against such national sites as the Smithsonian, the Library of Congress, Gettysburg, and Springfield, Illinois), and the $20 million collection was donated to the State of Indiana. The three-dimensional artifacts were to be preserved at the Indiana State Museum and the two-dimensional items (newspapers, documents, 18,000 books, etc.) at the Allen County Public Library.  A significant factor in the selection of the State of Indiana was the promise to digitize the Collection at ACPL, an undertaking which is still in progress.

The initial success having been achieved, Ian then chaired a statewide capital campaign which raised $9.5 million to provide immediate "moving expenses," capital for the first four years of operation, and then an endowment which would provide long-term financial stability for the preservation of this significant collection.

Ian then served as vice president of Friends of the Lincoln Collection of Indiana, the collection's support group, until his death on July 1, 2017.

Abraham Lincoln's words in his Message to Congress on December 1, 1862, clearly apply to Ian MacKenzie Rolland: "Honorable alike in what we give and in what we preserve."



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  1. Kathy Kolb | Jul 25, 2017

    What a nice tribute to Ian. He was my boss and my friend...a man of great intelligence, compassion and honor. It is Fort Wayne's good fortune to count him as one of our native sons. 

    Kathy Kolb

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