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WEST BADEN, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Two Indiana hotels and one Hoosier hotelier have been named finalists for a chance to be honored among the best in the world.

Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide have included West Baden Springs Hotel, the Morris Inn at Notre Dame and Jeff Lane from French Lick Resort as nominees for respective awards in their list of 2019 Awards of Excellence recipients.

West Baden Springs Hotel at French Lick Resort is nominated for the Best Historic Hotel with 201-400 guest rooms for 2019. The southern Indiana resort is also represented in another category, by Jeff Lane. Lane has been nominated for a chance at the title of Hotel Historian of the Year for 2019. 

In the Sustainability Champion category, the Hoosier state is represented by the Morris Inn at Notre Dame. The inn was recognized for its signature cocktail, The Dexter, by Historic Hotels in July

Award winners will be announced in November.

“It is an honor to congratulate all the 2019 award nominees,” said Lawrence Horwitz, executive director of the Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide, in a news release. “The nominee finalists exemplify the finest historic hotels and hoteliers from the across the United States and from around the world. The historic hotels nominated include small historic inns, boutique hotels, lifestyle hotels, and resorts. They represent small towns to large cities to UNESCO World Heritage destinations. We applaud the dedication and passion of the thousands of individuals working at these iconic and legendary hotels that keep the stories alive from the past and make staying or celebrating special occasions at these historic hotels memorable experiences.”

(Video above of Lauren Robel, IU Bloomington provost and executive vice president, and Bill Brown, the executive director of the Indiana University Center for Rural Engagement, provided by IU)

WEST BADEN, Ind. (WISH) — The Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment has approved a $10 million grant for the Indiana University Foundation to fund the Center for Rural Engagement.

An IU news release said the grant, $2.5 million of which is subject to matching conditions, will help the center support regional initiatives to address community-identified opportunities and needs in 11 neighboring counties: Brown, Crawford, Daviess, Dubois, Greene, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Orange, Owen and Washington counties.

“The Center for Rural Engagement’s focus and vision developed from discussions with local residents and community leaders, as well as with leaders of regional organizations, through a series of meetings and open sessions,” the release said. “More than 200 IU faculty, administrators and staff have participated in project development and engagement activities during the planning period.”

IU said the center will support and enhance ongoing work by IU Bloomington faculty, staff and students on rural issues, using a mix of approaches from faculty-led classes to multidisciplinary research projects.

In Lawrence County, projects have worked to address addiction issues, street and highway infrastructure, and a new use for the decommissioned Avoca Fish Hatchery

Bill Brown, former university director of sustainability and Sustaining Hoosier Communities lead, will serve as the executive director of the center.

Monday’s announcement was made at the historic West Baden Springs Hotel.