Hubert R. Bruce and Louise Simons Bruce Fund
In 1995, when Louise S. Bruce was appointed by Indiana Governor Evan Bayh as a
trustee of the University of Southern Indiana, she modestly worried if she would be up to the job. It took her no time at all to break complex issues down to a fundamental question: “Is this good for students?” For her, that was the bottom line. Mrs. Bruce had a ready wit, a dazzling smile, and more energy than most people half her age. When she died in 2006 at the age of 92, she had served three four-year terms on the board, and several years as secretary of the board. She was named Trustee Emerita shortly before her death.
Mrs. Bruce and her husband Hubert R. Bruce, known as Bud, were both children of the Great Depression, and had to forego a college education. Mrs. Bruce’s USI experience, according to daughter Susan, meant that “Mom finally got to college.”
Mr. Bruce was a self-taught engineer who started his own sand and gravel and construction business, owned towboats, built a seaport, and had coal mines. They founded the Ohio Valley Company in 1945 and Mr. Bruce was responsible for saving both the Can Clay Corporation and the Cannelton Bank. To preserve a piece of regional history and architecture, the couple purchased the Cannelton Cotton Mill, once the largest industrial building west of the Alleghenies, and donated it for adaptive re-use.
Mrs. Bruce was a businesswoman in her own right, managing the Bruce family’s real estate rentals. Actively involved in their six children’s lives, Mr. and Mrs. Bruce made sure each child had an opportunity to go to college. At Mr. Bruce’s death in 1988, Mrs. Bruce became president and chairman of the board of Can Clay, which produces clay pipe products marketed world-wide.
Mrs. Bruce pursued her business, political, church, and volunteer activities with zeal, and represented Can Clay Corporation internationally. Interested in history, genealogy, and preservation, she was active in Daughters of the American Revolution, Perry County Historical Society, Historic Cannelton, Inc., and was a faithful member of St. Paul’s Catholic Church.
Understanding the importance of philanthropy, Mrs. Bruce established the Hubert R. Bruce and Louise Simons Bruce Fund in the Perry County Community Foundation, a designated that benefits University of Southern Indiana Foundation.