History of the Sagamore Leadership Initiative

Mr. Sarkes Tarzian

Mr. Sarkes Tarzian

The Sagamore Leadership Initiative was founded in August 2009 and was officially launched at the first Sagamore Summit in July 2010. But our roots go much further back to the vision of Sarkes and Mary Tarzian, community leaders in Indiana who sought to advance the legacy upon which American principles were founded.

In 1970, the Tarzians founded the Eisenhower Memorial Scholarship Foundation. The original intent of the Eisenhower program was to provide scholarships to qualified students--those who possessed a conservative, faith-based outlook and who had demonstrated high academic achievement, capable leadership qualities, and involvement in extracurricular activities.

By 2000, nearly 250 students had come through the Eisenhower program. But, it was destined to go through a period of dormancy for some years until certain visionary members of the original Eisenhower program saw the need to continue to pursue the purposes for which it was originally founded, the impacting of culture.

Where Did the Name "Sagamore Come From?

The pursuit of that vision culminated in the rebirth of what has come to be known as the Sagamore Leadership Initiative.

The term "Sagamore" has a leadership component in that it traditionally refers to a tribal chief of the North American Indian tribes.
Furthermore, the Sagamore reference also has connections to one of Indiana's highest awards for service, The Sagamore of the Wabash. It was first established in the 1940's by Indiana governor Ralph F. Gates and is given to Hoosiers who have made a significant contribution to the life and heritage of Indiana.