Studebaker National Museum Announces the 2016 "Champion"

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The Studebaker National Museum announced its 2016 “Champion” -- Rebecca J. Bonham. Mrs. Bonham will be honored at the Museum’s Fifteenth Annual Hall of Champions Dinner, on Thursday, April 21, 2016, at the Museum.

BeckyBonham portrait

The purpose of the Hall of Champions Dinner is to honor an outstanding individual and/or company that has contributed to the success of the Studebaker Corporation, the Studebaker National Museum, the transportation industry or the auto collector hobby in an extraordinary way. The Award may also honor a South Bend area pioneering business which exemplifies the entrepreneurial spirit of the Studebaker family.

Under Becky’s leadership, the Museum secured funding to design and construct its new Chapin Street facility; she also successfully guided the Museum to become only the third automotive museum to achieve accreditation from the prestigious American Alliance of Museums. During her tenure, the Studebaker National Museum also secured a Save America’s Treasures grant from the National Parks Service to conserve its eight “National Treasures” which includes four Presidential carriages. In 2008, Becky worked with the Indiana Department of Transportation and the City of South Bend to convert the former “Jelly’s Bar” into the new Studebaker National Museum Archives building.

Becky has represented the Museum through several professional industry organizations, including the American Alliance of Museums, the Museum Store Association, the Society of Automotive Historians, as well as the National Association of Automobile Museums. She serves as a professional peer reviewer with the American Alliance of Museum’s accreditation program. She received the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Service, was the recipient of the St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce’s prestigious Athena Award, The Studebaker National Museum is honored to induct Mrs. Rebecca J. Bonham into the 2016 Hall of Champions.

EKirkwood pic1

The Studebaker National Museum will honor Evie Kirkwood, with the Spirit of Studebaker Award. The Spirit of Studebaker recognizes individuals who have given freely of their time, talent, and resources for the Studebaker National Museum, and have played a key role in maintaining the Studebaker legacy.

Honorary Chairs of the Hall of Champions dinner are Art Decio and Dorene & Jerry Hammes. General Chairs of the Hall of Champions dinner are Mike & Colleen Kendzicky and Mark & Nancy McDonnell. Event is Thursday, April 21st at the Museum: cocktails at 5:30, dinner at 6:30pm. Tickets are $200 each (sponsorships are also available). For more information, contact Jo McCoy at (574) 235-9006.

The Studebaker National Museum is located at 201 S. Chapin Street in downtown South Bend. It is open Mon. through Sat, 10am to 5pm, and Sun. Noon to 5pm. Admission is $8 for adults, $6.50 for seniors over 60, and $5 for youth ages 6-18. For more information call the Museum at (574) 235-9714 or toll free at (888) 391-5600 or visit their web site at

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