VU to bestow honorary doctorate upon longtime Toyota executive for her exceptional leadership and contributions

Leah Curry headshot

February 29, 2024

VINCENNES, Ind. - Vincennes University is proud to announce the conferral of an Honorary Doctorate, the University's highest honor, upon longtime Toyota executive Leah Curry in recognition of her outstanding leadership and contributions to the automotive and manufacturing industries and STEM education.

According to VU President Dr. Chuck Johnson, "Ms. Curry has been a great partner of Vincennes University both in the establishment of the highly-successful AMT (Advanced Manufacturing Technician) program, now a FAME (Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education) program as well as our women in STEM initiative."

The VU Board of Trustees unanimously approved the honor at a meeting on Feb. 27. The honorary doctorate will be conferred upon Curry, pictured above, during the Vincennes Campus Commencement in the P.E. Complex on April 27.

Curry, a Southwest Indiana native, exemplifies excellence in leadership in her career and commitment to communities. Curry studied chemistry at the University of Evansville and industrial electronics at Ivy Tech Community College in Evansville, Indiana. She went on to enjoy a distinguished 26-year-plus career and is proud to serve as a corporate advisor for Toyota Motor North America since announcing her retirement in December 2023.

Johnson said, "Leah Curry has been a leader throughout Indiana and our region. In her extensive involvement in boards and organizations, she has been a catalyst in promoting economic development and stronger communities, and many education initiatives. Leah Curry is a great example of someone who started in a role very similar to where many VU graduates start–in the industrial maintenance ranks–and through her talent and commitment to excellence, she worked her way into the highest level of executive roles for Toyota. She is truly an inspiration for all VU students and graduates."

Most recently, Curry served as president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Indiana, Inc. (TMMI), where she led all production and administrative functions at the manufacturing facility in Princeton, Indiana, which produces the Toyota Grand Highlander, Highlander, Sienna, and the Lexus TX. Previously, she served as president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing, West Virginia, Inc., a transmissions and engines manufacturing plant in Buffalo, West Virginia.

Throughout her career, Curry has also served as the vice president of manufacturing positions, general manager of assembly, and held management positions in body weld, stamping, maintenance, production engineering, and new model launch at TMMI.

 In 2022, she was inducted into the Women in Manufacturing Hall of Fame.

Additionally, Curry has remained deeply committed to serving her community and empowering others. She currently serves on the board of directors of Deaconess Health Systems. She champions women in STEM-related fields and supports initiatives focused on education, workforce development, and diversity, advocating for positive change and opportunity for all individuals.

In 2013, Curry received the Manufacturing Institute Step Ahead award, which recognizes female leadership in manufacturing. She was twice named one of the top 100 women in automotive by Automotive News in 2015 and 2020. She was also named one of the 250 most influential people in Indiana by Indiana Business Journal in 2022.

The conferral of an honorary doctorate upon Curry reflects VU's commitment to honoring individuals who have made significant contributions to their fields and have inspired positive change. Curry's leadership, integrity, and dedication to excellence embody the values the University seeks to instill in VU students, alumni, faculty, staff, and the greater community.

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