Sidney Eskenazi – Lawyer, developer and philanthropist receives Big Pi

The Big Pi Chapter is pleased to welcome Sidney Eskenazi ’50 (Indiana) to its distinguished ranks in recognition of his business achievements and generous philanthropic efforts. The Big Pi is a “lifetime achievement award” bestowed on alumni brothers held in high esteem by virtue of outstanding accomplishments. 

From humble beginnings to a thriving career

Eskenazi grew up on the south side of Indianapolis during the hard times of the Great Depression. He began working at age 13 and has never stopped. 

He attended Indiana University in 1947 and joined the IN Alpha Theta chapter. By taking summer classes he was able to graduate in 1950 and immediately enroll at the Indiana University School of Law where he received his law degree. While at IU a mutual friend introduced Sidney to his most successful partner, Lois.

Eskenazi built a successful career as a lawyer in commercial real estate development. Following his mantra of a strong work ethic and living simply he founded Sandor Development in 1963. Sandor Development grew to be one of the largest privately-held shopping center developers in the nation, owning and operating over 8 million square feet of retail space across 25 states.

Giving back to university and community

Eskenazi and his wife Lois are philanthropic leaders in central Indiana. In the 1970s, they endowed a scholarship fund for IU law students. Similarly, they established scholarships at IU’s Herron School of Art and the IU Medical School. 

In 2011 their $40 million gift enabled the Eskenazi Health Foundation to build new hospital facilities in Indianapolis. The Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Hospital and Eskenazi Health campus officially opened in December 2013. 

The Eskenazis donated $15 million in 2016 to the Indiana University Art Museum to assist in the renovation of that building. The museum is now known as the Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art.