Year Inducted: 

Jesse Washington TappJesse Tapp was born in Corydon on Jan. 2, 1900 and received his bachelor’s degree in agriculture at the University of Kentucky in 1920. He would go on to a distinguished career in banking, retiring in 1965 as chairman of the board of Bank of America, a position he held for 10 years.

In 1920, prior to his affiliation with the bank, he joined the U.S. Department of Agriculture, where he was engaged in research and administrative work in agricultural economics. He moved to the National Investors Corporation eight years later, working as an economist until 1933, when he rejoined the USDA as an administrator in various agencies, including heading the Federal Surplus Commodities Corporation from 1937 to 1939 and also directing the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation from 1938-1939.

Tapp began his banking career as vice president in Bank of America’s San Francisco office in 1939. During his tenure with the company, he served on the board of directors and as chairman of the General Trust Committee and member of the Trust Investment Policy Committee. He also served as executive vice president and vice chairman of the board.

He left the bank briefly during World War II to serve as associate administrator of the U.S. War Food Administration in 1943 and as president of the Axton-Fisher Tobacco Company in Louisville from 1943 to 1945.

Tapp also served as president of the California State Board of Agriculture, member of the University of California’s board of regents, and member of the board of trustees of Occidental College in Los Angeles. He was appointed by President Lyndon Johnson to the Public Advisory Committee on Trade Negotiations, the National Advisory Commission on Food and Fiber and the Advisory Council on Insured Loans to Students.

He served as president of the Los Angeles World Affairs Council and of the Los Angeles Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America. He was a member of the Governor's Committee on the Future of Banking and was on the board of trustees of the Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery of Pasadena.

Tapp acted in an advisory capacity for a number of governmental committees including the President's National Advisory Committee on Agriculture from 1953 to 1961, the President's Citizens Committee on the Mutual Security Program from 1956 to 1957 and the Committee on Foreign Economic Policy in 1954. He served as a member of the Commission on Money and Credit, sponsored by the Committee for Economic Development, from 1959 to 1961 and was named to the Eisenhower Exchange Fellowships Inc. in 1956.

In 1953, UK awarded Tapp the honorary Doctor of Laws degree. He was named to the UK Hall of Distinguished Alumni in February 1965. In addition to his degree from UK, he held a master’s degree in agricultural economics from the University of Wisconsin and did graduate studies at Harvard and Cornell.

Mr. Tapp died in 1967.