Getting in the Game: IU Student-Athletes and Academic Excellence

D. Ames Shuel Academic Support Center Naming Ceremony
Shuel Academic Support Center
Memorial Stadium
Bloomington, Indiana
September 9, 2011

Introduction

If you walk down the main hallway of this magnificent renovated facility, you will see the reason that we are all here to celebrate this afternoon. Recognized in ten different displays are Indiana University’s finest student-athletes who have achieved excellence in the classroom and in their respective sports.

We have Rhodes Scholars, Academic All Americans, Big Ten Conference Distinguished Scholars, Medal of Honor recipients, and Honors All-Academic.  We have Scholastic Achievement award winners, Scholar Athletes of the Month, and Spirit of Indiana Director’s Award winners.  We have members of the Alpha Beta Honorary Society and team winners of the Herbert Cup.  Both of these honors go to individuals and teams with outstanding grade point averages.  

Nearly 60 percent of our over 650 student-athletes in 24 varsity sports earned GPAs of at least 3.0 during the last school year. We had 242 academic all-Big Ten performers, and thirteen of our programs achieved a perfect score of 1000 on the NCAA’s APR scale, which measures a teams’ academic performance. More important than those numbers, though, is IU’s 82% graduation success rate, which is well above the national average.1  As IU President William Lowe Bryan once said, the goal of IU Athletics is to create “first-rate athletes as well as first-rate people.”2 

The Full Story of IU Athletics

These individual and team honors tell only part of the story of Indiana University’s student-athletes. That story goes back to 1867 when IU formed its first team—baseball—and competed at the intercollegiate level. That story includes generations of student-athletes, coaches, and trainers, who have been focused on student success as well as victory.

Legendary figures have helped lay the foundation for excellence for today’s students and student-athletes. On the visionary wall to your right, you will see IU’s 10th president William Lowe Bryan and 11th president and first Chancellor Herman B Wells. Both of these men served this university during critical periods of growth and transformation.

Also featured on this wall is Elizabeth “Buzz” Kurpius. Coach Buzz, as she was known, was hired by Lee Corso in 1974 as IU’s first female football coach and the first advisor in the Big Ten Conference exclusively dedicated to helping student-athletes succeed in the classroom.

She was a true pioneer, who, perhaps foresaw this day when she would join President Bryan and President Wells on that visionary wall, each in their own way, having dedicated themselves to this university, to its students, and to their success.

The story of IU student-athletes also includes a community for whom IU Athletics is their strongest and longest lasting connection to Indiana University, who comes out to support Hoosier student-athletes regardless of the season and regardless of the standings.

Thanks to D. Ames Shuel and Family

And, perhaps most important, that story includes generations of IU alumni for whom football, basketball, soccer, baseball, and other varsity sports were an integral part of their college experience. Whether participants or spectators, IU students connect with each other through sports, building a shared community and forming ties that last a lifetime. Our deepest thanks go to those alumni who remain a vital part of IU Athletics.

Today, we owe a particular debt of gratitude to D. Ames Shuel and his family. For them, it has not been enough just to watch the game or the match. Their interest extends to the individual students who put everything they have into making the grade and representing Indiana University, and through this new academic support center, that interest cuts across all sports.

Mr. Shuel earned his degree in Business Administration from Indiana University in 1958 and worked as an executive trainee at Sears, Roebuck and Company before purchasing HP Products Corporation (then called HP Chemical) in 1964. Recognized as a Distinguished Entrepreneur in 1988 by the Kelley School of Business, Mr. Shuel transformed HP Products from a small-scale operation into a company with over 400 employees with locations in Indiana and six other Midwestern states.

I am delighted to say that Mr. Shuel has been a season ticketholder for men’s basketball and football for forty-three consecutive seasons, but he speaks with even greater pride of the eight IU graduates in his family and his hope that his grandchildren will follow in his and his wife Judy’s footsteps as IU graduates.

We are deeply grateful that Ames and Judy Shuel are not just sitting on the sidelines. They are in this game, and they hope that their contribution will help make IU’s academic center become one of the best in Division One sports; that it will help us recruit better student-athletes and better students.

All of us at Indiana University would like to extend our gratitude to Ames, Judy, and their entire family.

We share your hopes for this magnificent center and for our student-athletes.

Source Notes

  1. Indiana Hoosiers Athletics Website.  <iuhoosiers.cstv.com/>
  2. Clark, Thomas D.  Indiana University Midwestern Pioneer.  Volume 3:  Years of Fulfillment.  Bloomington:  IUP, 1977.  page 316.  This quote has been modified slightly from its original version, which referred only to “first-rate men.”