Reflections

A transformative, innovative leader

Throughout McRobbie’s tenure, IU has been recognized for its leadership across a wide range of key areas, including student success, research and scholarly excellence, community engagement, international education, health sciences training and research, and economic development for all of Indiana. 

Eric Holcomb

Michael’s leadership has enhanced the Hoosier state’s reputation globally.

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb
Val Osili

It is incredibly hard to look at today’s [IUPUI] campus and not see innovation and transformation in the teaching, research, and service occurring there now as a result of his leadership.

Vop Osili, President, Indianapolis City/County Council
Nasser Paydar

History books will tell the story of the McRobbie era at Indiana University. It will be story of a passion for progress with a vision for the future.

Nasser Paydar, Chancellor, IUPUI

Tributes to McRobbie's presidency

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Eric Holcomb

Governor Eric Holcomb and IU President Michael A. McRobbie

Governor, State of Indiana

“During President Michael McRobbie's tenure, the state of Indiana has benefited in incalculable ways. From Indiana University's ever-increasing engagement in transformational economic development projects to improving our international standing abroad, Michael's leadership has enhanced the Hoosier state's reputation globally. His never-ending commitment to both fostering creativity and critical inquiry while delivering cutting-edge research, along with 21st-century-ready talent, has positioned the school and state to be ideal places to grow.”

John Hamilton

President Michael A. McRobbie shakes hands with Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton after a ribbon cutting to mark the opening of the Woodlawn Avenue extension at the intersection with Seventh Street on Friday, Oct. 14, 2016.

Mayor, City of Bloomington

“President McRobbie has taken sagacious steps to mitigate the harmful effects of the pandemic. These methods have received national attention and praise, creating a crisis response model worth of emulation and respect.”

Joseph Hogsett

Mayor, City of Indianapolis

“Under Michael McRobbie’s leadership ... Indiana University has committed to addressing pressing issues that affect our city, our state, our nation and our world through research, through education, and through service….”

Vop Osili

President, Indianapolis City/County Council

“It is incredibly hard to look at today’s [IUPUI] campus and not see innovation and transformation in the teaching, research, and service occurring there now as a result of his leadership. President McRobbie, I want to personally thank you for your generous partnership and your gracious collaboration through the past 14 years, and I wish you and your wife Laurie only the best as you enter your well-deserved retirement.”

Richard Lugar

Richard Lugar and President McRobbie

Senator for Indiana, U.S. Senate

“Under President McRobbie, IU is now positioned to leap into the very top tier of American universities studying foreign policy through its new School of Global and International Studies ... Much is at stake, and much will be accomplished at IU.”

Michael Mirro

Chair, Indiana University Board of Trustees

“Throughout McRobbie’s tenure, IU has been recognized for its leadership across a wide range of key areas, including student success, research and scholarly excellence, community engagement, international education, health sciences training and research, and economic development for all of Indiana. He’s been celebrated as a transformative, innovative leader. As of June 2021, McRobbie will have concluded one of the most successful presidencies under extraordinarily challenging conditions than any leader in higher education has ever experienced. His leadership tenacity to transform IU into one of the leading AAU institutions is one of many metrics that point to remarkable success during his tenure.”

Pat Shoulders

Vice Chair, Indiana University Board of Trustees

“It was a no-brainer in my view when we elevated McRobbie to the presidency and he’s never disappointed. His accomplishments, his achievements will be related and will be celebrated for all.”

MaryEllen Bishop

Trustee, Indiana University Board of Trustees

“Michael’s transformative leadership is defined by the day-to-day moments that few people see and even fewer realize at the time the enduring effect they will have. Michael has quietly and steadily brought about a shift in IU’s culture. In so doing, he elevated what we believe is possible and what we should expect of ourselves and collectively of IU as an institution. Because of Michael’s time with us we are a far more innovative, bold, and courageous organization.”

Stephen L. Ferguson

President McRobbie and Stephen L. Ferguson

Chairman of the Board of Cook Group Inc., Former IU Board of Trustees chairman

“I thought we hired a good president, and we hired a great president. Michael has great vision, hired great leaders, was recognized by his peers worldwide, built much-needed physical facilities, restored the historic buildings, rebuilt the athletic facilities, increased the endowment to new levels, emphasized diversity, supported the arts, increased international enrollment, raised research funding and raised the rating of the university. Michael is a true Renaissance man and established the future of IU in the world.”

Kathryn Girten

President Michael A. McRobbie receives the Chancellor's Medallion from Chancellor Girten during the IU East Commencement at the Whitewater parking lot on Friday, May 14, 2021.

Chancellor, IU East

“President McRobbie has been an outstanding leader of Indiana University. I have often commented on his strong and unwavering support of the regional campuses, which is very important to me as a regional campus chancellor. I know everyone in the communities IU East serves appreciates President McRobbie’s commitment to our local areas, providing opportunities that change the lives of our students and their families. On a more personal level, I am so grateful for his and First Lady Laurie Burns McRobbie’s kindness when I experienced a tragedy in my personal life. Thank you both, and I wish you the very best for the future!”

Ken Iwama

Chancellor, IU Northwest

“The greatness of Indiana University culminating President McRobbie’s 14-years of service is truly reflective of his exceptional leadership. Although I am one of the newest Chancellors appointed under President McRobbie, I know that his exceptional stewardship of Indiana University and his support of IU Northwest through the pandemic crisis encompass some of his finest hours. His unflagging support of IU Northwest is indicative of his unprecedented efforts in championing all of the regional campuses, recognizing the crucial role they play in fulfilling IU’s noble mission in all communities of the state. Because of President McRobbie’s vision and action, IU Northwest is well-positioned to realize its incredible potential ensuring his enduring legacy.”

Susan Sciame-Giesecke

Chancellor, Chancellor

“President McRobbie has been a champion for the regional campuses, noting their reach throughout the state of Indiana. He encouraged each campus to focus on being a steward of place so that all residents of Indiana would benefit from being geographically close to an IU campus. He advocated for an educational opportunity for all.”

Susan Elrod

Chancellor, Indiana University South Bend

“President McRobbie has been instrumental in elevating the visibility of Indiana University’s regional campuses across the state and in our regions. He has forever left his mark on the IU South Bend campus as evidenced by the renovation, building and acquisition of new facilities, the diversity in our student body, and our success in the Indiana University Bicenntenial Campaign. We are ever grateful for his leadership and wish him all the best in retirement.”

Robin Newhouse

Dean, Indiana University School of Nursing

“President McRobbie’s visionary leadership, spirit of innovation and commitment to partnerships across Indiana to promote health of Hoosiers through the Grand Challenge: Responding to the Addictions Crisis, is a national model and exemplar for present and future leaders of public universities.”

Thomas A. Morrison

Indiana University Vice President for Capital Planning and Facilities Thomas Morrison, President Michael A. McRobbie and First Lady Laurie Burns McRobbie take in a view of the exterior of Luddy Hall during a tour of the building's construction progress on Friday, Aug. 4, 2017.

Vice President for Capital Planning and Facilities, Indiana University

“During Michael McRobbie’s tenure as President, Indiana University’s campuses have preserved and grown their reputation as beautiful, functional, and sustainable places in which to teach, learn, research, and engage in our communities. President McRobbie’s vision for Indiana University in responding to needs in a mindful yet innovative manner has served our campuses well now and will continue to do so for years to come.”

Nasser Paydar

Nasser Paydar and President McRobbie

Chancellor, IUPUI

“One day, years from now, history books will tell the story of the McRobbie era at Indiana University. It will be story of a passion for progress with a vision for the future. These may be the best words to describe President McRobbie, whose passion and vision have paved the university's way for years to come.”

Ray Wallace

Chancellor, IU Southeast

“I have always been impressed by President McRobbie’s professionalism and continued vision for IU. A great supporter of the IU regional campuses, Dr. McRobbie has helped us grow both in stature and scope. A class act, McRobbie will go down in IU history as a very important figure in our evolution as a world-class university.”

Lauren Robel

Provost and Executive Vice President, Indiana University

“I think that in order to do what he has done; you have to have a vision for what a first-class research institution looks like. You have to have that from the beginning, and he did. And he has never gotten distracted in pursuing that.”

Myles Brand

Myles Brand and Michael A. McRobbie

President, Indiana University (1994-2002)

“The obvious importance to our students and the state of Indiana that IU continue its leadership in technology cannot be over-emphasized…I am extremely pleased to announce that Michael McRobbie ... has agreed to join the IU team," Brand said. "He will play a central role in our work to build America's new public university. Michael has already made an incredible impact on the university in terms of information technology…But he has much more to contribute in a very broad range of areas, including the humanities and the arts.”

Patrick O’Meara

IU President Michael McRobbie, former Vice President for International Affairs Patrick O'Meara, and former Ambassador to India and Congressman Timothy Roemer speak at the inaugural Patrick O'Meara International Lecture, Nov. 9, 2011 in the Whittenberger Auditorium

late Vice President Emeritus, Indiana University

“It's been a very exciting and great privilege to work with President McRobbie. The university has moved in significant ways internationally under his leadership.”

Adelheid M. Gealt

Adelheid M. Gealt, President McRobbie, Hartmut Dorgerloh, Samuel Wittwer

Professor Emerita, Art History, Director Emerita, Eskenazi Museum of Art

“Much of IU has been profoundly reshaped by Michael McRobbie during his presidency. His legacy will endure the test of time. As someone who shares Michael McRobbie’s strong belief in the arts as a core and essential aspect of the human experience and therefore a central, not secondary part of a university education, I am grateful for his efforts on behalf of the arts in general, and the Eskenazi Museum of Art in particular.”

Alvin H. Rosenfeld

President Michael McRobbie awards the President's Medal to Alvin Rosenfeld during his birthday celebration at Crowne Plaza Union Station in Indianapolis on Sunday April 28, 2019.

Professor of English and Jewish Studies; Irving M. Glazer Chair in Jewish Studies, Director, Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism

“McRobbie has carried out his manifold duties in a principled and dignified way and set a tone of cordiality that makes our campus the open and fair-minded institution it is. Nothing can be better than that, and I can only hope that his successors will strive to follow his example in this regard.”

Richard M. Shiffrin

Richard Shiffrin, Distinguished Professor and Luther Dana Waterman Professor, Psychological and Brain Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, receives the President's Medal from IU president Michael McRobbie.

Distinguished Professor, Psychological and Brain Sciences, Indiana University

“Michael has been acknowledged as the best public university president in recent years, and ranks with William Lowe Bryan and Herman B Wells as the best IU presidents. His leadership of IU has been astounding, taking an IU that had a broken physical and information infrastructure and producing an enormous number of upgrades, new facilities and buildings, and starting 10 new schools and programs. He greatly improved IU’s research and external research funding. He made IU respected worldwide.”

Brad Wheeler

James H. Rudy Professor of Information Systems, Department of Operations and Decision Technologies, Indiana University

“In 1998, Michael and his staff envisioned that IU could become the network operator for the new Research and Education Network, Internet2, that was being created by 34 leading research universities. It was a highly competitive process, but IU’s proposal won, and IU is now the singular, national powerhouse in operating advanced networks for research and education.”

Mary Sue Coleman

former president, Association of American Universities

“All at AAU celebrate the long and successful tenure of Michael McRobbie as president of Indiana University and as chair of our board. Due to an unexpected presidential transition, Michael has chaired the board for 18 months, rather than the usual 12 months, during a time of considerable challenge for higher education. On any given day, Michael could be called upon for urgent consultation and advice about issues that potentially could have a very negative impact on America's leading research universities, a duty to which he cheerfully acceded. AAU depends on such good citizenship by our presidents and chancellors, and Michael has been simply one of the best. Given that he is Australian as well as a U.S. citizen, his international perspective has also been invaluable. In short, Michael McRobbie is a consummate good steward of higher education in the U.S. and the world.”

Mitch Daniels

Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie and Purdue University President Mitch Daniels speak as they process into the arena the IUPUI Commencement on Sunday, May 10, 2015, at the Indianapolis Convention Center.

President, Purdue University

“I think the results speak for themselves. There is a truism that says great leaders show it during our more difficult times. Michael went through at least two very big ones, so yeah, the obvious comment is ‘flying colors.’ He’s been a very articulate advocate for IU-and such a credible one. He brought unique talents that are well matched for the era we are in. IU will miss him, and I will too.”

Neil Theobald

Senior Vice President, University of Wyoming, Former Indiana University Vice President and CFO

“Michael exemplifies Winston Churchill’s adage “The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.” His leadership over the last quarter century at IU reflects an active, inquisitive, learned mind gleaned from books we shared over these years—Clive James’ Cultural Amnesia, Lord Robert Skidelsky’s John Maynard Keynes, and Ulysses S. Grant’s Personal Memoirs (my inauguration gift to Michael was a first edition, in honor of both Grant and Michael being 18thPresidents). Thank you, Michael, for your friendship, kindness, and, indeed, your brilliance.”

Morton Schapiro

President, Northwestern University

“At AAU meetings Michael’s experience and thoughtfulness is appreciated by all. It has certainly reflected well on Indiana that its president is held in such high esteem.”

Lauren Robel

I think that in order to do what he has done, you have to have a vision for what a first-class research institution looks like. You have to have that from the beginning, and he did. 

Lauren Robel, Provost and Executive Vice President, Indiana University