IU President McRobbie marks centennial of the end of World War I

From the top: IU Jacobs School Performance of Benjamin Britten's "War Requiem" was conducted by Betsy Burleigh, IU President Michael A. McRobbie and First Lady Laurie Burns McRobbie watch the performance, the requiem was held at the Musical Arts Center. Photos by Chaz Mottinger, Indiana University

Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie joined the IU community at the first in a series of events to mark the 100-year anniversary of the end of World War I this week.

The event series "World War I: The End and the Aftermath" will take place throughout the 2018-19 academic year and features prominent researchers, experts and artists from multiple schools throughout the Bloomington campus as well as renowned scholars from Europe.

McRobbie described his personal connection to Benjamin Britten’s "War Requiem" when he introduced the IU Jacobs School of Music performance on Veteran’s Day.

"I first heard the "War Requiem" in 1982, when I took my grandmother to a performance held to commemorate Anzac Day, Australia's day of remembrance for the first landings at Gallipoli in 1915,” he said. For her, the First World War was still very much alive."

McRobbie's grandmother had had lost childhood friends in the war, one of the deadliest conflicts in human history. Both of McRobbie's grandfathers fought in WWI.

"I had never heard a more moving and profound musical statement about the horrors and dreadfulness of war," he said of "War Requiem."

From the top: Andrea Ciccarelli, provost professor of Italian studies and dean of the Hutton Honors College, speaks at "A Literary Legacy of the Great War: Poetry Readings," IU President McRobbie reads Mary Borden’s "The Song of Mud," and the IU community gathered in President's Hall for the event. Photos by Chaz Mottinger, Indiana University

McRobbie also read poetry alongside IU faculty to celebrate the literary legacy of WWI.

The reading reflected the vast international reach of the war including works by poets from Australia, India, France, Germany, Croatia, Italy, Hungary, Lebanon, Russia, Israel, Austria, Romania, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. Many of the poems were read in the language in which they were originally written.

McRobbie read three poems, Mary Borden's "The Song of Mud," Leon Maxwell Gellert's "The Last to Leave" and Wilfred Owen's "Dulce et decorum est."