IU celebrates Excellence Academy, athletics history and philanthropic gifts at dedication ceremony

The dedication ceremony for Indiana University’s Excellence Academy was an opportunity to celebrate a new facility that will support excellence in student-athletes and that represents the great tradition of IU Athletics and the giving spirit of the IU community.

In his remarks at the dedication ceremony of the $48 million, 66,575 square-foot facility that encloses the south end zone of Memorial Stadium, IU President McRobbie described how the new Excellence Academy would be a place where student-athletes would develop leadership and life skills, and receive academic support, career support, and sports performance assessment and support.

"The project we celebrate today not only greatly enhances Indiana Memorial Stadium and provides a splendid new front door for all of IU Athletics, it also reflects Indiana University's deeply-held commitment to fostering the intellectual, emotional, social, and physical development of the university's outstanding student-athletes," McRobbie said.

From the top: The entryway to the IU Excellence Academy is part of Miller Plaza, part of the "front door" to the Athletics Complex, IU football team members enjoy a meal at the Tobias Nutrition Center, the interior of the Dr. Lawrence Rink Center for Sports Medicine and Technology, which includes the Irsay Family Wellness Center, the Rehabilitation and Treatment Center and the Center for Elite Athlete Development.   Photos by Eric Rudd, Indiana University

He also recognized numerous recent achievements by IU’s student-athletes both in competition and in the classroom.

In the last year, IU’s teams have achieved a school-record of 90 All-American awards, four Big Ten Athlete of the Year awards, 42 individual conference championships, 37 First Team All-Big Ten honors, the WNIT Tournament Championship in Women's Basketball, a second consecutive Big Ten Championship for men's swimming and diving, and a record 19th trip to the NCAA's College Cup for the men's soccer team, and its 16th National Championship game appearance.

In addition, 256 IU student-athletes were named to the Academic All-Conference team—a record for IU in a single academic year – and IU had 65 students who earned GPAs of 3.7 or higher and were named Big Ten Distinguished Scholars for 2017-2018. 

"The accomplishments of Indiana University's teams provide a sense of excitement and pride for the extended university community, and those accomplishments continue to bind alumni and friends to IU," McRobbie said. "No matter where I go around the world, IU alumni and friends are eager to hear about the most recent accomplishments of our various teams."

As part of the dedication events, McRobbie presented three legendary Hoosier coaches, Hobie Billingsley, Lin Loring and Jerry Yeagley, with the President’s Medal for Excellence, the highest honor an IU president can bestow.

"They represent the very best of Indiana University—and during their successful coaching careers, they helped countless student-athletes learn to embody the Hoosier values of hard work, dignity, and respect for others," McRobbie said.

From the top: Brenna Wise, a member of the IU women's basketball team, speaks at the Excellence Academy dedication, IU President Michael A. McRobbie congratulates Hobie Billingsley, one of the world's most respected and revered coaches in the world of diving, and IU Vice President of and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Fred Glass talks with J-Shun Harris, a member of the IU football team who spoke at the event. Photos by James Brosher, Indiana University

In addition to recognizing IU’s student-athletes and some of its most revered coaches, McRobbie also thanked the university’s alumni and friends whose generosity made the new Excellence Academy possible.

Among them were IU alumna Gayle Cook and her late husband, Bill, whose gift established the  Lawrence D. Rink Center for Sports Medicine and Technology; alumni Patricia Miller, the co-founder of Vera Bradley and the Vera Bradley Foundation, and her husband Mike, whose gift made the Miller Plaza possible; Ambassador Randy Tobias, the former chair of the IU Board of Trustees, and his wife Deborah, whose gift established the Tobias Nutrition Center; Shelly Schwarz, whose gift established the Joe and Shelly Schwarz President's Suite in honor of her late husband, Joe; Aasif and Tasia Bade, whose gift established the Bade Family Career Counseling Center; Dena Rae Hancock and Rob Caito, whose gift established the Hancock Hiltunen Caito Center for Leadership and Life Skills; Edson Sample, whose gift established the Sample Terrace at the top level of the Excellence Academy; IU alumna Kalen Jackson and other members of the Irsay family, whose gift established the Irsay Family Wellness Center; Frank and Linda Hancock, whose gift made possible the Frank and Linda Hancock Activity Room; and IU Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Fred Glass and his wife, Barbara, for their gift that established the Glass Family Student-Athlete Leadership Suite in the Excellence Academy.

McRobbie and the many members of the IU community who participated in the dedication ceremony were able to show their appreciation in person as many of the IU alumni and friends whose generous gifts supported the IU Excellence Academy were in attendance.

"The IU Excellence Academy reflects Indiana University's deep and longstanding commitment to a comprehensive approach to the personal development of its student-athletes—an approach that equips student-athletes for success in competition, success in college, and for successful lives and careers," McRobbie said.

Read IU President McRobbie's speech from the dedication