IU President McRobbie highlights university's longstanding philanthropic support from Eskenazis

President McRobbie speaks during the rededication of the Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art Oct. 25. Photo by Chaz Mottinger, Indiana University
A large crowd attends the rededication of the Eskenazi Museum of Art. A new contemporary art installation, "A Gust of Wind" can be seen in the background. Photo by Chaz Mottinger, Indiana University
McRobbie said the Eskenazis' support of the university started decades ago with a scholarship fund. Photo by Chaz Mottinger, Indiana University
McRobbie presented the Eskenazis with a symbolic key during the rededication. Photo by Chaz Mottinger, Indiana University

Indiana University Bloomington celebrated the transformative generosity of Sidney and Lois Eskenazi during the rededication of the Eskenazi Museum of Art and renaming of the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design Oct. 25. 

The Eskenazis donated $15 million to the art museum in 2016, the largest cash gift in its history. The money was matched as part of "For All: The Indiana University Bicentennial Campaign," allowing for a $30 million renovation of the I.M. Pei-designed building.

The museum will reopen Nov. 7 and feature additional gallery space, an art-making studio and more educational opportunities.

From top: The university unveiled the new sign for the Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art after the announcement of their gift in 2016; the Eskenazis' gift allowed for a major renovation of the museum, which will reopen Nov. 7. Photos by Eric Rudd and James Brosher, Indiana University

IU President Michael A. McRobbie called the Eskenazis some of Indiana's greatest philanthropists during the museum's rededication ceremony. 

"Their support for IU dates back to 1970, when Sid established a scholarship fund," McRobbie said. "Since then, hundreds of students have benefited vitally from scholarship aid funded by the Eskenazis. Sid and Lois have also generously supported the arts and art students through their support of IU’s Herron School of Art and Design on the Indianapolis campus. The home of the Herron School, Eskenazi Hall, is, of course, named in their honor."

IU Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design students unfurled a banner thanking Sidney and Lois Eskenazi when their $20 million donation was announced during IU day in April.  Photo by James Brosher, Indiana University

The Eskenazis also gave the largest gift in the IU School of Art, Architecture + Design's history when they donated $20 million on IU Day. In addition to supporting academic programs and research initiatives, the gift will allow the school to construct a new building based on a design by legendary architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. 

"The building will serve as an enduring symbol of the legacy of generosity of Sid and Lois Eskenazi, and an enduring symbol of the very founding of architectural modernism," McRobbie said during an Oct. 25 renaming ceremony. "There is perhaps no better way to highlight our new J. Irwin Miller Architecture Program in the Eskenazi School than by constructing a building for it based on designs by this legendary architect."

The new building will be on the northwest corner of Seventh Street and Jordan Avenue and is expected to be completed in June 2021.