Year In Review: IU begins Bicentennial celebrations

Indiana University kicked off its yearlong Bicentennial celebrations when IU President Michael A. McRobbie awarded Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb the inaugural Bicentennial Medal. Photo by James Brosher, Indiana University

Indiana University officially turns 200 in January, but IU started its yearlong Bicentennial celebrations when the 2020 fiscal year started in July. Campuses across the state have marked the anniversary with special events, honors and projects throughout the fall semester. 

IU President McRobbie awarded Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb with the inaugural Bicentennial Medal to kick off the university's 200th anniversary. The award honors organizations and people associated with IU who have served or supported the university with great distinction. IU's awarded 96 medals so far during its Bicentennial year.

From top: IU Bloomington hosted a Bicentennial Ceremony during the 200 Festival; IUPUI held its 11th annual Regatta on the downtown canal in Indianapolis; students enjoy the World's Largest Bounce House during the outdoor festival. Photos by Liz Kaye, Alex Kumar and James Brosher; Indiana University

In September, IU campuses took part in the 200 Festival, which included a weekend of events at IU Bloomington, faculty showcases at IU's regional campuses and the IUPUI Regatta. 

"It is time for Indiana University to bear the torch of telling our own story, boasting about our strengths, and measuring them against only the best standards we aim to achieve," President McRobbie said during the Bicentennial Ceremony. "The bicentennial celebration of Indiana University, then—while it is, strictly speaking, an extended reflection on what has come before—must become the launching pad for a new era of pride in the institution as it is now, and optimism about its bright future."

President McRobbie speaks to the IU Field Hockey team during a game against the Ohio State Buckeyes. Photo by Missy Minear, Indiana Athletics
President McRobbie and First Lady Laurie Burns McRobbie attend a men's soccer game between the Indiana Hoosiers and Michigan Wolverines.    Photo by Missy Minear, Indiana athletics
President McRobbie and First Lady Laurie Burns McRobbie greet defender Madeline Carlson of the Indiana Hoosiers during a women's soccer game against the Ohio State Buckeyes.    Photo by Missy Minear, Indiana Athletics

President McRobbie and First Lady Laurie Burns McRobbie also showed their support for IU Athletics by attending several games during the fall semester. As part of the Bicentennial, McRobbie plans to attend at least one home event of each of IU's 24 varsity sports. He kicked off the tour by attending IU Field Hockey's game against Ohio State in September.

The athletics tour will continue through the remainder of the 2019-2020 season.

The university unveiled a historical marker for the late Elinor Ostrom, the first woman to win the Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences. IU has also commissioned a statue of Ostrom. Photos by Chris Meyer, Indiana University

IU also dedicated several historical markers as part of a new program that highlights the impacts of significant people, places, events and organizations. The first of the markers honors the late Elinor Ostrom, an IU professor who was the first and only woman to win the Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences.

"In the years to come, the countless students, faculty and visitors who pause here to read the words about Elinor Ostrom —cast not in aluminum, but in bronze—will be inspired to understand the meaning of those words and the incredible impact of her life's work on Indiana University and, indeed, the world," McRobbie said during the dedication Oct. 7.

IU also placed historical markers recognizing the Seiberling Mansion at IU Kokomo, Tamarack Hall at IU Northwest and Lyda Radford at IU Southeast. 

The university is still accepting nominations for other historical markers.

IU is relocating the Metz Bicentennial Grand Carillon to the Cox Arboretum as part of a Bicentennial project. Photo by James Brosher, Indiana University
Four more bells are being added to the tower, making it one of only about 30 grand carillons in the world. Photo by James Brosher, Indiana University
The four new bells feature quotes about music from influential women writers. Photo by James Brosher, Indiana University

Crews also worked to move the Arthur R. Metz Carillon to the center of IU's campus as part of a Bicentennial project. The carillon rises above the Cox Arboretum and will become a grand carillon with the addition of four new bells. The 61 original bells featured quotes about music from male authors.

"So, with the addition of the four new bells, we will take a step to rectify this, at least in small measure, by engraving quotes about music from four influential women writers from different periods of history," McRobbie said during the groundbreaking ceremony in April.

Celebrations will continue with IU's official 200th anniversary on Jan. 20, 2020, which is also Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

To commemorate the day, award-winning actress Viola Davis will speak on campus. The university will also unveil new history mural panels in Wright Quad, newly-commissioned "Lux et Veritas" paintings in Presidents Hall, and the ceremonial first ringing of the bells in the renovated Arthur R. Metz Bicentennial Grand Carillon. 

IU will celebrate the end of its Bicentennial year with outdoor entertainment June 6 on the Arts Plaza.