As we head into the final weeks of the fall semester after our students, faculty and staff have enjoyed a well-deserved break, all of us at IU have much to be thankful for and celebrate. Collectively, we have made extraordinary progress in our continued pursuit of excellence in our core missions of teaching, research and engagement in the communities that we proudly serve.
Indeed, the IU community is as engaged and galvanized as never before in strengthening our rich traditions in academics, the arts and athletics; dramatically transforming our campus landscapes to meet the ever-evolving needs of our students and state; keeping an IU education affordable and accessible to all deserving students; deploying our vast expertise and resources to address the most critical challenges facing our society; and building for our future as we prepare for IU’s bicentennial celebration, which will take place during the 2019-2020 academic year.
Deploying IU resources to address a deadly public crisis
In October, IU proudly announced the third recipient of our Grand Challenges initiative, "Responding to the Addictions Crisis," which will address the pervasive and grave substance abuse crisis that is affecting our state and communities around the U.S. This initiative, which will have a budget of $50 million over five years, will be the nation’s largest and most comprehensive state-based response to the opioid addiction crisis and the largest anywhere led by a university.
As Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb and I wrote late last month in an editorial published by Fox News, our home state has been particularly hard hit by the addictions crisis (we are one of four states where the fatal drug overdose rate has quadrupled since 1999), and the time is now for the state’s major institutions to formulate a united response to an epidemic that is affecting our friends, colleagues and neighbors of all backgrounds and without discrimination.
To this end, IU’s efforts to respond to the addiction crisis are aligned with state and federal government efforts, and they include collaboration with the Indiana congressional delegation, local communities, industry, NGOs, patient groups and many others. We greatly appreciate the opportunity to partner with Governor Holcomb, the state, IU Health, Eskenazi Health and others on this important initiative.
Transforming campus living and learning
This has truly been an extraordinary time at IU in transforming the living and learning environments of our campuses. This fall we have dedicated or broke ground on several superb new academic, athletic and student housing facilities, each of which is designed to nurture the success of our students, enhance the educational and work experience for students and staff, and strengthen the sense of community across the university.
In September, we celebrated the return of the splendidly renovated Goodbody and Memorial Halls, which are part of the historic Wells Quadrangle at IU Bloomington, to their original function as residence halls, a purpose they had not served for many decades. The newly renovated Wells Quad will provide our students with enhanced opportunities for rich personal growth, social interaction and vital leadership experience. The conversion of this area back to student dormitories will also enable our students to interact more closely with faculty and peers in a matchless campus environment, participate in diverse cultural activities and meet other students from around the country and around the world.
October saw the completion of Riverside Hall on the IU South Bend campus, which will serve as the new home for the expanded IU South Bend Health and Wellness Center. Located on the north bank of the St. Joseph River, this refurbished and modernized 11,000-square-foot building, which includes classrooms, clinical spaces and laboratories, will serve as the hub of the campus’ enhanced health sciences programs and classes, while also providing low-cost, high-quality care for students, faculty, staff and community residents.
Two newly named centers at IU Bloomington will offer IU students with excellent internationally-focused educational opportunities. The Milt and Judi Stewart Center on the Global Legal Profession, which we commemorated last month, will provide students with opportunities for hands-on learning about the law in other countries. One of the leading research centers of its kind and based at our acclaimed IU Maurer School of Law, it has made possible more than 125 summer externships in 10 countries since 2010.
Also this month, we held an official groundbreaking for Wilkinson Hall, a first-rate, 3,000-seat, multi-use facility that will serve as the home for IU Athletics’ popular programs in volleyball and wrestling. The hall, which is named after IU alumnus Jay Wilkinson and his family in recognition of their $10 million gift to "For All: The Indiana University Bicentennial Campaign," will give student-athletes in two sports with very rich histories the resources they need to compete at the very highest level. It will also provide them with closer proximity to student housing, and it will give the wrestling team vastly improved access to their current practice space in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.
And there is much more growth on the horizon as we look forward to the early months of 2018. Next semester we are scheduled to break ground on IU’s and IU Health Bloomington’s new Regional Academic Health Center, a 735,000-square-foot complex will house IU Health Bloomington's inpatient and outpatient services as well as a 115,000-square-foot academic facility that will be used for health sciences education and research at IU; dedicate a new 45,000-square-foot addition to the IU School of Dentistry on the IUPUI campus, which will ultimately house approximately 125 state-of-the-art clinics to train the next generation of dentists; open the new Jaguar Fitness Center in the Campus Center at IUPUI; and dedicate the Conrad Prebys Career Services Center at the IU Kelley School of Business, which will provide important career services support to students at Kelley as well as other undergraduates across the IU Bloomington campus.
For All: Setting bold goals for IU's future
The aforementioned Prebys Career Services Center is being made possible through a $20 million gift that the late Conrad Prebys gave to the Kelley School in 2015, one of a large number of remarkably generous financial commitments IU has received since beginning its university-wide philanthropic campaign.
The response to our historic For All Campaign, IU’s first university-wide campaign and one of the most ambitious philanthropic efforts ever by a public university anywhere in the country, has been overwhelming. Over the last 70 months, members of the IU community across our state, nation and around the world have embraced this vital moment in our history to contribute as never before. More than 270,000 alumni, friends and organizations have generously and selflessly supported the campaign, and more will do so by the time it is finished.
Last month we were extremely pleased to announce that the For All Campaign had already achieved more than 80 percent of its goal and surpassed the $2 billion milestone. After four consecutive years of record philanthropic giving, we have been able to add 3,500 new scholarships and 147 endowed chairs and professorships across the seven campuses we administer. These achievements represent a record 27 percent and 37 percent increase in scholarships and endowed faculty chairs and professorships, respectively, in the past five years.
Simply put, this means that we will be able to recruit and retain some of the best faculty in the world. It also means that students from low income and minority backgrounds who could not otherwise have afforded to pursue a degree now have the opportunity to come to IU.
The For All Campaign’s incredible success has also given us a unique and unrepeatable opportunity to have an impact on the future of IU that will resound through the whole of the next century of its existence. Hence, we have increased the goal of the campaign to $3 billion, the largest campaign goal ever in IU’s history, and we will extend the campaign an additional six months, through June 2020, corresponding with IU's planned yearlong bicentennial celebration.
Extending the campaign will allow us to pursue several additional goals, including:
Attracting even more gifts for scholarships to expand even further our extremely successful efforts to keep an IU education affordable and accessible for all Hoosiers. We will do this through a new scholarship endowment fund to be known as “The Indiana University Advantage,” which will provide scholarships that will cover the direct costs of attendance at IU for qualified students from low income Indiana families.
Attracting additional endowed chairs and professorships to further strengthen IU’s research excellence.
Attracting support for IU’s enormous and extensive initiatives in the health sciences, such as our new Grand Challenge program on fighting the scourge of opioid addiction in the state and the new Regional Academic Health Center in Bloomington.
Moving forward for our future
As I have said on several occasions, IU’s Bicentennial will be a time that will never happen again, and the major events and activities of these last six weeks – as busy a time as I can remember in my more than 10 years as IU president – are a testament to how members of the IU family are taking full advantage every day of this unique opportunity and generating exactly the kind of momentum we will need to remain and grow further as one of the premier public research universities of the world.
Without question, ours are bold priorities as we seek to keep IU on the course of greatness in its third century and redouble our efforts to ensure pervasive excellence in all that we do. Of course, central to the success of these efforts will be the support of the hundreds of thousands of IU alumni and friends around the globe who continue to support our missions to improve the world for future generations. For the contributions you make every day to IU, we remain deeply grateful.