Note: This column was submitted by Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie, and it appeared in The Indiana Daily Student on Jan. 15, 2020.
In just a few days, those of us at Indiana University — and our many friends around the state, nation and world — will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the university’s founding on Jan. 20, 1820.
Extensive commemorations and celebrations of this unique milestone in the life of Indiana’s namesake flagship university have been underway for some time. We have hoisted Bicentennial banners in Bloomington and on our campuses around the state and awarded Bicentennial Medals to dedicated friends and supporters of the university around the world. We are sending the "Big Red Bus," IU's Bicentennial traveling exhibit, to every one of Indiana's 92 counties. And there will be many more exciting and memorable events to come in the days and months ahead.
IU’s Bicentennial Year, which began July 1, 2019, and will continue through June, has provided us with a truly unique opportunity to reflect upon all IU has achieved in its previous 200 years, the many people who have made the university’s successes possible and the traditions of academic excellence that continue to be a hallmark of our great institution.
At the same time, the Bicentennial has inspired us to consider what Indiana’s flagship public university will look like in its third century.
At IU, we have a strong vision for what we want to be, as well as an acute awareness of the challenges that are coming in our third century — challenges that we believe we are well-positioned to confront.
To this end, in recent years we have redoubled our commitment to providing an affordable education of the highest quality and producing more and better graduates in areas of importance to our state and nation. Likewise, we are as determined as ever to fuel an engine of prosperity for Indiana and the nation; lead the state’s international engagement; spark discoveries that will solve the state’s most pressing problems; and illuminate the boundless possibilities of human imagination and creativity.
We are also deeply committed to ensuring that IU continues to stand for truth and is a community whose members — including its outstanding, service-minded students — embrace civil discourse, tolerance, inclusive diversity and a culture of caring and human dignity among its cardinal virtues.
As these and other campus-wide efforts indicate, the IU Bicentennial is not just a celebration of our accomplishments and an extended reflection on what has come before; it is the launching pad for a new era of pride in our great institution as it is now and optimism about what promises to be an extremely bright future.