Celebration of the School of Art + Design and Rededication of Kirkwood Hall

Alumni Hall
Indiana Memorial Union
IU Bloomington
Bloomington, Indiana

Friday, April 07, 2017

“Serving the Highest Aims of Knowledge and Useful Education”

In January of 1895, 3,000 students, faculty, community members, and visiting dignitaries gathered for the dedication of what was then the campus’s fourth building, Kirkwood Hall.

Then-Governor of Indiana, Claude Matthews, praised Indiana University for sending graduates into the world “fully equipped for useful life”—graduates who, in his words, “reflect honor upon their calling, whether in the busy paths of trade, the quiet field of letters, or on the rougher seas of public life.”

“This day,” Governor Matthews continued, “we will dedicate Kirkwood Hall to the highest aims of knowledge and useful education, with the loving hope of a still grander future.”1

Today, as we dedicate an impressively renovated Kirkwood Hall, we celebrate again the realization of the grand future the governor envisioned. We honor the building’s 122 years of contributions to the highest aims of knowledge and useful education—and we extend the “hope of a still grander future” for Kirkwood Hall as the home of Indiana University’s new School of Art and Design.

A Brief History of Kirkwood Hall

A little more than a decade before Kirkwood Hall was built, IU’s campus had moved from its original location at what is now Seminary Square to Dunn’s Woods. In the intervening years, IU’s enrollment doubled, and Kirkwood Hall was built to relieve a growing shortage of classroom space.

The building was named, of course, in honor of Daniel Kirkwood, who was a renowned astronomer and a professor of mathematics here at IU for 30 years. Known around the world as “the Kepler of America,” Professor Kirkwood discovered the “Kirkwood Gaps”—regions in the main asteroid belt that have been largely cleared of asteroids. Kirkwood Observatory, Kirkwood Avenue, and a crater on the far side of the moon are also named in his honor. 

Kirkwood Hall was originally home to the Law School, the Department of Pedagogy, and the departments of Greek, Latin, French, German, Physics, and Philosophy.2

The oldest continually operating experimental psychology lab in the United States, founded by then-Professor William Lowe Bryan, who would go on to become IU’s 10th president, was located for a number of years in the basement of Kirkwood Hall.

And Kirkwood Hall has been the home to some of the most renowned scientific achievements by IU faculty. In fact, it is genuinely no exaggeration to say that these are among the most renowned scientific achievements in the world.

In the late 1940s, three brilliant young scientists—all of whom would go on separately to win the Nobel Prize in Medicine—shared a lab in Kirkwood Hall’s attic. Salvador Luria, then a member of the IU faculty, shared a lab with James Watson, who was then a graduate student at IU, and with Renato Dulbecco, who was then a post-doctoral researcher. Watson, of course, won the Nobel Prize in 1962, followed by Luria in 1969, and Dulbecco in 1975.

Over the years, Kirkwood Hall saw various departments and administrative offices come and go. It was, for many years, home to the administrative offices of the College of Art and Sciences. In 2013, the College moved to Owen Hall, which, as most of you know, was also renovated as part of our larger, ongoing effort to renovate all of the iconic buildings of the Old Crescent.

School of Art and Design

It is fitting that Kirkwood Hall, a building that exemplifies the great history and tradition of Indiana University, has been splendidly renovated to become home to IU’s most recently established school, the School of Art and Design.

Central to the school’s mission is the premise that, just as the media industry has been dramatically transformed by information technology, so too is design being transformed, with the digital convergence of every form of design from architecture to fashion through extraordinary innovations like 3D printing. The School of Art and Design was formed, then, to provide a state-of-the-art education in these fields to students who will be seeking careers in this radically new world.

Kirkwood Hall is now home to the school’s administrative offices as well as its programs in apparel merchandising, interior design, and fashion design—as well as a new program in Comprehensive Design, a program that will also include instruction at IU’s Center for Art and Design, in Columbus, Indiana.

Given the remarkable opportunities and resources provided by the city of Columbus—a city whose architecture has been nationally and internationally acclaimed, and which has been ranked the sixth most architecturally significant city in the United States by the American Institute of Architects—IU’s School of Art and Design has created a new Master of Architecture degree program approved just a few weeks ago, with classes to be taught in Bloomington and Columbus beginning in the fall of 2018.

The addition of the new Architecture degree program, together with IU’s new program in intelligent systems engineering, will contribute enormously to IU’s efforts to create and sustain a culture of “building and making” here on the Bloomington campus. Such a culture is an essential part of maximizing the university’s potential for developing its inventions and innovations for the economic benefit of all Hoosiers. At the same time, architecture will be a superb complement to IU's outstanding strengths in the arts and humanities.

Special Thanks

Of course, all projects like the one we celebrate today require a great team that collaborates on the many details that ultimately come together.

I want to begin by expressing my thanks, on behalf of Indiana University, to the members of the Indiana General Assembly for their appropriations of funds for renovation of all the buildings of the Old Crescent that have so far been renovated. These historic buildings required substantial renovation, and the State Legislature’s support, over three biennia, helps protect the investment the people of Indiana have already made over more than a century.

I also want to commend Provost Lauren Robel; Larry Singell, Executive Dean of the College; the various associate deans of the College; and all of the College faculty and staff for their many contributions to the planning and implementation of both the building renovation and the establishment of the School of Art and Design.

I also want to commend the faculty of the School of Art and Design for their extremely enthusiastic support for the school’s formation—and I also commend the school’s founding dean, Peg Faimon, for her leadership that helped make the renovation and the move into Kirkwood Hall such a success.

I also commend Vice President for Capital Planning and Facilities Tom Morrison, as well as the many design and construction professionals, both internal and external, who contributed to the splendid renovation of Kirkwood Hall.

And, finally, I would like to thank our Trustees for their steadfast and enthusiastic support for not only the renovation of Kirkwood Hall, but also the renovation of all of the buildings of the Old Crescent, all renovation and new construction on all of IU’s campuses—as well as their support for the extensive academic restructuring of the university that has resulted in the establishment of eight new schools, including, most recently, the School of Art and Design, which we celebrate today.


In his 1895 address at the original building dedication, Indiana Governor Claude Matthews also said of Kirkwood Hall: “May there be thousands, who for a while may stop within these walls, (and who) go out to proclaim the glory of their state and the bounty of their Alma Mater.”3

In the ensuing 122 years, many thousands of students and faculty have indeed stopped for a while within the walls of Kirkwood Hall. They not only proclaimed the glory of the state and the bounty of their Alma Mater, but they contributed to both in major ways. Among them have been multiple Nobel Prize winners, iconic figures in the history of Indiana University, and outstanding faculty members who helped build—in a wide variety of fields—programs that are today considered among the nation’s best.

The School of Art and Design—and its wonderfully renovated new building that we dedicate today—will extend well into the future these rich traditions of contributing to the glory of the state of Indiana and to the bounty of its flagship university.

Source Notes

  1. Remarks of Governor Claude Matthews, delivered on January 25, 1895 at the dedication of Kirkwood Hall, IU Archives. 
  2. Thomas D. Clark, Indiana University: Midwestern Pioneer, Volume 1, (Indiana University Press, 1970), 289.
  3. Remarks of Governor Claude Matthews, delivered on January 25, 1895 at the dedication of Kirkwood Hall, IU Archives.