Re-Dedication of Ernie Pyle Hall

Ernie Pyle Hall

Friday, October 19, 2018

IU President McRobbie speaks at the re-dedication ceremony for Ernie Pyle Hall. Photo by James Brosher, Indiana University

"A new purpose and a new objective"

Sixty-four years ago this month, members of the IU community gathered in the nearby IU Auditorium to celebrate the naming and dedication of Ernie Pyle Hall. Then-IU President Herman B Wells noted that the building was not new—it had rendered 15 years of useful service to the campus before as the Stores and Service Building.

"But now remodeled," Wells said, "we, through these ceremonies, breathe into it a new purpose and a new objective… We dedicate today a building which, in years to come, will have as great an influence on the life and character of our people as any educational structure in the state."1

Today, we once again breathe a new purpose and a new objective into Ernie Pyle Hall as we re-dedicate the building as the new home of the IU Admissions Welcome Center and the College of Arts and Sciences' Walter Center for Career Achievement—two centers that will have an enormous influence on the life and character of this campus, its students, and its alumni for many years to come.

Ernie Pyle Hall

From the time of its dedication and naming in 1954, Ernie Pyle Hall was home to IU's Department of Journalism and to the offices of the Indiana Daily Student and the Arbutus yearbook. IU's journalism program evolved over the years from a department within the College of Arts and Sciences to a school within the College to an independent school. Now part of IU's new Media School within the College, it is providing the most modern and contemporary education to students while also continuing to uphold its longstanding tradition of excellence.

Today, Ernie Pyle Hall brings prospective students and their parents right into the heart of the bustling Bloomington campus as they visit the new IU Admissions Welcome Center.

The building's renovation is part of the larger Old Crescent Renovation, during which many of the buildings of the historic core of the Bloomington campus have been thoroughly renovated to extend their useful lives and to better support the university’s core missions of education and research.

And as you can see, the building is equipped with state-of-the-art technology that now allows the Admissions Welcome Center to help visitors and prospective students learn about IU and its programs in depth and in an engaging way.

The building also allows students in IU’s College of Arts and Sciences, whose departments and programs are spread out across the entire campus, much easier access to the services of the Walter Center for Career Achievement. The Walter Center is, as you will hear today, helping students in the College turn their talents into meaningful careers.

Ernie Pyle at IU and beyond

This splendidly renovated building, of course, continues to honor the memory of Ernie Pyle, one of Indiana University’s most illustrious alumni, whose coverage of the Second World War earned him worldwide acclaim and a Pulitzer Prize.

Born in the small town of Dana, Indiana, he came to IU in 1919 to study journalism. While here, he served as editor of the Indiana Daily Student. He left IU just short of graduation to write for papers in Indiana and Washington, D.C., and to work as a roving news service reporter. He would return to Bloomington in 1944 to receive an honorary Indiana University doctorate.

He began reporting on the Second World War in 1940. He quickly distinguished himself as a gifted war correspondent, and gained wide popularity. His columns appeared in around 400 daily and 300 weekly newspapers.

After covering the European theater, he dutifully accepted an assignment in the Pacific. He was killed in 1945 by machine gun fire on a small island near Okinawa.

Ernie Pyle's memory is, of course, prominently honored on the campus in Ernie Pyle at Work, a bronze sculpture created by artist Tuck Langland, which is located outside of Franklin Hall.

His memory also lives on through the Media School’s Ernie Pyle Scholars Honors Program, and through a plaque donated by Sigma Delta Chi, now known as the Society of Professional Journalists, which is just outside the entrance to this building.

Then-President Dwight Eisenhower recorded a message that was played when the plaque was dedicated. “Both in war and in peace,” Eisenhower said, “Ernie Pyle conceived it his duty to write the truth with the vigor of simplicity. His name is a symbol of integrity in his profession, and—for all citizens—a living testimony to patriotism."2

Special thanks

Every project like this requires an outstanding team that collaborates on the many details that ultimately come together to make a renovation like this as functional and attractive as it is.

I particularly want to congratulate and commend Larry Singell, Executive Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, whose vision for transforming career services in the College has been a driving force behind the renovation we celebrate today.

I also want to commend the staff of the College and the Walter Center for Career Achievement, as well as Vice Provost for Enrollment Management David Johnson, and the staff of IU Admissions, all of whom contributed so much to the planning of the building’s spaces and new programs.

I also want to thank the many design and construction professionals, both internal and external, who played such major roles in this project.

"No place in the world like Indiana"

In the fall of 1922, Ernie Pyle wrote in a column for the Indiana Daily Student: "Nearly everyone who has ever attended Indiana University will tell you there is no place in the world like Indiana."

"They are thinking," he continued, "of… spring days when the campus is bursting with fragrance… They are thinking of autumn evenings when dusk has settled and the last cheers have died out and another football game has become a memory… They are thinking about hundreds of wholesome, pleasant people who were their friends. They are thinking something about Indiana which none of them could ever express in words."

"Other schools," his column concluded, "can contain nothing after such moments. Other schools seem to lack the facilities to produce those thrills which certainly can come within but four years of a lifetime."3

The prospective students who come to Ernie Pyle Hall to learn more about Indiana University, and the students of the College of Arts and Sciences who come for career guidance and support, will find these words of Ernie Pyle’s to be as true today as ever.

Today, the IU community is proud to celebrate as these two centers, and the many thousands of students they will serve, “breathe new purpose” into this iconic building.

Source Notes

1. Herman B Wells, Remarks at Dedication Convocation of Ernie Pyle Hall, October 10, 1954, IU Archives.

2. Dwight D. Eisenhower: "Message Recorded for the Dedication at Indiana University of a Tablet Honoring Ernie Pyle.," October 5, 1953. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project.

3. Ernie Pyle, "It's in the Air," Indiana Daily Student, September 5, 1922, as reprinted in Owen Johnson, Ernie Pyle at Home, (Indiana University Press, 2016), 26-27.