Celebrating Richard Lugar, Indiana’s Visionary Statesman

Lilly Library, Lincoln Room

Friday, March 22, 2019

Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie shares remarks at the exhibit opening for Sen. Richard Lugar's papers at the Lilly Library.  Photo by Chaz Mottinger, Indiana University

Welcome and introduction

Good afternoon and thank you for joining us as we celebrate the opening of a splendid new exhibit here at Indiana University’s Lilly Library: "Indiana’s Visionary Statesman: The Richard G. Lugar Senate Papers."

I want to begin by introducing my wife, Laurie Burns McRobbie, the First Lady of Indiana University.

I am also very pleased to welcome two members of the Indiana University Board of Trustees who are with us today. With us are Trustee Jim Morris, and his wife, Jackie, of Indianapolis, and Trustee Donna Spears, of Richmond, Indiana.

Please join me in welcoming our Trustees.

I also want to welcome Senator Lugar's wife of 62 years, Charlene Lugar. In addition, a number of other members of Senator Lugar’s family are here today. Please join me in welcoming them.

I am also delighted to welcome Senator Lugar’s longtime Congressional colleague, Lee Hamilton, who, like the Senator, serves as Distinguished Scholar and Professor of Practice in the school that now bears both of their names—the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies. Would you join me in welcoming him?

I also want to welcome the many friends, colleagues, current staff members of The Lugar Center, and former members of Senator Lugar’s staff who are with us today. There are so many, that if I begin recognizing individuals, I am almost certain to miss someone, but I do want to welcome:

Dan Evans, the former President and CEO of IU Health, who is here with his wife, Marilyn. While Dan was a student at IU in the early 1970s, he served as a summer intern for then-Mayor of Indianapolis Richard Lugar.

And I also want to welcome Mark Lubbers, a former staffer and campaign manager of Senator Lugar's, who is here with his wife, Teresa Lubbers, Indiana's Commissioner for Higher Education.

Would you join me in welcoming them?

Celebrating Richard Lugar's legacy

In January of 2013, in this very room, I had the great pleasure of announcing that Senator Lugar and his colleague, Representative Lee Hamilton, would serve as Distinguished Scholars and Professors of Practice in IU’s then-recently established School of Global and International Studies.

On that same occasion, I was also very pleased to announce that Senator Lugar had selected IU’s Modern Political Papers Collection, which is housed in the Herman B Wells Library, as the official and permanent repository for his Senatorial papers. His papers joined those of many other illustrious Indiana members of Congress, including Representative Hamilton. An exhibition of Congressman Hamilton’s papers opened here at the Lilly Library on January 20, 2006. In addition, the collection includes the papers of Vice President Mike Pence, the late Representative Frank McCloskey, and the late Senator Birch Bayh, whose passing last week the entire IU community continues to mourn. The Lilly Library hosted an exhibition of Senator Bayh’s papers in 2007.

The Modern Political Papers Collection is, without question, one of the finest modern congressional collections of papers anywhere in the country. The materials in the collection are an invaluable resource for research by faculty and students, providing them with enormous insight into the major political and global issues of our times.

Today, we are delighted to celebrate Senator Lugar’s legacy with the opening of this marvelous exhibit of some of the most noteworthy documents and memorabilia from his career in the Senate, his two terms as mayor of the City of Indianapolis, and his years in the U.S. Navy and his time as a Rhodes Scholar.

As the items on exhibit clearly demonstrate, Richard Lugar's life and career are an inspiration for people around the world who devote themselves to public service.

I am very pleased to note that IU Press has just published a wonderful new book, which serves as a companion to this exhibition. Richard G. Lugar: Indiana’s Visionary Statesman is written by the senator’s former staffer, Dan Diller, and by Sara Stefani, the project archivist for the Richard G. Lugar Senatorial Papers and the curator of this exhibit. The book is a splendid overview of the senator’s career, and it highlights his many accomplishments in areas ranging from agriculture, education, domestic and foreign policy, arms control, global food security, and many other areas.

Last fall, I was very pleased to announce the naming of the School of Global and International Studies in honor of Representative Hamilton and Senator Lugar.  As I mentioned, both of them have served as faculty members of the school since 2013. They have served on the School’s Dean’s Advisory Council since its inception. And, together, they also convene an annual conference on “America’s Role in the World,” a conference that has been increasingly attracting some of the world's leading foreign policy voices to campus to address pressing global issues facing Indiana, the United States, and the world. This year’s conference, the fourth, concluded this afternoon.

Naming the school in their honor is a fitting and appropriate tribute that reflects not only the impact of their service to the school and its students, but also the impact of their service to the state of Indiana and the nation.

This wonderful exhibition will give all who view it a sense of the enormous scope of Senator Lugar’s accomplishments, as well as his sense of decency, integrity, his global sensibility, the discipline of study that made him the Senate’s leading expert on nuclear weapons issues, his commitment to bipartisanship, and his faith in the good will of others—all qualities and attitudes Indiana University hopes to impart to all of its students.


This splendid exhibition of Senator Lugar’s Senatorial papers runs through July 26th, so I hope many of you will make a return visit to the Lilly Library and that you will tell your friends and colleagues to come and view these documents and artifacts from the career of one of Indiana’s greatest statesmen.

I invite you to stay to continue to enjoy the reception and the exhibit.

Have a wonderful evening.