Thank you, Rachel (Applegate), for that introduction. I am once again very pleased to present to my fellow faculty members and colleagues, and the broader university community, what is my tenth annual State of the University address.
Thank you, Rachel (Applegate), for that introduction. I am once again very pleased to present to my fellow faculty members and colleagues, and the broader university community, what is my tenth annual State of the University address.
I am very pleased to welcome the chair of the Indiana University Board of Trustees, James T. Morris, of Indianapolis. Please join me in welcoming him.
Before I begin my remarks, I note with much sadness that today, Indiana University mourns the passing of former IU East Chancellor David Fulton. David, who served as chancellor from 1995 to 2007, was a highly respected educator and a beloved figure on the campus and in the Richmond community. It was my privilege at this spring’s IU East Commencement to award him the President’s Medal for Excellence—an honor he richly deserved. All of us at IU offer our condolences to David’s family; we remember him with great fondness and admiration.
In 2020, Indiana University will celebrate its 200th anniversary. Indiana University was founded on January 20, 1820 in the depths of a cold winter at the frontiers of European settlement in America—on the promise to the people of the newly established State of Indiana that the civic, cultural, social, and economic life of the state and its citizens would be expanded and enriched by an exceptional public institution of higher education. It was founded just four years after the founding of the State of Indiana, which, in fact, is celebrating its bicentennial this year.
Little more than a 100 years later in the bleak years following WW1, IU’s tenth President William Lowe Bryan, reflected on all that had been accomplished over that century and described a vision for the next 100 years. He predicted that “A hundred years from now there will be here an Indiana [University] which approaches far more nearly than we can do the complete university; but if so, the men [and women] of that day will look back with respect upon [those] who stood on this ground a hundred years ago...”1
Bryan labored mightily towards this vision. He was, indeed, the greatest academic builder in IU’s history. During his time in office we saw the establishment successively of schools in medicine, graduate studies, education, social work, nursing, business, music and dentistry.
And nearly 100 years later, all of us at IU can be justly proud that Bryan’s vision of a complete university has been even more fully realized. In the last five years alone, we have seen the establishment or transformation of eight new schools.
We have seen public health schools established as central partners in the health sciences enterprise at both Bloomington and Indianapolis, a vital field in a State with such daunting public health challenges.
Philanthropy has grown into a respected field of academic study here in Indianapolis, after the founding of a school unique in the country.
Informatics and computing has grown to be one of the largest schools in the university with the highest levels of external funding for computer science research in the state, and one of the highest in the nation.
Media is now studied in a comprehensive integrated way, reflecting the digital revolution in media which has created and destroyed huge enterprises.
The study of design and art, already strong in the Herron School here at Indianapolis, has been unified, consolidated, and enhanced in Bloomington as well.
The complex and uncertain world of on-line education has been skillfully navigated to become a substantial and respected part of an IU education.
And in a world that struggles with both the good and the bad impacts of globalization, global and international studies has focused IU’s matchless resources to educate and train a new generation of leaders fluent in their ability to work around the world and with cultures diverse and complex.
IU’s regional campuses now work together efficiently and effectively to bring an IU education to nearly every part of the state, with all the impacts and benefits this brings to the university and the communities where the campuses are located.
The strength and vigor of medicine at IU is projected all over the state in eight different medical education centers concentrating the medical resources and skills of their communities.
Dozens of new and innovative programs have been established, maybe none more overdue that the new engineering program at IU Bloomington, the last institution of its kind in the Association of American Universities—the AAU—to have such a program. Its inaugural class was welcomed earlier this month.
An engineering program at Bloomington is one key part of the goal of creating a culture of “building and making” on the campus, essential for enabling it to make full use of its potential for developing its inventions and innovations for the economic benefit of the people of Indiana.
The other is the establishment of a program in architecture.
This program would be part of a broader focus on design. This focus would be guided by the fundamental observation that, just as the media industry has been transformed by information technology, so too has design been transformed by information technology with the digital convergence of every form of design from architecture to fashion through extraordinary innovations like 3D printing. This program would be established in partnership with the city of Columbus with all its dazzling architectural riches, a city which has been ranked the sixth most architecturally significant city in the United States by the American Institute of Architects. In fact, Columbus asked IU to develop such a program through the establishment of a Master’s of Architecture degree. Approved by the IU Board of Trustees earlier this year in June, it awaits consideration by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education. Columbus’s newspaper, The Republic, editorialized that this degree is a “perfect fit” for Columbus. We look forward to the Commission’s favorable review of this proposal.
Clearly then, we have become a much more complete university over the last 100 years. We have also become one of continually growing reputation and held in ever-greater respect, and one whose success is central to the State. Much is owed to generations of talented staff and administrators whose work we look upon today. Much is owed to the wisdom and deep sense of stewardship of our trustees over this time. Much is owed to the millions of students who have passed through the gates of IU, and our 700,000 living alumni. Much is owed to the support of the State Legislature and governors of the state who, without partisanship, have steadfastly supported higher education and understood what it meant to Indiana. Much is owed to the thousands of donors and supporters who know that their investments in Indiana University are wise and propel us forward. And much is owed to the faculty. For it is their scholarship, their research, their reputations that are and have been central to IU’s standing.
Speaking at the 150th anniversary of Indiana University in 1970, IU’s 14th president, John Ryan, returned to President Bryan’s idea of a “complete university.” He noted that “President Bryan could not have guessed that his beloved university would mushroom in growth before the end of the next half century and approach, if not perhaps BE, the ‘complete university’ he envisioned.” Ryan attributed this staggering growth and success to the faculty. He described the faculty as those “who helped to bring the university from its modest size and stature to a position of worldwide respect.” Then, addressing himself directly to the faculty, President Ryan continued: “The very great debt we owe for the birth and nurture of the university through its early struggles has a counterpart today, I think, in the debt of the present generation to you and your colleagues who did so much to make this more nearly a ‘complete university.’”2
We now stand 100 years since Bryan’s vision for a complete university, and 50 years since Ryan’s observation of one on the path to completion. While our definitions of “completeness” may have well grown beyond anything President Bryan could have imagined, IU’s enormous accomplishments in teaching and research, which lie at the heart of our institutional missions, remain grounded in the exceptional faculty effort, and that of the dedicated staff members, on each of our campuses. Our debt to you, the faculty, continues unabated to this day.
There are many ways the vital contributions of the faculty can be measured. Through the excellence of their scholarship. Through the impact and influence of their inspiring teaching on successive generations. Through the awards and recognition from their peers that they accrue. Through the depth of the understanding they bring through their research to the physical and moral universe and the positive effects of this on society. And through the investments that the great agencies, foundations and endowments are prepared to make in their research.
In this latter regard, their efforts last year were truly spectacular. Last academic year IU researchers received a record $614 million in external funding to support their research and other activities—a remarkable nearly 20 percent increase over the previous year. This is the highest total of external grant funding obtained by any public research university in the state during the last academic year and the highest annual total in IU history.
This year’s record figure is all the more noteworthy in light of the increasingly competitive environment that has faced researchers across the country in recent years. Research funding has become more scarce—in fact, the funding rates of a number of federal programs have reached historic lows. At the same time, the demand for research funding has increased and now greatly exceeds the supply. IU has achieved record success in this highly competitive arena because the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and other funding agencies, as well as many foundations and endowments, recognize the quality of the research conducted at IU and the impact our faculty are making in improving our state, nation, and world, and transforming people’s lives.
When we look at these figures in more detail they are perhaps even more impressive. Nearly every school at Bloomington or Indianapolis has seen an increase in research funding. In Bloomington, the College saw an increase of 24 percent and the campus overall, 10 percent. In Indianapolis, the School of Medicine saw an increase of 10 percent, and the other schools here together saw 16 percent. We also saw a gratifying increase in externally funded research on some of our regional campuses and encourage them to continue to seek such support.
The enormous success Indiana University faculty have had in competing for sponsored awards is a testament to the quality of our faculty and their work. All our colleagues who were awarded grants during this period are to be enthusiastically congratulated. All those who submitted proposals that were not funded are to be gratefully thanked for their efforts and supported as they work to strengthen their proposals for resubmission.
At the same time IU faculty set new records with external funding support for their research, Indiana University, as part of its Bicentennial Strategic Plan, has expanded massively its commitment to direct support of IU researchers. One year ago, we announced the most ambitious program of research support in the university’s history—the Grand Challenges Research Program. This program proposes to invest, in the years leading up to IU’s Bicentennial, $300 million in three to five major multi-investigator, multidisciplinary research projects aimed at finding solutions to the “grand challenges” of our time—solutions that will provide major improvements in the quality of life for the citizens of the state of Indiana who have helped support IU for nearly 200 years.
In June, I was very pleased to announce that, after thorough evaluation of 21 excellent preliminary proposals—five of which were selected as finalists and developed into full proposals—the Precision Health Initiative was selected as the recipient of the first round of funding. Led by Principal Investigator Dr. Anantha Shekhar, the Precision Health Initiative focuses on an approach that is expected to transform biomedical research and the delivery of healthcare in the future. The Precision Health Initiative will seek to cure at least one cancer and one childhood disease, as well as find ways to prevent one chronic illness and one neurodegenerative disease.
The call for initial proposals for the next round of the Grand Challenges Research Program went out just last week.
But at the same time, IU continues to provide support for a wide variety of other types of research and scholarship that, this year, will total over $10 million. Let me describe a few of these.
However, in spite of the success of our faculty in obtaining external support for their research and in spite of the extensive internal research support that IU provides, we must always endeavor to ensure the financial structures of the university are aligned with the core mission of the university. We provide, as I said in a speech almost exactly 10 years ago, “an unashamedly liberal education in the great tradition most eloquently described and defended in modern times by John Henry Cardinal Newman.”3 But this tradition has come under strain and seen difficulties both here and throughout the country. So we must ensure our financial structures are aligned with and support excellence in all we do, including our core liberal arts mission.
In this context, I am asking our new vice president and chief financial officer, John Sejninaj, to initiate now the regular upcoming five year review of our Responsibility Center Management budgetary system in consultation with Executive Vice Presidents Robel, Paydar and Applegate and Vice President for University Clinical Affairs and Dean of the IU School of Medicine, Jay Hess. Vice President Sejdinaj brings nearly 20 years of experience working at the highest level of financial management at a great private university and the fresh perspectives that he will be able to bring to the financial affairs of the university will be invaluable.
At the same time, we must focus on identifying and eliminating administrative barriers to academic excellence. Any institution, no matter how well run, can begin to accumulate these over time. These can sap the energy of even the most talented faculty and staff, hurt morale, and decrease the effectiveness of all of our activities. So I am announcing today the establishment of a working group to be co-chaired by Vice President for Research, Distinguished Professor Fred Cate, and Dr. Karen Adams, Chief of Staff to the IU President, to conduct a systematic review of IU administrative policies and procedures in order to eliminate unnecessary or duplicative ones and reduce the burdens they may impose wherever possible. I have asked them for an initial report by the end of this calendar year.
Almost exactly one year ago, we launched the public phase of the For All Bicentennial Campaign for Indiana University—the first ever university-wide campaign in IU’s history, with a goal of raising $2.5 billion by the end of 2019, the most ambitious fundraising goal in Indiana University’s history, and one of the largest ever in the country at a public university. It is private philanthropy—expressed by nearly two centuries of advocacy, giving, and service by IU alumni and friends—that has consistently provided the margin of excellence for Indiana University in so many areas.
The response to this campaign has been overwhelming. Already, over $1.5 billion has been raised, putting the campaign above target. And the total funds raised last academic year from private and institutional philanthropy set a new record of around $500 million.
Part of the campaign originally involved a university match for gifts to establish new endowed professorial positions and undergraduate and graduate scholarships. The response has been extremely strong and the original goals have already been significantly increased—for example, from 100 to 150 for professorial positions, 500 to 1500 for undergraduate scholarships at IU Bloomington, and 200 to 400 for undergraduate scholarships at the IU regional campuses, where the response has been outstanding. Incidentally, 150 additional endowed professorial positions would bring the total of these to about 600. These are, of course, essential to the recruitment and retention of some of our very best faculty. Thousands of new endowed undergraduate scholarships help to keep IU affordable and accessible, especially for minority students and students from low-income backgrounds.
Giving by IU faculty and staff has also been quite extraordinary. Already, you have given $78 million towards the campaign. There is no better measure of the confidence and pride that our faculty and staff take in IU than that they give of their own resources to support it. The university is also matching gifts by faculty and staff of $25,000 or more up to a total of $50 million. The response to this match has been extremely enthusiastic. I want to take a moment here, as well, to thank a former co-chair of the University Faculty Council, Jim Sherman, and former longtime IUPUI research administrator, Sherry Queener, for volunteering their time in support of the faculty and staff campaign.
The total of around $500 million from private and institutional philanthropy I mentioned a few minutes ago also includes a record total of $194.9 million in non-governmental grants, which is also included in the record total of $614 million for externally funded research. Factoring this out means that IU’s total private philanthropy and external grant funding commitments in Fiscal Year 2016 is nearing a billion dollars! This remarkable figure once again underscores the fact that Indiana University truly is the state’s research powerhouse.
On behalf of Indiana University, I want to express our most sincere thanks to all of the alumni, friends, faculty, staff, students, parents, companies, foundations and other organizations that support IU philanthropically. Private philanthropy serves as one of the great pillars of the American system of higher education, making it the best in the world. This year’s record level of generous gifts from Indiana University’s alumni and friends is part of the essential private support for IU’s excellence in education and research.
Of course, a central part of Indiana University’s heritage is its commitment, over nearly two centuries, to educating Hoosiers, and students from across the state, nation, and around the world, at the highest levels of quality. For all of the many things a premiere public research university like IU does, students are its reason for being, and student success is at the core of its mission.
Recent figures also show that Indiana University is leading the state in answering the call by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education and the State Legislature to produce more Hoosier graduates. During the 2015-16 academic year, IU conferred a record 21,204 four-year and graduate degrees, an increase of 18 percent since the 2008-09 academic year, and far more than any other institution in the state. Incidentally, last May’s commencements were attended by over 100,000 people, all witness to the vital role IU plays across the State.
With this year’s student body again numbering close to 115,000, the most accomplished and one of the most diverse student bodies in IU history—and given that more than 80 percent of currently enrolled degree-seeking undergraduates are in-state students—IU will be by far the largest producer of Hoosier graduates annually in Indiana for the foreseeable future. IU students come from all 92 Indiana counties, all 50 states, and over 172 different countries.
Increasing minority enrollment at IU has been one of our highest priorities, so it was gratifying to see IU’s fall enrollment also includes a record number of minority students—nearly 20,000—more than at any other time in the university’s history. Five campuses—IU Bloomington, IUPUI, IU East, IU Kokomo, and IU South Bend—set new records for minority enrollment this fall. James Wimbush, Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs and his staff, and the staff in various campus enrollment and diversity offices deserve great credit for this most welcome achievement.
Of course, this fall we also welcomed Indiana University’s Bicentennial Class of 2020—a class that is setting new marks for academic achievement.
In Bloomington, the Class of 2020 has the highest median GPA of any incoming class in IU history (at 3.79), and the highest average SAT/ACT score at 1223. The campus also set records overall for minority enrollment with record numbers of African-American students, Asian-American students, Hispanic/Latino students, and students of two or more races, who now represent over 20 percent of domestic students on campus.
Here on the IUPUI campus, the incoming freshman class is the largest, most diverse, and most academically talented in campus history. 93 percent of beginning students on the IUPUI campus are Indiana residents. IUPUI has experienced a 36 percent increase in the number of African-American beginning freshmen, with a record 365 this fall. Overall, minority students represent more than a quarter of all of the campus’s entering freshmen.
Indiana University remains steadfastly committed to providing an environment in which students have every opportunity to succeed—by ensuring that an IU education remains affordable, that we adopt practices and policies that encourage students to persist to graduation and complete their degrees on time, and that the university’s schools and programs provide a relevant education of lasting value.
We also announced earlier this month that borrowing by Indiana University students has been reduced by nearly $100 million in the four years since the university began a multi-faceted financial literacy program and started adopting more vigorous policies to increase student financial assistance and promote on-time graduation. This, of course, translates directly into $100 million less debt for our students over this period.
These are remarkable figures and they clearly underscore the fact that Indiana University leads the nation in the area of student debt reduction—an area that is of great concern nationally and one that is of enormous demonstrable benefit to our students. By the way, it is interesting to speculate that if other colleges in the United States were able to reduce borrowing at the same rate as this, it would translate in many billions of dollars in the reduction of student debt.
The rapid approach of Indiana University’s Bicentennial causes us to reflect on the question of “What is Indiana University?” It is of course, all that exists now—the 115,000 talented and energetic students, the 10,000 outstanding faculty, the 11,000 highly skilled and dedicated staff, the nearly 700,000 IU alumni world-wide, and our close and essential partners such as IU Health. But it is also comprised of unchanging elements that endure across generations and decades—beautiful campuses, superb buildings and facilities, glorious art, unique scholarly collections. It is the story of the work, careers, and achievements of all the people who for almost two centuries have studied, worked and graduated from IU—in short the remarkable and inspiring history that has made IU what it is today. And it is more hard-to-define, maybe more ephemeral things such as its great traditions and its matchless heritage. But it is all of this that has shaped the characters of millions of people who have passed through IU’s many gates since 1820. And all of this will shape the character of millions more in IU’s next century.
All of these elements—and what will be added to them—comprise the very character of Indiana University and its campuses. They characterize what the Greeks called the ethos of the university. It is this character, this ethos, that in part attracts people to IU and to its campuses, and which will continue to do so in the future. And it is the campuses that provide them with the spaces, interior and exterior, intimate and grand, in which they can contemplate, study, experiment, debate, meet, fall in love, exercise and compete. It is the campuses where they can wander in landscapes and environments both man-made and natural. It is the campuses where they can gaze upon objects of sublime beauty, both ancient and modern, during the day or in museums and priceless collections.
This character and ethos complements, enriches, and elevates all that a student learns in a classroom. The more that students are part of it and experience it, the richer and more inspiring it is, the more they will benefit from an IU education. It can rival in importance the classroom and laboratory. The preservation and enhancement of this character and ethos, then, is a duty entrusted to us all. As part of IU’s Bicentennial, we must rededicate ourselves to this duty.
More prosaically, such factors contribute to what has been called a “sticky campus”— one that through its appeal, its welcoming nature, its outstanding amenities and services, its beauty, and its stimulating environment, attracts students to it, keeps students there and hence allows them to participate fully in, and benefit fully from, all the university offers. And what I have described is no different for the lives of faculty and staff, while its hold keeps alumni enthralled for the rest of their lives.
So, a key goal for all IU campuses as we approach the Bicentennial is to build on and enhance the character and ethos of the campuses to make them magnets for the best and most deserving students, and environments that will help foster excellence in education, research, scholarship, and creative activity. This is the aim of IUPUI’s “Welcoming Campus initiative,” where we are seeing the dramatic transformation of the campus from one that, for years, was a commuter campus, to one that is rapidly becoming a true urban residential campus, one that is a true destination campus.
The preservation, enhancement, and celebration of the character and ethos of Indiana University will form a central part of IU’s activities leading up to and during its Bicentennial year. In June, the Bicentennial Steering Committee of faculty, staff, and students, co-chaired by Kathy Johnson from IUPUI and Steve Watt from IU Bloomington, presented a report outlining a program of such activities that was endorsed by the Board of Trustees in June. Deep contemplation and study of our past is not something we engage in on a regular basis as a community, but the Bicentennial and other anniversaries serve as reminders of the need for just this kind of self-reflection. There will be many events of a celebratory nature, but it is also proposed that the Bicentennial also be used as a way of assessing IU’s past, its present, and to speculate and plan for the future. This will be done in an open and frank way that honors all that Indiana University has achieved over two centuries, but in a way that also honestly confronts where we might have failed or could have done better.
I am very pleased to announce, then, the first programs concerning the preservation, enhancement, and recognition of the university’s heritage as part of IU’s Bicentennial.
First, I am pleased to announce that the IU Bicentennial Office is launching two grant programs to encourage faculty, staff, student organizations, and IU affiliates to develop and propose Bicentennial projects and to develop new or revised courses that encompass Bicentennial goals. These programs will provide funding for individuals, departments, schools, and campuses to connect their histories to the greater institutional historical narrative and to collectively examine our past, present, and future.
Second, earlier this year, I appointed Jim Capshew, professor in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine at IU Bloomington, to serve as University Historian and each campus has appointed a campus historian to oversee historical projects on their campuses. Professor Capshew chairs a committee comprising all of them. I have asked Professor Capshew and his committee to oversee the development of a university-wide historical marker program involving all campuses. This program, modeled after the State of Indiana historical markers (the blue markers you have all likely seen in every corner of the state), will document significant people, places, and events in the university’s history on every campus and at off-campus heritage sites.
Third, when I first became president—in fact, I think it may have been in the first couple of weeks of my presidency in 2007—President Emeritus John Ryan encouraged me that it was not too early to begin planning for the Bicentennial! He had overseen the 150th and recalled the great build-up required for a successful program. So, in 2007, I convened a group of historians, archivists, and librarians to ask some basic questions about the kinds of information we wanted to pursue for the Bicentennial. From those early conversations grew the IU Bicentennial Oral History Project, which began in 2008. Recognizing that the dearth of knowledge about student, faculty, and staff life at the university would leave a gap in our historical record, the IU Archives and my office began gathering alumni stories from across the university.
The program has added current and former faculty and staff to its domain and has, to date, gathered over 400 interviews. These interviews with alumni, current and former faculty, and staff members, fill the gaps in our written institutional records and ensure that we are leaving a crucial institutional resource for our colleagues one hundred years from now to draw upon as they encounter the daunting task of documenting the university’s heritage through this period of digital and online growth. I ask you and your colleagues, and alumni around the world, to volunteer as an interviewee or as an interviewer to gather this crucial evidence of our collective past and present.
The final Bicentennial project I will mention today is about public art. I have already spoken of the beauty of our campuses and their importance as part of the university’s character and ethos. These stem from many features: architecture, manicured landscapes, and strategic planning to maintain standards of building quality. But another critical feature of each of IU’s campuses is the visible commitment to public art. Last spring, one of my presidential interns, Lucy Morrell, convened a university-wide gathering of public art experts from each campus and from the central administration. From that wide-ranging conversation came a number of recommendations about the future of public art planning at the university. Today, I am pleased to move one of these recommendations from discussion to action.
Today, I am announcing the establishment of a public art restoration fund to be supported, in part, by the estate of President William Lowe Bryan to be known as the Bryan Public Art Restoration Fund. These funds will facilitate the needed maintenance and restoration of public art on all of our campuses, and will allow public art to retain its inspirational place among our beautiful outdoor spaces. I am appointing David Brenneman, the Wilma E. Kelley Director of the Sid and Lois Eskenazi Art Museum, as a special advisor to the president on public art. He will consult with Herron School of Art and Design Dean Valerie Eickmeier, IU Bloomington School of Art and Design Dean Peg Faimon, and others as to priorities, and to ensure that we have the necessary infrastructure to maintain and restore our present public art. In the near future, we will also be developing a plan for new public art acquisitions and commissioned pieces for our Bicentennial.
I have described just a few of the major projects and grant programs related to the IU Bicentennial. I invite you to check out the new Bicentennial website at 200.iu.edu for more information. Bicentennial Director Kelly Kish and University Historian Jim Capshew will also be holding open houses on all campuses in the next few weeks. Hundreds of people are now becoming involved in all of these activities and I want to express my grateful thanks to all of them for giving generously of their time.
The preservation, restoration, and repurposing of the historic buildings of Indiana University for the needs and demands of modern education and research has been a key priority of the university since the approval by the Trustees of the IU Bloomington and IUPUI Master Plans some years ago. We have, for four successive State Legislative Budget biennial budget cycles, prioritized renovation and restoration of these buildings almost exclusively and these remain our priority in our capital request to the State Legislature for the 2017-19 biennial budget, while new buildings have been funded with gifts or other IU resources. The distinguished New York architect John Belle, who passed away earlier this week and who was a previous IU master planner, put it best when he said, “Preservation is one of the highest forms of good citizenship.”4
When we started this process, IU had a deferred maintenance backlog of over $1 billion across all campuses. As of today, this is down to less than a $500 million with $373 million of large projects and only $87 million of small. Our goal is to eliminate these by the Bicentennial subject to continuing State support for large projects. Our goal, too, is to complete the renovation of all the residence halls at IU Bloomington by the Bicentennial. These have a total capacity of about 11,000 students and this massive task is now about 75 percent complete.
In Bloomington, we have requested funds for badly needed renovations to Ballantine Hall and the Geology building, and in Indianapolis, we have requested funds for the renovation of the old Regenstrief Building, now known as the Health Sciences Building. Additional requests have been made for a collection of significant renovations and restorations on the regional campuses, of laboratories at Bloomington and Indianapolis, and, of course, for the more general funding—known as R&R—for the maintenance of IU’s infrastructure.
Gradually, the full transformative effect of modernizing and re-purposing the buildings and infrastructure on all campuses can be seen. Underutilized and out-of-date buildings are coming fully back to life again and providing sorely needed contemporary resources to support the education and research mission of the university as well as the extensive academic transformation that has been underway. It is a wonderful thing to see from the window of my office in Bryan Hall, students streaming out of Franklin Hall, once again a center of vibrant activity, as is increasingly the whole of the Old Crescent. Work on Kirkwood Hall, the home of IU Bloomington’s new School of Art and Design, finishes within a few weeks, and work will start soon on the renovation of Swain Hall as well as the conversion back to student dormitories of most of the buildings of the Wells Quad.
IUPUI, being a much newer campus, has different needs. Its legendary Natatorium has been renovated to once again make it one of the great national venues for competitive swimming and diving. The main east-west thoroughfares which pass through the campus—Michigan and New York Streets—are being converted to more sedate, two-way streets much more befitting an urban campus. And these will be complemented by major improvements to West Street. Last week we dedicated North Hall, the first traditional residence hall continuing a rapid change in the character of this campus. And University Hall has provided much needed space and facilities for IU’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and the School of Social Work.
Iconic spaces have been renovated, restored or re-purposed at both campuses such as Alumni Hall, Presidents Hall and the IU Cinema at Bloomington, and the spectacular Ball Gardens at IUPUI. Ball Gardens are a hidden gem on this campus and of great architectural significance. The gardens were designed by Olmsted Brothers, the firm founded by the father of American landscape architecture, Frederick Law Olmsted. They are now one of the few examples of such gardens remaining and were rightly added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1996. Now, following their renovation, they will once again be an integral part of campus life, and especially that of the School of Nursing where they played such a proud part for so long.
IU’s regional campuses have also seen much activity with renovation and re-purposing at IU Kokomo involving the Main Building and the Cole Wellness Center; at IU South Bend involving Northside Hall (including the Joshi Recital Hall), the Administration Building, and Riverside Hall; and many small projects on the other regional campuses.
What I have described is the preservation of IU’s physical heritage. But also precious is our recorded heritage—our vast heritage of sound and video recordings dating back more than half a century, and our heritage of films, comprising one of the great university collections in this country.
In my 2013 State of the University address, I announced that IU would commence a Bicentennial project to digitize those items in the university’s audio and video collections that are deemed by scholars to be worthy of preservation. Reports from two faculty-led taskforces had thoroughly documented approximately 400,000 tapes, reels, cassettes, films, and even wax cylinder recordings that faced the possibility of being lost forever from future generations. For many of these items, the playback equipment and repair parts can no longer be found except by scouring eBay.
Last year, we celebrated the formal dedication of the IU Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative—MDPI—with partners Sony-Memnon. This week it will surpass the 140,000 mark in digitizing many of IU’s audio and video treasures from all campuses. These include very early rare recordings of David Baker, distinguished professor of music, who passed away this spring, and recently discovered previously unknown recordings of IU alumnus Hoagy Carmichael at the IU Auditorium. The digitized files are stored in the IU Data Centers and are made available (within all applicable law) to IU scholars on all campuses, and to the world through the IU Libraries. When complete, these files will comprise a massive 9 Petabytes.
As many institutions, museums, public and private broadcasters, etc. are all wrestling with the great challenges of preserving our cultural heritage from rapidly deteriorating media, the sheer scale and rapid pace of MDPI have already drawn worldwide attention to IU.
This first phase of MDPI has focused on Audio and Video formats, and plans for a second phase that will undertake digitizing up to 25,000 of IU’s most valuable film holdings are presently being developed. These efforts and their resulting digital collections, combined with the creation of the Media School and the wonderful IU Cinema, will give IU a truly unique position in the fields of media and cultural preservation.
As we prepare for Indiana University’s third century of service, our mission must be—as it has always been—to confirm our traditions of excellence in our fundamental missions of education, research, and service, and by doing so, ensure that Indiana University will be a leader among the great universities of the 21st century.
But, as Winston Churchill once said, “We cannot say ’the past is past’ without surrendering the future.”5
Indiana University’s Bicentennial affords us the unique opportunity to define the future of IU, rather than surrendering it, by grounding it in IU’s historic strengths, collective past, and dynamic present.
Thank you very much.