Welcome to the start of another academic year and to the start of IU's Bicentennial Year. I hope you had a restful, reenergizing and enjoyable summer and are as excited as I am by what promises to be an extraordinary year at IU.
Today, tens of thousands of students from Indiana, the nation and the world — who constitute one of the most academically accomplished and most diverse student bodies in the university's history — will begin classes at our campuses across the state, where they will pursue educational, research and service opportunities that prepare them for a lifetime of personal and professional success.
We have already commenced what will be one of the most memorable and historic years ever for Indiana's flagship university. During the yearlong IU Bicentennial, which began July 1 and will end on June 30, 2020, we will celebrate, chronicle and reflect upon all that IU has achieved during its first 200 years and map a vision of what a third century of excellence will look like. We will look back at the remarkable events that have taken place at IU over the past 200 years, the biggest challenges our community has confronted and overcome, and, of course, the countless people who have helped make IU what it is today.
This includes you — members of IU's highly talented, tireless and dedicated faculty and staff — who continue to provide our students with a world-class education; who drive the discoveries, innovations and creative activities that enhance our state's economic vitality, health and quality of life; who ensure that our facilities are first-rate and our campuses are beautiful and sustainable grounds for academic inquiry and inspiration; and who are improving the Hoosier communities that our campuses serve.
You also perform another responsibility, one that has never been as important as it is today. You prepare our students for active citizenship, a lifetime of public service and participation in a rich, productive and public-spirited civil society that binds all of us together, no matter our race, ethnicity, cultural backgrounds, religious beliefs, socioeconomic status or sexual orientation.
You encourage our students to seek civil discourse, respect the opinions of others, open their minds to new ways of understanding and contribute to a culture of caring and human dignity on all of our campuses.
You also teach our students to search for, venerate and defend the truth, to stand up for what they believe is right and to exhibit the courage to respond when they are called upon to advance the common good.
With your leadership and support, IU will continue its rich tradition of forward and broad-minded thinking, community building and learning from the perspectives of others. Our commitment to a free and civil exchange of ideas and academic freedom, which is expressed at our Free Speech website, includes welcoming the varying viewpoints of students, faculty and staff as well as guests on campus.
But IU will continue to have zero tolerance for acts of bigotry, hatred, violence, intimidation or assault on our liberties. These loathsome incidents have no place on our campuses. We will be vigorous in protecting members of our university community against any threats to their freedoms and ensuring that our campuses continue to regard tolerance and inclusive diversity among their cardinal virtues.
I look forward to continuing to work with you to strengthen our values as a world-class educational community, foster civil discourse, and create a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment for all who call IU home.
As we prepare for another academic year and the excitement of the IU Bicentennial, I would like to thank all of you for your outstanding work on behalf of IU. Your collective talents, creativity, energy, enthusiasm and engagement in our vital work around our state make me extremely proud to call you colleagues.
My very best wishes for a great and productive 2019-20 year.
With thanks as always,
Michael A. McRobbie