It’s not been a quiet time this summer.
Spring commencement at IUPUI conferred 5,320 undergraduate and graduate IU and Purdue degrees, as well as and honorary doctorates to Leonard Betley and Russell Mawby. Len Betley is well known in Indianapolis as an attorney, community steward, and supporter of innovation in his many roles—including leadership of the Regenstrief Institute, Walther Cancer Institute, and Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation. Russ Mawby led the W. K. Kellogg Foundation for more than 30 years as president, CEO, and chairman. Both individuals demonstrated powerful leadership with reasoned voices.
June brought a watershed event for IUPUI. We dedicated Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Hall, the new home for our Herron School of Art and Design. This was a day decades in the making. The move of Herron from 16th Street means that, after 36 years of imagining and planning, all the IUPUI schools are together on one campus. As IU Alumni Association President Ken Beckley said that weekend, “It is finished!”
And what a glorious occasion it was! More than 400 attended the ceremony and hundreds more toured the building, marveling at the space and browsing the galleries.
The occasion reminded me of how my life was changed forever—thanks to an art history course I took as an undergraduate at the University of Minnesota. It’s where I learned to appreciate and enjoy art—painting, sculpture, and architecture. The professor opened my eyes to a dimension of life I had not paid attention to before. There in Minneapolis was the work of Monet and Picasso, Rodin and Modigliani. Years later, having become familiar with Gunnar Birkerts’ design of the Federal Reserve Bank in Minneapolis, I easily recognized his architectural touch in the law library at the University of Michigan. Now I recognize and appreciate the interplay of light and shadow, form and function, idea and execution—all that art brings to expression—wherever I go.
The opportunity for generations of students to have such an experience here in Indianapolis came from the generosity of John Herron—who apparently had never shown an interest in art during his lifetime. A shrewd real estate investor, Herron had also never been a philanthropist. It was a surprise to everyone when his lawyer, A. P. Stanton, announced the bequest creating the Herron School of Art by saying:
“John Herron observed that nearly every interest in the city was getting along pretty well except its art culture. He decided to leave all his money to this purpose . . . He wanted to put it to good use and he wanted it to benefit Indianapolis.”
Sid and Lois Eskenazi had the same impulse when they made a leadership gift in the campaign to relocate Herron to campus. Eskenazi Hall cost $26.5 million, one-third of which was provided by the state. Two-thirds was philanthropy. Indianapolis has been fortunate to have community leaders who make things happen, stepping forward to fill a need, simply because they love this city and want to make it the best it can be.
July has been busy as well. The intersection of Michigan Street and University Boulevard is becoming a hub of construction as the campus and Clarian Health Partners work to make us more successful with students and patients.
The construction of the Campus Center on the southwest corner begins with the demolition of the Bowers Building, which was home to the Bowers Envelope Company pre-IUPUI. Two years from now, in its stead, will be a four-story Campus Center filled with retail services, meeting rooms, and other social spaces for students, faculty, and staff. On the northwest corner, utility work in preparation for the construction of the Cancer Hospital is under way in front of IU Hospital. At the northeast corner, a complete renovation of the University Place Hotel is taking place.
In complementary ways, these projects will transform the campus environment. The Cancer Hospital will facilitate innovation in treatment and research, bringing thousands to the campus who will need hotel rooms and the services of the Campus Center. The Campus Center will keep students on campus longer, between and after classes, allowing them to bond with the campus and other students through participation in extracurricular and cocurricular activities, which research shows contributes to greater student success in their academic achievements. The hotel will provide meeting places, lodging, and restaurants for visitors and the campus community. It is going to be worth the dust!
The academic effort continues during the summer. More than 21,000 students attended summer sessions at IUPUI. I was privileged to announce the appointment of the new dean of the Kelley School of Business—Claire Barker Professor of Marketing Dan Smith. The Kelley School encompasses both IU Bloomington and IUPUI, and we are fortunate that IUPUI Executive Associate Dean Roger Schmenner will continue working with Dean Smith on behalf of the IUPUI-based programs. During that search, we learned just how much change is occurring in business education and how challenging the next 10 years will be for Deans Smith and Schmenner. We are glad to have their leadership.
August approaches as I write this. Sandra and I look forward to a few days out of town as we do some “urban hiking” and prepare to launch into our third academic year at IUPUI. Hope you are enjoying a productive and rejuvenating summer!
Charles R. Bantz