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From the Desk of the Chancellor – June 11

The tributes being paid to writer Ray Bradbury since the world learned of his passing last week highlight the presence of a rare treasure on our campus. The Center for Ray Bradbury Studies is housed in our IU School of Liberal Arts Institute for American Thought. The research center opened in 2007 to provide both an archive for Bradbury's writings and a library of related reference books in fantasy and science fiction. Among its projects is The Collected Stories of Ray Bradbury — the first volume of which appeared in April 2011. It covers the years 1938 to 1943 and was supported by a gift to the IUPUI IMPACT Campaign from Karl and Barbara Zimmer.

Bradbury's writings inspired astronaut John Glenn, filmmakers François Truffaut and Steven Spielberg, and Elton John's "Rocket Man." He also inspired Karl and Barbara Zimmer, two young liberal arts majors who met at the University of Chicago in the late 1940s. Karl Zimmer, a native Hoosier, was embarked on an international career in book publishing and was working for Ian Ballantine in 1953 when the company published Fahrenheit 451. He met Ray Bradbury and the experience engendered an abiding interest in his work. More than 50 years later, the Zimmers not only supported the first volume of The Collected Stories of Ray Bradbury but also made a multiyear pledge to support the publication of the remaining seven volumes in the series. The series is scheduled for completion during Ray Bradbury's centennial year (2020).

In 2001, the couple also donated $1 million to endow the Karl R. and Barbara E. Zimmer Chair in Intercultural Communication in 2001. Karl is the retired chair and CEO of Zimmer Paper Products, former director of the Indiana Humanities Council, and an award-winning short story writer as well. Sadly, his wife, Barbara, passed away in August 2010. She had begun her teaching career as a lecturer in the IUPUI Department of English in 1979 and continued teaching intermittently throughout the 1990s.

As we remember Ray Bradbury and his legacy, we also remember this generous couple for their enduring gifts to IUPUI and to the study of the arts and humanities.

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