Chancellor Emeritus Gerald L. Bepko was presented with an IUPUI 50th Anniversary Chancellor’s Medallion on September 11, 2019, during the Bepko Scholar Recognition Ceremony hosted by the IUPUI Honors College. Chancellor Nasser H. Paydar presented the Chancellor’s Medallion to Bepko in recognition of his leadership and service as the fifth chancellor of IUPUI, who made a transformational difference in enhancing the campus’s reputation as a national higher education model, strengthening its role as an economic engine for the region, and establishing support programs and infrastructure, including University College, designed to help students succeed academically.
This is Bepko’s second Chancellor’s Medallion. He received his first from Chancellor Emeritus Charles R. Bantz during the 40th Anniversary Breakfast Celebration on September 23, 2009.
During the 16 years that Bepko served as chancellor, the campus experienced unprecedented growth, both in the dramatic expansion of the university’s physical campus and in terms of the breadth of academic programs and research opportunities. Bepko brought the various programs of IUPUI academically and geographically together on the downtown campus, and he oversaw the construction of almost two dozen buildings, including University Library, Inlow Hall, and the Engineering, Science and Technology Building. His emphasis on undergraduate education culminated in the creation of University College in 1998.
During Bepko’s tenure, enrollment grew by nearly 25 percent and external support for faculty activities skyrocketed from $38 million in 1986 to more than $200 million in 2002. Chancellor Bepko led the first six years of the seven-year Campaign for IUPUI, which generated more than one billion dollars before its conclusion in 2004, the first fundraising campaign in Indiana to surpass the billion-dollar mark.
Following Bepko’s service as chancellor, he was selected unanimously by the IU Board of Trustees to serve as interim president of Indiana University from January 1, 2003, to August 31, 2003. Bepko served in this role after the resignation of Myles Brand, who became NCAA president and prior to the appointment of Adam Herbert as the 17th president of the university.
Numerous university awards are named his honor, including the IUPUI Bepko Staff Council Spirit Award, the Jean C. and Gerald L. Bepko Lifelong Learner Award, the Gerald L. Bepko Outstanding Administrator Award, and the Gerald L. Bepko IUPUI Community Medallion Award.
In 2015, he received the University Medal from IU President Michael A. McRobbie, the highest award bestowed by the university, for his extraordinary contributions and exceptional achievements.
Bepko joined the faculty at the IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law in 1972 and became a full professor in 1975. In 1979, he was named Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and became dean of the McKinney School of Law in 1981. Among his many accolades, Chancellor Bepko has received honorary degrees from IU, Purdue University, and the Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago-Kent College of Law.