October 8, 2015

A Promise to Our Future: University Hall Dedication

Dedication of University Hall
IUPUI Campus Center
Indianapolis, Indiana


President McRobbie, thank you for your leadership in making this building possible. I would also like to thank the IU Trustees, Vice President Morrison, Associate Vice President John Lewis, and the IU Architect’s Office as a whole, for making University Hall a reality.

Finally, it would take the rest of the evening to acknowledge everybody here at IUPUI who has contributed to this day, but I would be remiss if I didn’t thank Harrold Austin, Paul Sebree, Donna Kent, Laura Lucas, Kelly Reed, and Tom Fettig.

Would you all please join me in thanking them?

Location, Location, Location

Today as we dedicate University Hall, I keep thinking: Location, location, location.

Situated at the heart of IUPUI, University Hall puts student success center stage—a strategic priority for the entire university. It’s the latest in a series of projects that concentrates people and energy at the core of our campus, the most important elements in generating an intellectual community.

Today, as we dedicate University Hall, we also pay tribute to Chancellor Hine, Chancellor Irwin, Chancellor Bepko, and Chancellor Bantz, incredible leaders who sacrificed and scraped and saved and strategized to help us reach this day of celebration.

A Tribute to IUPUI Leadership

Before I go on, though, let me take you back to 1974. That year, without much fanfare, the AO Building was completed on the western edge of campus for a total of just over $700,000. After over four decades, I would say that we got our money’s worth.

For those 41 years, IUPUI administration called the AO Building home. During those years, our leaders invested in the infrastructure to support academic program development, students, faculty and staff.

Those investments yielded impressive increases in enrollment, billions of dollars in external research funding, the creation of new schools and academic programs, and the expansion of the campus’ physical plant, including the construction of 39 buildings focused on teaching, research, and student life. I’m not including the construction of 12 parking garages, though perhaps I should.

IUPUI leaders accomplished all of this from what some people fondly call the doublewide on the edge of campus. Today, as we dedicate University Hall, we also pay tribute to Chancellor Hine, Chancellor Irwin, Chancellor Bepko, and Chancellor Bantz, incredible leaders who sacrificed and scraped and saved and strategized to help us reach this day of celebration. Would you please join me in thanking them?

A Promise to Our Future: Creating Campus Community

Just as this building honors IUPUI’s past, it also makes a promise to our future. It promises to strengthen our campus community, connecting people once spread across campus. By giving the IU School of Social Work room to expand and providing a home for the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, the IUPUI Alumni Association, the IU Foundation, the President’s Office, and other units, University Hall offers a venue for academic programming and generates opportunities for serendipitous interactions.

This combination of the planned and the spontaneous will help us build powerful and lasting relationships that translate into student, faculty, and staff retention; into higher graduation rates and career advancement; into happier, healthier, more successful lives.

Of course, our community extends well beyond the walls of this building with over 170,000 IUPUI alumni and countless friends and supporters of this remarkable campus. The IUPUI Alumni Association and the IU Foundation—both located on the first floor of University Hall—represent that extended community, giving them a place and a voice at the heart of our campus. During construction, I felt the presence of that extended community. I would like to thank IUPUI’s incredibly generous alumni, friends, supporters, faculty, staff, and retirees who—as of September 30, 2015—have contributed over $614 million to the recently-launched Bicentennial Campaign.

I think that deserves our thanks with round of applause.

A Promise to Our Future: Wellness and Sustainability

This building has also been designed for wellness and sustainability, another promise to our future. Built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design—or LEED—standards, University Hall targets energy savings, water efficiency, and several other green building criteria. We are currently preparing our application and hope to achieve LEED Gold certification.

One of the highlights of our commitment to sustainability is our desk-side recycling program. The overall campus recycling rate is around 10%, but with University Hall’s desk-side program, we have achieved as high as 67% in our recycle rates.

I would add that we confirmed these rates with a recent dumpster dive. Talk about going above and beyond the call of duty!

Would you join me in a round of applause for our extremely dedicated staff and students, who are willing to get their hands dirty to make sure we are doing our best in our recycling efforts.