President McRobbie

Past Presidents

IU Presidents by the Numbers
Presidents of Indiana University 18
Number of Living Presidents 3 (Thomas Ehrlich, Adam W. Herbert, Michael A. McRobbie)
Longest Term in Office 35 years (William Bryan, 1902-1937)
Shortest Term in Office 6 months (Alfred Ryors, 1852-1853)
Age of the Youngest President to Assume Office 33 (David Jordan)
Age of the Oldest President to Assume Office 60 (John Lathrop)
Number of Indiana-born Presidents 3 (Joseph Swain, William Bryan, Herman B Wells)
Number of foreign-born Presidents 2 (John Merle Coulter, Michael A. McRobbie)
Number of Presidents who were IU Graduates 5 (William Daily, Joseph Swain, William Bryan, Herman B Wells, John Ryan)
Number of Presidents who led another College or University before assuming Office 8 (Andrew Wylie, Alfred Ryors, John Lathrop, Cyrus Nutt, Lemuel Moss, Elvis Stahr, Myles Brand, Adam W. Herbert)

History of IU Presidents

  • Adam W. Herbert

    Adam W. Herbert (1943-)
    Term of Office: 2003-2007
    Education: University of Southern California, Los Angeles (B.A. 1966), (M.P.A. 1968); University of Pittsburgh (Ph.D. 1971)
    Professional Background: President of Indiana University (2003-07); chancellor, State University System of Florida (1998-01); president, University of North Florida (1989-98); White House fellow and special assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare (1974-77)

    In his inaugural address, IU’s 17th president noted that “the opportunity before us is to shape and lay the stones that will serve as the foundation for expansions and additions, new spires and buttresses of this magnificent cathedral of learning.” He did so by overseeing transformative initiatives in teaching, research, and public engagement. Under his direction, the faculty instituted a general education curriculum, and brought more than $1.7 billion to Indiana in research grants and contracts.  He oversaw the development of the Indiana Life Sciences Initiative, designed to establish IU as one of the nation’s leading centers of life sciences research and Indiana as a leader in the life sciences industry. He helped each of IU’s eight campuses become more market smart and mission centered by launching the Mission Differentiation initiative and enhanced IU’s relationships with Indiana's community colleges. He undertook the university’s first major administrative restructuring in 30 years, expanded IU’s physical infrastructure through the construction or renovation of more than 3,000,000 square feet of university facilities, and significantly strengthened the university’s athletics programs. Throughout his presidency, Adam Herbert placed special emphasis on fund raising, particularly in the area of student financial aid. He also enthusiastically promoted diversity in IU’s faculty, staff and student body, challenging each IU campus to develop concrete diversity goals.

  • Alfred Ryors

    Alfred Ryors (1812-1858)
    Term of Office: 1852-1853
    Education: Jefferson College (B.A. 1835)
    Professional Background: Professor of mathematics at Ohio University (1836-1843), professor of mathematics at Indiana University (1843-1848), president of Ohio University (1848-1852)

    Alfred Ryors was appointed the second president of Indiana University on June 3, 1852. He had been a mathematics professor at IU from 1843 through 1848, but left Indiana to assume the presidency of Ohio University in 1848, a position he held for four years. Ryors resigned his IU presidency in 1853 to become professor of mathematics at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, a position he held until his death in 1858.

  • Andrew Wylie

    Andrew Wylie  (1789-1851)
    Term of Office: 1829-1851 (died in office on November 11)
    Education: Jefferson College (B.A., 1810)
    Professional Background: President of Jefferson College (1811-1817), president of Washington College (1817-1829)

    On October 19, 1829, the Reverend Andrew Wylie was inaugurated as the first president of Indiana College. Wylie was the third member of the faculty and taught classes in moral and mental philosophy and literature. He guided the school through an important time of transition as the state legislature rechartered the college as Indiana University in 1838. Wylie died in office from an injury sustained while chopping wood.

  • Cyrus Nutt

    Cyrus Nutt (1814-1875)
    Term of Office: 1860-1875
    Education: Allegheny College (B.A. 1831)
    Professional Background: Professor of languages at Asbury (now DePauw) University (1837-1843), president of Fort Wayne Female College (1849-1850), president of Whitewater College (1850-1855), professor of mathematics at Asbury University (1857-1860)

    Cyrus Nutt was elected to be Indiana University’s fifth president in 1860 and was installed on June 27, 1861. IU became coeducational during Nutt’s administration, admitting its first female student in 1867. Nutt led the university for 15 years before resigning in 1875. He died a few weeks after his resignation.

  • David Starr Jordan

    David Starr Jordan (1851-1931)
    Term of Office: 1884-1891
    Education: Cornell University (M.S. 1872), Indiana Medical College (M.D. 1875), Butler University (Ph.D. 1878)
    Professional Background: Professor of biology at Butler University (1875-1879), professor of biology and zoology at Indiana University (1875-1885)

    On January 1, 1885, 34-year-old David Starr Jordan was inaugurated as the seventh president of Indiana University. Jordan was an outstanding scientist and the first layman to be named president of IU. He oversaw the university’s move to the new campus at Dunn’s Woods in 1885, secured money for new buildings from the legislature, introduced the major department system, lectured on the value of the university to the state of Indiana, and increased IU’s enrollment and its number of faculty members. Jordan resigned in 1891 to become president of Stanford University, a post he held until 1913. He died on September 19, 1931.

  • Elvis Jacob Stahr Jr.

    Elvis Jacob Stahr Jr. (1916-1998)
    Term of Office: 1962-1968
    Education: University of Kentucky (B.A.), Oxford University (B.A. 1938, B.C.L 1939, M.A. 1943), Yale University (M.A. 1943)
    Professional Background: U.S. Army lieutenant, professor of law at the University of Kentucky (1947), dean of the University of Kentucky College of Law (1948-1957), provost of the University of Kentucky (1954-1957), vice chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh (1957-1959), president of West Virginia University (1959-1961), Secretary of the Army (1961-1962)

    Elvis J. Stahr Jr. became Indiana University’s twelfth president in 1962 after serving as the secretary of the Army during the first two years of the Kennedy administration. Stahr’s presidency saw the Gary and Calumet campuses combined to form IU Northwest, the joint IU-Purdue University campus established in Fort Wayne, the founding of the School of Library and Information Science, and the affiliation of the Herron School of Art in Indianapolis with IU. Stahr resigned from IU in 1968 to accept the presidency of the National Audubon Society, a position he held until 1981. Between 1981 and his death in 1998, Stahr practiced law in Washington, D.C., and lobbied for environmental issues.

  • Herman B Wells

    Herman B Wells  (1902-2000)
    Term of Office: 1937 to 1938 (acting), 1938 to 1962 (president)-1968 (interim president)
    Education: Indiana University (B.S. 1924, M.A. 1927)
    Professional Background: Professor of economics and business administration at Indiana University (1933-1935), dean of Indiana University’s School of Business (1935-1937)

    In 1938, Herman B Wells was named Indiana University’s eleventh president, and at the age of 35, was the country’s youngest state university president. He served as president for a quarter century and remained a vital contributor as IU chancellor for another 37 years. His association with the institution spanned eight decades, dating from when he was a student to his death. Wells was an educational visionary who helped transform IU into an internationally recognized center of research and scholarship. Under the Wells presidency, IU experienced its greatest growth and widened its scope to encompass the globe. To many people, Wells was an icon for Indiana University.

  • John Hiram Lathrop

    John Hiram Lathrop (1799-1866)
    Term of Office: 1859-1860
    Education: Yale University (B.A. 1819), Hamilton College (LL.D. 1845)
    Professional Background: President of the University of Missouri (1840-1849), chancellor of the University of Wisconsin (1849-1859)

    After serving as the first president of the University of Missouri and the first chancellor of the University of Wisconsin, John Lathrop was named as Indiana University’s fourth president in 1859. He held the post for one year before accepting a professorship at the University of Missouri, stating he preferred faculty life to that of an administrator. In 1865 he was again made president of the University of Missouri and died in office in 1866.

  • John Merle Coulter

    John Merle Coulter  (1851-1928)
    Term of Office: 1891-1893
    Education:  Hanover College (B.A. 1870, M.A. 1873, Ph.D. 1883)
    Professional Background: Professor of natural sciences at Hanover College (1871-1879), professor of botany at Wabash College (1879-1891)

    Born in China to American missionary, parents, John Merle Coulter was a three-time graduate of Hanover College. He accepted the position of president and professor of botany at Indiana University in 1891. Perhaps the heaviest responsibility during his administration was replacing the faculty members that followed past-president David Starr Jordan to Stanford University. Coulter was also instrumental in continuing IU’s extension work, sending lecturers to the larger cities in the state. In 1893, Coulter resigned to accept the presidency of Lake Forest University, a position he held until 1896 when he accepted the appointment of professor and head of the botany department at the University of Chicago. He died December 23, 1928.

  • John William Ryan

    John William Ryan (1929-2011)
    Term of Office: 1971-1987
    Education: University of Utah (B.A. 1951), Indiana University (M.A. 1958, Ph.D. 1959)
    Professional Background: Professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin (1958-1962), assistant to the president and secretary of the University of Massachusetts (1961-1963), vice president for academic affairs at Arizona State University (1963-1965), chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Boston (1965-1968), vice president for regional campuses at Indiana University (1968-1971)

    John William Ryan became Indiana University’s fourteenth president on January 26, 1971. His 16 years of service to the university saw the establishment of IU campuses is New Albany and Richmond, the formation of various cultural centers on the Bloomington campus, and the journalism school becoming a system-wide entity. Ryan retired in 1987 and was immediately appointed president emeritus of Indiana University. He remained an active figure within the university, both as a professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs and as a member of several boards and committees until his death in 2011.

  • Joseph Lee Sutton

    Joseph Lee Sutton (1924-1972)
    Term of Office: 1968-1971
    Education:  University of Michigan (B.A. 1948, M.A. 1949, Ph.D. 1954)
    Professional Background: U.S. Army intelligence officer (1934-1946), professor of government at Indiana University (1953-1972), dean of IU’s College of Arts and Sciences (1965-1966), vice president and dean of the faculties at IU (1966-1968)

    Joseph Lee Sutton was an academic presence on the Indiana University Bloomington campus for 13 years before being named president in 1968. His tenure saw the dedication of the IU Main Library in 1970. Sutton resigned his position as president in 1971 but continued his work as a professor of political science at IU. He died on April 29, 1972, at the age of 48, as a result of injuries sustained in an automobile accident.

  • Joseph Swain

    Joseph Swain (1857-1927)
    Term of Office: 1893-1902
    Education:  Indiana University (B.A. 1883, M.S. 1885), Wabash College (LL.D. 1893)
    Professional Background: Professor of mathematics and biology at Indiana University (1883-1891), professor of mathematics at Stanford University (1891-1893)

    Joseph Swain was IU’s first Indiana-born president. A native of Pendleton, Indiana, he attended IU as an undergraduate and graduate student, and began his teaching career in IU’s departments of mathematics and biology. He left his professorship at IU in 1891 to follow departing IU president David Starr Jordan to Stanford Univeristy. He then accepted the invitation to return to IU as president in 1893, a position he held for nine years. Swain was a member of the Quaker Church, and though successful at IU, he ultimately accepted the invitation to become president of Swarthmore College in 1902. He retired from Swarthmore in 1921 as president emeritus and died six years later.

  • Lemuel Moss

    Lemuel Moss (1829-1904)
    Term of Office: 1875-1884
    Education:  Rochester University (B.A. 1858), Rochester Theological Seminary (1860)
    Professional Background: Professor of systematic theology at the University of Lewisburgh (1865-1868), professor at Crozier Theological Seminary (1868-1872), president of the University of Chicago (1874-1875)

    In September 1875, the Reverend Lemuel Moss, a Baptist minister, came to Indiana University as its sixth president. During his administration the curriculum was expanded and there was an attempt to reduce faculty teaching loads and increase professorial salaries. He resigned in November 1884 to become a lecturer on Christian sociology at Bucknell University. He died in New York on July 12, 1904.

  • Michael A. McRobbie

    Michael A. McRobbie (1950-)
    Term of Office: 2007-
    Education: University of Queensland, (B.A., Hons1, 1974), The Australian National University, (Ph.D. 1979)
    Professional Background: Interim provost and vice president for academic affairs, IU Bloomington (2006-2007); vice president for research, Indiana University (2003-2007); vice president for information technology and chief information officer, Indiana University (1997-2007); professor of information technology and chief executive officer of the Cooperative Research Center for Advanced Computational Systems, Institute of Advanced Study at the Australian National University (1990-96)

    Michael McRobbie became Indiana University’s 18th president on July 1, 2007. As a senior administrator at IU for the past decade, McRobbie has focused his attention on increasing external funding for IU programs with the goal of doubling such funding by 2010. He has been instrumental in securing multimillion dollar grants for life sciences initiatives such as the Indiana Metabolomics and Cytomics Initiative (METACyt) and the Indiana Genomics Initiative at IU (INGEN), as well as for the popular New Frontiers in the Arts and Humanities Program, which supports the creation of major new works of art in a variety of genres.

  • Myles Brand

    Myles Brand (1942-2009)
    Term of Office: 1994-2002
    Education: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (B.S. 1964), University of Rochester (Ph.D. 1967)
    Professional Background: Provost and vice president for academic affairs at Ohio State University (1986-1989), president of the University of Oregon (1989-1994)

    Myles Brand became Indiana University’s sixteenth president on August 1, 1994. He presided over a period of remarkable growth at IU, including record student enrollments and national leadership in information technology and the life sciences, while maintaining the university’s traditional strengths in the arts and humanities. TIME Magazine named IU Bloomington “College of the Year” among research universities in September 2001, based on the quality of its programs to help incoming students adjust to college life. Under Brand’s leadership, research grants and contracts more than doubled, and IU received the largest single private gift in its history, a $105 million grant from the Lilly Endowment to fund the Indiana Genomics Initiative. In 2001, IU was the leading public university in private-sector support. Dr. Brand served as president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

  • Thomas Ehrlich

    Thomas Ehrlich (1934-)
    Term of Office: 1987-1994
    Education:  Harvard College (B.A. 1956), Harvard Law School (LL.B. 1959)
    Professional Background: Professor of law at Stanford University (1965-1975), dean of the Stanford University Law School (1971-1975), president of the Legal Services Corporation (1976-1979), director of the International Development Cooperation Agency (1979-1980), provost and professor of law at the University of Pennsylvania (1982-1987)

    Thomas Ehrlich served seven years as the president of Indiana University after posts in government and the Ivy League. Though his academic background was in private institutions, he chose to lead a public university because of the responsibilities and challenges of providing both broad access and quality education. On retiring from IU, Ehrlich joined California State University as Distinguished University Scholar and held that position until 2000 when he became a senior scholar at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. He resides in Palo Alto, California.

  • William Lowe Bryan

    William Lowe Bryan (1860-1955)
    Term of Office: 1902-1937
    Education:  Indiana University (B.A. 1884, M.A. 1886), Clark University (Ph.D. 1892)
    Professional Background: Professor of philosophy at Indiana University (1885-1902), vice president of Indiana University (1893-1902)

    William Lowe Bryan, Indiana University’s tenth president, was born on a farm near Bloomington, Indiana. After graduating from IU with degrees in ancient classics and philosophy, his interests shifted toward psychology and Bryan went on to earn his Ph.D. in psychology from Clark University in 1892. That same year Bryan helped organize the American Psychological Association and became one of its charter members. He returned to IU in 1893 to accept a professorship in the psychology department and the appointment to vice president of the university. He succeeded Joseph Swain as president in 1902 and led the institution for 35 years until 1937, at which time he retired as president emeritus at the age of 76. Bryan presided over the transformation of IU from a small, traditional liberal arts college into a modern research university. His most notable accomplishment was the expansion of graduate and professional training. During his administration, schools of medicine, education, nursing, business, music, and dentistry were established. He died in Bloomington in 1955.

  • William Mitchel Daily

    William Mitchel Daily (1812-1877)
    Term of Office: 1853-1859
    Education:  Indiana University (B.A. 1836)
    Professional Background: Professor at St. Charles College, chaplain in the U.S. Congress (1844-1845), trustee of Indiana University (1853)

    After serving one and a half days as a Trustee of Indiana University, the Reverend William Daily was elected IU’s third president on August 2, 1853. He resigned under pressure on January 26, 1859.