Dear Friend of Indiana University,

Recently, I was once again struck by the spirit of philanthropy that has made American higher education the best in the world and has allowed Indiana University to pursue its vision of being one of the 21st century’s premier research universities.

In new rankings released by the Council for Aid to Education, IU ranked first in the Big Ten, first among public universities, and 10th among all U.S. colleges and universities in the amount of support it received from the private sector last fiscal year. 

Together, all IU campuses received more than $342 million in gifts and non-governmental research grant funds in FY2010. This total represented a 38.5 percent increase over FY2009.  The nation’s top 10 institutions in “total voluntary support” are as follows:

  1. Stanford University — $598,890,327
  2. Harvard University — 596,963,000
  3. Johns Hopkins University — 427,593,283
  4. University of Southern Calif. — 426,016,332
  5. Columbia University — 402,356,576
  6. University of Pennsylvania — 381,591,586
  7. Yale University — 380,903,371
  8. New York University — 349,213,948
  9. Duke University — 345,468,017
  10. INDIANA UNIVERSITY — 342,818,089*

* Denotes public university

This extraordinary level of support—which we have received in spite of an ongoing economic recession—is an indication of the deep level of commitment and confidence that IU alumni and friends have in our institution. It also reflects the substantial impact that IU donors have had on our efforts to build upon our legacy of academic and research excellence and fully engage in the economic and social development of our state, nation, and world. 


Essential to building a great university is a great faculty, and private-sector support has been a major factor in IU’s ability to recruit and retain the best researchers, scholars, teachers, and creative artists from around the world. It has provided for endowed faculty chairs, first-rate teaching and learning facilities, and other support for our faculty to pursue world-class and path-breaking scholarly work.

A majority of our newest faculty members recruited externally at IU Bloomington and IUPUI have come from member institutions of the Association of American Universities (AAU), which includes the nation’s top 61 major research universities. Others have come from top-ranked medical and music institutions and other well-regarded schools in the U.S. and worldwide.

Our faculty members represent the best of the best, and this is reflected in the numerous national and international accolades they have received. Drawn from our current faculty, five scholars from IU Bloomington were recently inducted into the American Association for the Advancement of Science, giving the university a total of 55 fellows in that prestigious association. We also have 21 faculty members in the National Academies, 21 in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; five in the American Philosophical Society, one of this nation’s oldest scholarly societies founded by Benjamin Franklin; and one fellow of the Royal Society, the British Commonwealth’s largest and most important scholarly society and one of the oldest and most prestigious such societies in the world.

And I never tire of mentioning Distinguished Professor Elinor Ostrom winning the 2009 Nobel Prize in Economics. With Professor Ostrom’s prize and Purdue University’s 2010 prize in Chemistry, the state of Indiana has been home to two Nobel laureates in the last two years, a remarkable statement about the level of research being conducted at this state’s major public research universities. The only other state that matches that remarkable feat is Massachusetts with consecutive Nobels at Harvard and MIT, two private universities.


The quality of IU’s faculty research is undeniable. So, too, is the impact it is having on fueling economic growth and improving quality of life locally, nationally, and internationally.

Recently, it was announced that Carmel, Ind.-based biopharmaceutical company Marcadia Biotech was purchased by life-sciences leader Roche for what could amount to more than $500 million. Marcadia, which focuses on treatments for diabetes and obesity, was co-founded in 2005 by Richard DiMarchi, the Linda and Jack Gill Chair in Biomolecular Science and a professor of chemistry at IU Bloomington, and the late August “Gus” Watanabe, former chair of the Department of Medicine at the IU School of Medicine.

The research performed by Professor DiMarchi and his team carries enormous promise for the development of therapeutic medicines that will be significantly more effective than anything in use today. These discoveries will quite likely have a substantial impact on the lives of millions of people around the world.


All of us should take great pride in the outstanding accomplishments of our faculty and in the support of our many generous alumni and friends whose contributions allow IU to dream even bigger dreams. Theirs is the spirit of excellence that thrives across our great university.

Yours sincerely,

Michael A. McRobbie