Dear Friend of Indiana University,

The relative peace and quiet of an Indiana summer has officially come to an end, but in a very good way. With the start of classes on five of our campuses this week, along with IUPUI and IU Kokomo where classes began last week, we now have more than 100,000 IU students enrolled for the fall semester.

Final enrollment data will not be available for a few weeks, but it appears that this year’s enrollment once again will be at or near record levels. I am extremely proud to report that this year’s incoming freshman class is expected to be one of the strongest ever at IU.

For example, this year’s freshman class at IU Bloomington includes more than 90 Indiana high school valedictorians and the number of students who earned SAT scores of 1300 or higher is expected to increase by nearly 20 percent from last year. The number of freshmen at IUPUI with SAT scores of at least 1100 is expected to also increase by about 20 percent.

Across most of our regional campuses the number of students who earned Indiana Academic Honors diplomas and/or who were designated as 21st Century Scholars by the state is expected to increase from last year—and in some cases, such as at IU Northwest and IU Southeast, by 40 percent or more.

The figures are the latest indication that students from Indiana and around the world continue to value an IU education. While we are most appreciative of the continued affirmation we receive from current and prospective students and their families, everyone at IU realizes that we must continue to earn that trust each and every day.

Two important ways we pursue that goal are to continually explore avenues to keep an IU education affordable and to do everything in our power to help more of our undergraduate students earn degrees in four years—two objectives that were highlighted in President Obama’s recent proposals on higher education.

To that end, our undergraduate tuition and fee increases of 1.75 percent for most resident students and 2.75 percent for non-resident students were the lowest in at least 40 years, reflecting both our continued work to control operational spending and a welcome increase in state funding in the recently completed biennial budget session.
Beyond that, nearly 11,000 juniors and seniors at IU who are on track to graduate in four years will see no increase at all this fall under our new “Finish in Four” program. Efforts such as these, combined with a doubling of university financial aid to students over the past five years, are indicative of our commitment to keeping costs at IU—already the lowest in the Big Ten as measured by average net cost of attendance at our Bloomington campus—reasonable.

Each new academic year brings its share of changes to IU, some easily recognizable by virtually anyone who visits one of our campuses; others more subtle or specific to particular programs or locations. I would like to highlight just a few of the programs, projects, facilities and people new to the university this fall:

Improving the residential student experience

Even as we strive to keep costs down, IU continues to invest in ways to improve the student experience with two visible examples opening this fall on our largest campuses:

  • In Bloomington, the new Rose Avenue Residence Hall on the southeast side of campus continues a recent renaissance in on-campus housing. The state-of-the-art residence hall will be home to 440 students in a variety of living arrangements. Rose Avenue features four double rooms assigned to bathrooms controlled by card access with storage lockers for each student, two-person suites with shared baths and single rooms with private baths.In fall 2014, it will be home to the new Living Learning Center affiliated with the School of Education. Interior features include a fitness area and dance studio, classrooms, coffee house, music practice rooms, academic advisor offices, a “Libraries/Movies/Music and More” service center run by our residential programs office, a student government office, a computer center and collaborative work area.
  • In Indianapolis, our new University Tower Residence Hall opened last week on the site of the former University Place Hotel, part of which also has been converted to a much-needed classroom space called Hine Hall in honor of IUPUI’s first chancellor, Dr. Maynard K. Hine. University Tower has residential space for 560 students. Each residence hall room includes a private bath and a closet, along with beds, desks and dressers handpicked by a select group of students during the planning process for the new facility. University Tower offers wired and wireless Internet connections, a computer lab, informal learning spaces, a game room, a fitness center, a laundry facility and academic support services. In addition, Tower Dining—IUPUI’s first residential dining facility, which also is open to faculty, staff and the general public—can serve up to 470 people at a time and offers a diverse selection of food options.

Regional campus improvements

Our five IU-managed regional campuses—IU Southeast, IU East, IU Kokomo, IU South Bend and IU Northwest—provide a brand name college education tailored to the specific needs of nearly 30,000 students a year, almost all of them from Indiana.

Our regional campuses also serve as critical components of their home communities and regions, and we are proud of the role they play in improving the quality of life and education across the state. As such, we continue to invest heavily in upgrading the quality of the facilities at our regional campuses as well as increasing the academic offerings to reflect the diverse needs of the state. For example:

  • IU Kokomo is expanding its academic offerings with a new Bachelor of Science program in hospitality and tourism. This program is another example of our regional campuses providing programs that meet the needs of their local communities. Students, faculty and staff also will now have a place to exercise on campus as the Milt and Jean Cole Family Wellness and Fitness Center opens this semester. The 22,000-square-foot facility is fully stocked with fitness equipment and includes a walking track and health sciences classrooms.
  • Similarly, in response to a need in the community IU South Bend is now offering a bachelor’s degree in social work in addition to its existing master’s degree program. Students will also benefit from renovations to the Education and Arts building, which bring the latest technology and other updates to the classroom and lab spaces.
  • The enrollment growth streak at IU East in Richmond continues for an impressive 16 straight semesters (including summers) this fall. Additionally, the campus is nearing completion of a successful capital campaign that eventually will result in a new student events center on the campus.
  • At IU Southeast in New Albany, in just another example of the campus’ strong ties to the region, the School of Education recently launched the New Neighbors Education Center (NNEC). This center is a comprehensive endeavor designed to foster the academic success of all students, promote intercultural awareness and encourage inclusive schools and communities through support of school districts, P-12 teachers, community organizations and state entities.
  • IU Northwest in Gary will be a bigger player in intercollegiate athletics going forward as the campus has committed to adding three new sports over the next two years. To meet the increased needs, the campus is renovating its gymnasium and adding a strength and conditioning room to its existing athletics facilities.

This year also will be the first full academic year for a number of new deans and new schools at IU:

  • At Bloomington, Dean Mohammad Torabi of the new School of Public Health and Dean Idalene Kesner of the Kelley School of Business.
  • At Indianapolis, Dean Gene Tempel of the new Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, Dean Paul Halverson of the new Fairbanks School of Public Health and Dean Andrew Klein of the McKinney School of Law.

Leadership changes to help shape IU’s future

Everyone associated with Indiana University should take pride in the outstanding leadership team at IU that is responsible for guiding much of the positive change we have experienced over the past several years. I am pleased to welcome three new permanent members to my cabinet, as well as three new regional campus chancellors.

Dr. Jay Hess will join IU on September 3 as university vice president for clinical affairs, a cabinet-level position, and as dean of the IU School of Medicine. Jay comes to us most recently from the University of Michigan Medical School, where he was the Carl V. Weller Professor and chair of the Department of Pathology and professor of internal medicine.

MaryFrances McCourt was appointed as vice president and chief financial officer on a permanent basis early this month. MaryFrances had been serving as interim CFO since January, and prior to that had been IU’s treasurer since 2005, a position she will continue to hold.

I also took great pleasure in adding James Wimbush to my cabinet this month as vice president for diversity, equity and multicultural affairs. James has had an outstanding career at IU, most recently dean of the University Graduate School, a role that he will keep.

I also want to extend warm welcomes to our two new regional campus chancellors, Terry Allison at IU South Bend and Kathryn Cruz-Uribe at IU East, as well as to Barbara Bichelmeyer who will serve as interim chancellor at IU Southeast for this academic year, in addition to her continued leadership role with IU Online.

Finally, I want to take just a moment to acknowledge our ongoing efforts to attract and retain the best faculty members from around the country to our campuses. In fact, in the past year approximately 200 new tenure or tenure-track faculty members have joined IU—more than 90 at IU Bloomington and about 75 at IUPUI.

Our faculty represents some of the leading scholars and researchers in the world, and we are excited about the contributions our newest members will make to the university.

IU welcomes new trustees

Two internationally renowned business leaders and public servants joined one of the university’s most accomplished students as new members of the Indiana University Board of Trustees in August through appointments by Indiana Governor Mike Pence. They are:

Randall Tobias, former CEO at Eli Lilly and Co., and former administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development and the country’s first Global AIDS coordinator. He also is a member of the board at the IU Foundation and served as a trustee at Duke University for 13 years and chair of the board for three years. Randy, a 1964 graduate of IU Bloomington with a bachelor’s degree in marketing, is a member of the IU Foundation’s President’s Circle and in 2004 established the Tobias Center for Leadership Excellence at the IU Kelley School of Business.

James T. Morris, president of Pacers Sports and Entertainment and former executive director of the United Nations World Food Programme, as well as former CEO of Indianapolis Water Co. Jim, who graduated from IU Bloomington with a bachelor’s degree in government in 1965, previously served as an IU trustee from 1996 to 2002 and as board president from 2000 to 2002. He currently is a member of the IU Foundation Board.

Janice Farlow, currently an M.D.-Ph.D. candidate at the IU School of Medicine and a former Wells Scholar at IU Bloomington. Janice, a graduate of Lawrence North High School in Indianapolis, earned bachelor’s degrees, with honors, in biology and romance languages at IU Bloomington. She currently is studying medical and molecular genetics and is a member of the Medical Student Council at the School of Medicine.

In addition, Governor Pence appointed Derica Rice, chief financial officer for Eli Lilly and Co., to a second term and MaryEllen Bishop, an attorney with the Indianapolis firm of Cohen, Garelick and Glazier, was elected to her second three-year term by IU alumni earlier this summer.

Randy and Jim succeed Bruce Cole and Bill Strong, both of whom served one term as trustee. Janice will succeed Cora Griffin as student trustee. I want to thank Bruce, Bill and Cora for their outstanding service on the board and their strong commitment to IU.

Randy, Jim and Derica were appointed to three-year terms, while Janice was appointed to the customary two-year term as student trustee. Congratulations also are in order for Tom Reilly, who was named board chair at the August meeting, and to MaryEllen who was selected as vice chair.

As I enter my seventh year as president, I am more optimistic than ever about the future of Indiana University. Over the past six years, we have consistently proven that IU is up to the task of preparing our students to succeed in a highly competitive global society, while also remaining true to our mission as a leading research institution and a pillar of Indiana’s economy.

We have created new and exciting schools, and rethought the way we do business to become more efficient. We have worked hard to keep IU affordable while upholding the highest standards of quality. We have been steadfast in our stewardship of IU’s resources and have met the challenges of today with one eye squarely focused on the future.

A major part of our success is the support and commitment of our vast alumni network and friends across Indiana and around the world. As always, thanks for helping us keep Indiana University strong.

Yours sincerely,

Michael A. McRobbie