Dear Friend of Indiana University:
Last month, I had the great pleasure of joining some of Indiana University’s loyal alumni in Naples, Florida, for an IU Foundation board meeting and our annual Winter College event, hosted by the IU Alumni Association.
The energy among those in attendance was, as always, palpable, and much of the buzz centered on the increasing momentum regarding For All: The Indiana University Bicentennial Campaign. In fact, the first of our regional For All campaign events was held following the board meeting and drew a crowd of more than 150 people.
Our ambitious goal for the campaign, for which we launched the public phase last September, is to raise $2.5 billion by the university’s bicentennial in 2020, and I am delighted to share the news that we are already more than halfway to that goal—having raised $1.35 billion, thanks to the generosity of nearly 220,000 supporters.
The For All campaign represents the first university-wide fund-raising campaign in IU’s nearly 200-year history. Funds raised will be crucial to ensuring IU remains one of the great universities of the world as it enters its third century of serving the state of Indiana, the nation and the world.
Central to the success of the campaign, as is the case with many of IU’s endeavors, will be the engagement of our large global alumni base, which today totals more than 650,000 people. Indeed, in many important ways, our alumni are the ties that bind the university together, representing the legacy of past generations of IU students while at the same time playing an invaluable role in ensuring our future success through their exceedingly generous gifts of time, energy and financial resources.
The campaign has already seen some spectacular gifts from great supporters of the university. But in the end, the success of this transformative campaign will depend on the support of thousands and thousands of individual supporters of the university, making selfless contributions to the campaign both large and small. All gifts are valued equally, and all are deeply and sincerely appreciated.
The university is also working hard to engage faculty and staff from all over its campuses in the campaign. The early results have been very encouraging and are indicative of the passion our employees feel for IU. Already, current and retired faculty have, remarkably, given nearly $70 million to the campaign.
In addition to the physical changes that are happening as a result of philanthropy, and which are easy to see all over the university, the For All campaign has a number of priorities focused on key aspects of IU’s missions of education, research and service. These are to:
- Enable student success and support
- Create the next generation of global leaders
- Discover ideas and innovations that change the way we live
- Create a healthier state, nation and world.
For example, scholarship and fellowship support is essential in attracting the finest students and ensuring their success. I am very pleased to report that we have raised funds that, to date, endow approximately 1,100 new student scholarships and nearly 40 new graduate fellowships, and will do all we can to continue to grow those numbers throughout the course of the campaign.
It also is of critical importance that we provide greater faculty support in the form of endowed chairs and professorships in order to attract and retain the very best faculty in a highly competitive marketplace for academic talent. So, I am delighted to further report that we have currently raised funds to endow more than 40 new endowed chairs and professorships toward our goal of at least 100.
We also expect philanthropy to play an important role in supporting the most ambitious research endeavor ever undertaken by IU: our $300 million Grand Challenges research initiative, which will fund up to five large-scale projects over the next five years that will be chosen for their excellence and the scope of impact they will have.
These projects, which are expected to add as many as 200 faculty members to the university, thus further strengthening our outstanding community of scholars, are designed to tackle some of the most pressing problems facing society today with an emphasis on improving the quality of life for Hoosiers. Five project teams, from an original group of 21, have been asked to present full proposals for consideration in April, with the first one or two project awards to be announced in June.
As you can see, our ambitions for the future of IU, as exemplified by the For All campaign, are lofty, and the university – as well as our indispensable partners at the IU Foundation – is hard at work to build on the momentum we have already generated. In addition to the regional campaign event in Florida, we have similar events planned throughout the year across the country in Washington, D.C., Chicago, San Francisco and New York City, and we are exploring the possibility of holding one overseas.
Additionally, I wanted to take just a moment to offer a preview of an exciting day of engagement coming this spring. On April 12, we will host our first-ever “IU Day,” 24 hours of online celebrations of all things IU designed to create enthusiasm for the university among IU alumni and friends around the world.
The day will include a series of entertaining videos, activities and fund-raising opportunities. Please stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks or visit iuday.iu.edu for the latest details.
Legendary IU President William Lowe Bryan, in his inaugural address in 1903, said that America’s democratic society had an obligation to provide paths for the people that would lead to the development of society at its best. He maintained that one of the principal paths was education.
While much has changed since President Bryan’s era, the desire of the citizens of Indiana and the nation for their children to have access to a quality, relevant education that will lead to fulfilling careers and satisfying lives has remained constant. As we approach the end of two centuries of service, IU's commitment to providing such an education has also remained constant and unwavering.
We owe a great deal to all those who have given much to make IU what it is today and to those who will give in support of IU’s bright future. I invite you to watch this brief message of thanks from all of us at IU.
As always, we couldn’t do it without the support of our alumni and friends around the world, for which I offer the university’s deepest gratitude.
Michael A. McRobbie
President, Indiana University