Dinner in Celebration of Dean Craig Brater

Indiana Roof Ballroom
Indianapolis, Indiana
June 25, 2013


It is a great, though somewhat bittersweet, pleasure to be here this evening as we celebrate the tremendous contributions that Craig has made to Indiana University, the IU School of Medicine, and the health of people in the state of Indiana and around the globe.

I can and do echo all of the praise that Dan and the others speakers have already rightly bestowed on Craig, but of course I would like to add my own words of praise as well.

The Visionary Leadership of Craig Brater

Craig truly is one of the most senior and well-respected medical deans in the country, and he has overseen an era of remarkable progress in the School of Medicine.

During his 13-year tenure, we have seen the IU School of Medicine grow in stature as a global leader in medical education and research. The school has increased the number of students it serves, even as the number of highly qualified applicants has steadily climbed. The number of faculty in the school has doubled. We have seen the school attract many millions of dollars in grants and awards. And we have seen major contributions to global public health and a transformation of Indiana’s life sciences economy.

And Craig Brater’s visionary leadership has helped to make much of this success possible.

Research Excellence

At about the time Craig became dean, the IU School of Medicine conducted a strategic review that showed that although the school had strong clinical and educational programs, it wasn’t among the national leaders in research.

Craig strongly believed that research must be a major mission of a medical school, especially for a school that is part of a major research university. He also realized that research activity has not only a direct economic impact in the community, but also an indirect “multiplier effect.”  He also quite rightly believed that excellence in research is critical in maintaining the quality of the school’s educational mission.

Under Craig’s leadership, the school has seen record-breaking levels of externally sponsored research funding. External funding for research has more than doubled. We have seen the annual total of external funds rise fairly steadily from around $130 million in the first year of his tenure to $272 million last year.

Half of that funding came from the National Institutes of Health. Researchers compete for NIH funds against peers from around the nation, and the work they do with these funds improves the quality of life for all Americans. In fiscal year 2011, the IU School of Medicine ranked 17th in the country among medical schools at public universities in term of the mount of NIH funding it received.

And the groundwork is in place that will enable excellence in research well into the future. The School of Medicine and IU Health, for example, announced last year that they will invest $150 million over five years in a new research collaboration, the Strategic Research Initiative, that will enhance the institutions’ joint capabilities in fundamental scientific investigation, translational research, and clinical trials that will result in innovative treatments for disease.

Expansion of Facilities

Of course, under Craig’s visionary leadership, the School of Medicine and its close partner, IU Health, have added a number of excellent new facilities for research, education, and patient care.

These include:

  • multipurpose facilities on the Fort Wayne and South Bend campuses,
  • the Health Information and Translational Sciences Building, which opened in 2007,
  • the IU Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center, which is nationally recognized as a premier cancer center, and which was dedicated in 2008,
  • Fairbanks Hall, which also opened in 2008,
  • Joseph Walther Hall, which was dedicated in 2009 and is the IU School of Medicine’s largest research building at 238,371-square-feet,


  • the Eugene & Marilyn Glick Eye Institute, which we dedicated in 2011.

These new facilities have added more than a million square feet of research and teaching space.

And, of course, the Neuroscience Research Building is currently under construction and close to completion here in Indianapolis. When completed, the Neuroscience Research Building will connect to the IU Health Neuroscience Center and the two buildings will collectively represent one of the largest collections of neuroscience researchers and clinicians in the country.

And there is also a $54 million building under construction on the Purdue University campus that will house a regional medical education center of the IU School of Medicine.

Success in Securing Philanthropic Support

Another measure of Craig’s success as dean is the extraordinary numbers of philanthropic gifts to the School of Medicine that have been received during his tenure.

During his tenure:

  • 53 endowed chairs,
  • 36 endowed professorships,
  • 157 student scholarship funds, 
  • more than 300 new funds in support of research endeavors or other programs in the school were established.

Those gifts provided support for path-breaking academic initiatives and they allow the school’s faculty to conduct groundbreaking research that is critical to improving the health and well being of citizens of our state and nation.

Among the IU School of Medicine’s many vital partners, of course, has been Lilly Endowment, and I want to recognize Clay Robbins, the president and CEO of Lilly Endowment, who is here tonight. During Craig’s tenure, Lilly Endowment has generously given a number of major grants to the school, and Craig, of course, played a critical role in helping to secure those grants and in the implementation of the programs those grants supported. Those included grants that created and supported the Indiana Genomics Initiative, and a grant in support of the Indiana Physician Scientist Initiative, which supports the recruitment of scientists and other research initiatives.

And it would be remiss of me not to thank Stephanie Brater for so selflessly sharing Craig with us for so many years.  Stephanie, you have been a magnificent First Lady of the IU School of Medicine.

Awards and Honors

Craig, of course, has been honored extensively for his contributions to medicine, medical education, and public health.

He has been awarded memberships in the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians and mastership in the American College of Physicians.

He has received the PhRMA Foundation Award in Excellence in Clinical Pharmacology and the American College of Clinical Pharmacology’s Distinguished Investigator Award.

He received the Oscar B. Hunter Memorial Award in Therapeutics from the American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics—the highest award given by the premier organization representing clinical pharmacology.

He also received Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Duke University School of Medicine—his alma mater—in 2000.

The Indiana Public Health Foundation honored him with its Lifetime Achievement Award for Distinguished Service in Years of Health Advancement in 2007.

He received an honorary degree from Purdue University in 2008.

And he has been inducted into the Royal College of Physicians of Thailand, which is a rare honor for a non-Thai citizen, as they induct only one non-Thai citizen each year.

Bestowing the University Medal

In recognition of the depth of Craig’s dedication to Indiana University, to the IU School of Medicine, to the people of this state, it is my great pleasure to add to his many honors this evening.

Craig, would you join me at the podium?

Created in 1982, the University Medal is the highest award Indiana University has to give. It is awarded at the recommendation of the president and with the approval of the IU Board of Trustees. Tonight is only 14th time in the university’s history that the medal has been awarded.

In each case, the recipient has transformed the face of the university through extraordinary and historic contributions. The form of this award, authorized by the Trustees, is an 18-karat gold medal bearing the Indiana University seal. Accompanying the medal is an official university parchment that reads:

“Indiana University gratefully recognizes the outstanding contributions of D. Craig Brater, Dean and Walter J. Daly Professor in the Indiana University School of Medicine and Vice President for University Clinical Affairs, by bestowing upon him the University Medal in recognition of extraordinary achievement, visionary leadership, and unswerving commitment to the public good. Given this twenty-fifth day of June, two thousand thirteen in Indianapolis, Indiana.”

And so, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Trustees of Indiana University, in gratitude for his extraordinary service to the university over nearly three decades, I am privileged and honored to name Craig Brater the latest recipient of the Indiana University Medal.

Would everyone please help me thank Craig for his innumerable contributions to Indiana University with a round of applause?