Celebrating Jane Fortune

Basile Auditorium
Eskenazi Hall
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
Indianapolis, Indiana
November 4, 2013


Thank you, Charles [Bantz].

Let me first thank you and Sandra for hosting us all for what promises to be a wonderful evening.

I am delighted to see that we have been joined by so many friends of Indiana University and of the Herron School of Art and Design.

I am very pleased that the Vice Chair of the Indiana University Board of Trustees, MaryEllen Bishop, is here this evening with her husband, Michael. Would you join me in welcoming them?

I am also very pleased to welcome Brandon Herget, the regional director in the Indianapolis office of U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly. Would you join me in welcoming him?

My wife, Laurie, and I are very pleased to be here to welcome all of you to this special evening with author, art historian, philanthropist, and great friend of the Herron School of Art and Design, Jane Fortune, and to a screening of the award winning documentary based on her book, Invisible Women—Forgotten Artists of Florence.

Celebrating Herron's Excellence

It is always a pleasure to be here in Eskenazi Hall, home to a school that continues to distinguish itself at the highest level: the Herron School of Art and Design. In the last year alone, I have had a number of occasions to help celebrate the accomplishments of the school’s faculty and alumni.

Just last month, at the annual Academic Excellence Dinner, I had the privilege of presenting the highest honor an IU president can bestow—the President’s Medal for Excellence—to Professor Phillip Tennant, who retired from the school’s faculty in May after a distinguished career of 38 years. Professor Tennant founded the furniture design program in the Herron School of Art and Design and helped develop it into one of the top programs of its kind in the United States. Examples of his technically and aesthetically sophisticated furniture pieces are part of the “Fearless Furniture” exhibit at the Indiana State Museum. Nearly half of the pieces in the exhibit are by Herron graduates and faculty.

Phil is here this evening, as well. Would you join me in congratulating him once again on his long and distinguished career and on receiving the President’s Medal?

And earlier this year, in Bloomington, we dedicated what was, at the time, the fastest university-owned supercomputer in the world. As part of that ceremony, we also dedicated a beautiful stainless steel and bronze sculpture, titled “Basic Action,” which was created by eminent sculptor and Herron alumnus Don Gummer. A number of Don’s works, of course, have either been on temporary loan or are on permanent exhibit here on the IUPUI campus. “Basic Action” was commissioned to honor Indiana University’s 16th president, the late Myles Brand. Among his many other accomplishments, Myles was one of the first university presidents in the nation to truly recognize the emerging importance of information technology in higher education, and Don’s sculpture is on permanent exhibit outside the entrance of Bloomington’s Cyberinfrastructure Building, which houses part of the university’s information technology organization services. We were delighted to welcome Don and his wife, Meryl Streep—who are wonderful supporters of Herron—to Bloomington for the dedication.

Jane Fortune

Tonight, we have the great pleasure of learning more about the work of another of the great friends of the Herron School of Art and Design: Jane Fortune.

Jane is, of course, a wonderfully generous supporter of Herron’s art collections and programs, and an honorary member of Herron’s Dean’s Advisory Board.

A Herron lecture series named in her honor brings a prominent woman artist to campus each year.

She played an instrumental role in the acquisition and permanent installation of Judith Shea’s bronze sculpture, “Job,” which, of course, is just outside the main entrance to this building.

She also serves on the national advisory board of the Indiana University Art Museum in Bloomington, and she is a founding member of IU’s Women's Philanthropy Council, which my wife, Laurie, leads as its founding co-chair.

In 2010, I had the great pleasure of presenting Jane with an honorary Indiana University degree during the IUPUI Commencement ceremony, in recognition of her many contributions—of local and international scope—to the arts, to education, and to philanthropy.

Jane is a true champion of the arts, and particularly of the often-overlooked achievements of women artists, as you will see tonight.

So, now, I’ll ask Chancellor Bantz to tell us a bit more about Jane and her work and to bring her to the stage.