Singapore Alumni Reception and Dinner

Garden Level, Suite 5
Mandarin Hotel
May 25, 2014

Introduction and Thanks

Thank you, Mr. Chua,1 for that kind introduction, and for your leadership of the Singapore chapter of the IU Alumni Association.

And thanks too, to all members of the executive board of the chapter for all you have done for IU, and to all of you for being here tonight for what is a record attendance at an event of the Singapore Chapter.

Purpose and Overview of Trip

Our visit to Singapore is part of a broader visit to five countries in Asia, aimed at expanding IU’s partnerships with some of Asia’s leading universities and meeting with many of our dedicated and enthusiastic Asian alumni.

Through these partnerships we seek to increase opportunities for IU students to study abroad; diversify and increase our international student base at IU; and support collaborative research opportunities for our faculty and students.

We have already visited Tokyo and Osaka in Japan, and, in Beijing in China, we opened our IU China Gateway Office located in the Tsinghua University Science Park. This is our first operational international gateway office. This is a superb facility that will serve as a home base for IU activities in China. It will support scholarly research and teaching, conferences and workshops, study abroad programs, distance learning initiatives, student recruitment activities, executive and corporate training, alumni events, and much, much more.

The IU China Gateway Office will give IU faculty and students greater access to opportunities in China, and at the same time, it will allow our China-based students, alumni, and university partners to connect directly with IU. The first event at IU’s China Gateway Office will be held tomorrow!

On this visit to Asia we will next be visiting Vietnam—incidentally, the first visit by an IU presidential delegation to Vietnam; and finally, Hong Kong.

By the way, if you are interested in following the progress of our delegation in more detail, you can find a link to a daily blog of our activities at the main IU website.

Indiana, IU, and Singapore

This is my second visit to Singapore as president of IU, and of course with my Australian background, I have been here many times before. I first visited Singapore in 1980, and over the nearly 35 years since then, I have seen the remarkable change that has transformed Singapore into one of the most prosperous and technologically advanced countries in the world. I was last here two years ago, and had the pleasure of meeting with many of you then.

There are many ties between the state of Indiana and Singapore.

A number of Indiana-based companies, including pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and diesel engine maker Cummins, have subsidiaries in Singapore.

And, of course, over the years, IU has welcomed many Singaporean students, scholars and dignitaries who have visited our campuses. As well, many of our students, faculty, and staff have close personal and scholarly ties to Singapore.

Academically, our closest partnership in Singapore is with the National University of Singapore, where we are pursuing collaborative efforts involving two of our most renowned schools, the Kelley School of Business, and the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

IU is one of The Most International Universities

Another successful academic year has just ended at Indiana University, and I am delighted to share some of the university’s recent achievements.

IU continues to be one of the most international universities in the U.S.

IU Bloomington ranks 10th out of more than 1,200 American universities in the number of international students enrolled. This international diversity helps prepare our students for careers in the global workforce.

As I mentioned before, one of the goals of our visit to Singapore is to find ways to increase the numbers of Singaporean students studying at IU and the number of IU students studying abroad in Singapore.

I had the pleasure of meeting some of our newest Singaporean IU students just before this reception, and they are with us this evening. Once again, we want to welcome these new students to IU and we look forward to greeting you on campus very soon.

Please join me in a round of applause to welcome our newest students. 

At Indiana University, we believe that study and service abroad are vital parts of a 21st Century education meant to prepare our students to live and work in a flat world. 

We are very proud that IU Bloomington ranks a remarkable fifth among American universities in the number of students who study abroad.

IU Remains a Top University in Terms of its Programs

As alumni, you will also be pleased to know that IU also remains a top university in terms of its programs.

Our Kelley School of Business undergraduate program is ranked number one in terms of student quality by recruiters. The Kelley School’s full-time MBA program is ranked 15th overall, and fourth among public universities.

Our School of Public and Environmental Affairs graduate program has been ranked second in the country.

Many departments and programs in our College of Arts and Sciences are ranked among the top 20 in the nation.

And our Jacobs School of Music is ranked as the best of its kind in the nation by several publications.

New Academic Developments

In the last three years, we have also created six new schools at IU.

The new Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, for example, is the world’s first school dedicated to the academic study of philanthropy.

We also created the new Fairbanks School of Public Health in Indianapolis, and the new School of Public Health in Bloomington. These schools are improving public health by conducting high-quality research and by educating the next generation of public health professionals.

We also combined IU’s highly ranked School of Library and Information Science with the School of Informatics to form the new, and much larger, School of Informatics and Computing.

We are also about to launch a new Media School within the College of Arts and Sciences, which will merge our programs in our School of Journalism with our programs in telecommunications; communications and culture; and film studies. All of these areas are changing rapidly, and the new Media School will help IU remain a leader in teaching and research in these fields.

But perhaps the most significant new school is our new School of Global and International Studies. And, as I said when our Trustees approved the creation of the new School of Global and International Studies, the decision to create the school was one of the most important academic actions ever taken in IU’s history. There is almost no area of American society today that is not affected by global forces and developments.

As many of you know, IU has great strengths in global studies. We teach over 70 languages—more than any other university in the United States. We have a large number of centers that focus on the history, cultures, religions, politics, economies, institutions, art, and literature of every region of the world. Eleven of these centers receive funding under the U.S. Department of Education’s prestigious Title VI program. Again, this is more than any other university in the U.S.

The School of Global and International Studies brings all these programs together and positions IU as a leader in the study of global forces and developments.

And we are now creating a new Center for Southeast Asian and ASEAN2 studies, based in this school. This will be one of the very few centers at any American university focused on the study of ASEAN.

And we will be delighted to hear a little later from the first American Ambassador to ASEAN and IU alumnus, David Carden.

A splendid new building, which will house the new School of Global and International Studies, is also under construction in Bloomington. Incidentally, half of the cost of this building is coming from IU’s share of the revenue from the Big Ten Network. So remember, when you are watching and cheering on the Hoosiers, you are also supporting the academic mission of Indiana University.

Building for Excellence

Across IU, over the last seven years, we have seen one of the most active periods—in terms of the construction of new buildings and the renovation of our existing buildings—in IU’s history.

We have seen the construction or renovation of over 50 major new buildings at IU, as well as hundreds of smaller renovation projects, with a total value of over $1.5 billion. And this includes a number of major new buildings for the Kelley School of Business, the Jacobs School of Music, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the School of Medicine.


I have just given the briefest of summaries of all of the remarkable developments that have occurred at IU over the last seven years. If you want to follow these changes in more detail, then please sign up to receive my monthly President’s Updates. Eric DeHaan will send you an email at the conclusion of this reception describing how to do so.

Let me conclude by thanking you once again for being here this evening and for all that you do for Indiana University. 

Our more than 600,000 alumni are this university’s greatest ambassadors—none more so than our Singaporean alumni. Your successes are a vital part of IU’s great traditions of educational accomplishment. 

Thank you for all that you do for Indiana University.

[Following dinner, President McRobbie presented the Thomas Hart Benton Medallion to Ambassador David Carden.]

Presentation of Thomas Hart Benton Medallion

Thank you again, Mr. Chua. 

As I have said on many occasions, IU graduates are among the most dedicated and loyal to their alma mater of any that I have encountered in my extensive travels. The spirit of IU may seem like it is thousands of miles away, but it is also right here in this room tonight, with you, some of our most dedicated alumni. You are part of the spirit of Indiana University, and your successes are the university’s successes.

Tonight, it is my honor to celebrate one alumnus whose public service and professional accomplishments have brought great distinction to Indiana University: Ambassador David L. Carden.

Ambassador Carden is a native Hoosier. He was born in Speedway, Indiana, which is, of course, the home of the famous Indianapolis 500 auto race (which is being run today, incidentally). 

He attended DePauw University in Indiana, and then came to Indiana University, where he earned a law degree from what is now the Maurer School of Law. He has also served as a member of the Board of Visitors of the Maurer School of Law.

From 2011 to 2013, he served as the first resident ambassador of the United States to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN. 

As Ambassador, he oversaw the broadening of engagement between the United States and the nations of Southeast Asia, including Singapore. He traveled throughout Asia and the 10 ASEAN member states, working to address issues including economic development, trade liberalization, developing more effective governance, pandemic prevention, advancing healthcare and education, environmental protection, responding to deforestation and climate change, food and water security, historical and cultural preservation, and many other issues.

An attorney for more than 30 years, Ambassador Carden has a passionate interest in the fundamental principles of human rights. 

He is now Partner-in-Charge of Asia at Jones Day, a leading international law firm, where he also served as a partner prior to his tenure as Ambassador.

In 2012, we were privileged to host Ambassador Carden at Indiana University Bloomington as he delivered the Commencement address to students earning Master’s and doctoral degrees. I am very pleased to have his opportunity to honor him this evening. 

Ambassador Carden, would you join me at the podium? 

Ambassador Carden, you have achieved great distinction in your career. You have, throughout your career as a diplomat and an international attorney, helped to deepen and strengthen international understanding and cooperation. And, as the first Ambassador of the United States to ASEAN, you worked tirelessly to assist the member states of ASEAN in protecting and developing the natural and human systems upon which their 600 million people depend.

To recognize distinction such as yours, the university established the Thomas Hart Benton Medallion. First given in 1986, the bronze medal features the Benton Mural, which is located in the IU Auditorium. The reverse side has the Seal of the University. It symbolizes the aspirations and ideals that are the foundation of the search for knowledge.

And so, by the authority vested in me by the Trustees of Indiana University, and in acknowledgement of all that you have done and continue to do for the university, I present to you, Ambassador David L. Carden, the Thomas Hart Benton Medallion. 


Source Notes

  1. Philip Chua, MBA ‘88

  2. Association of Southeast Asian Nations