A Celebration of Leadership

Gene Tempel, the Founding Dean of the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy
Indiana State Museum
Indianapolis, Indiana
September 4, 2014

Introduction and Acknowledgements

Thank you, Amy (Conrad Warner).

I am very pleased to be here this evening to honor the service of one of the country’s most respected experts and scholars on philanthropy and the founding dean of the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, Gene Tempel.

That so many distinguished friends and colleagues from the university, the non-profit sector, and the community have gathered to pay tribute to Gene is testimony to the breadth and depth of his service over many years and a measure of the esteem in which he is held.

I am pleased that my wife, the First Lady of Indiana University, Laurie Burns McRobbie, is here with me tonight; as is my daughter, Arabella.

I am especially pleased to welcome a number of members of the Indiana University Board of Trustees. I will ask them to stand as I introduce them, and I ask that you hold your applause until all are introduced. With us are MaryEllen Bishop and her husband, Michael; Phil Eskew and his wife, Ann; Jim Morris and his wife, Jackie; and Janice Farlow, our student trustee.

Would you join me in welcoming our trustees?

We are also joined this evening by three members of the IU Foundation Board of Directors, all of whom are also former trustees of the university. With us are Danny Danielson; Harry Gonso and his wife, Lucy; and P.A. Mack, and his guest, Joan Olcott.

Would you join me in welcoming them?

Also with us this evening are a number of members of the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy Board of Visitors. Their wise counsel during the school’s first years of operation is helping to lay the groundwork for programs that will serve as the foundation for many decades of continued excellence. Would all of the members of the school’s Board of Visitors please stand for our recognition?

I am also delighted that Lilly Endowment President Clay Robbins and Vice President Ace Yakey could be with us tonight. For many years, the endowment’s support has been vital to Indiana University’s excellence, and it remains crucial to our mission. We will hear from Clay later this evening. Would you join me now in welcoming Clay Robbins and Ace Yakey.

Celebrating the Outstanding Leadership of Gene Tempel

Tonight, we gather to honor the more than three decades of service of an internationally recognized expert on philanthropy, an administrator who has served the university in a number of important roles, and a scholar who has taught and mentored many of the most successful leaders working in the philanthropic sector today, Gene Tempel.

Gene’s long affiliation with Indiana University began more than four decades ago, as a graduate student. After earning a bachelor’s degree at St. Benedict College, he went to IU Bloomington, where he earned a Master’s degree in English, and a doctoral degree in higher education administration.

In the early 1980s, he joined the IU staff as director of external affairs for the IU College of Arts and Sciences, and has since dedicated himself to serving the university, and its students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends in a variety of important roles.

As most of you may know—and as we will hear in more detail throughout the evening—Gene played an integral role in the establishment of the Center on Philanthropy, and served as its director for 11 years. He was instrumental in building the center into a world-class organization.

As president, I have called upon Gene a number of times to carry out key leadership roles on behalf of Indiana University. In each case, I knew I could count on him to work collegially, to build consensus, and to achieve positive results.

In 2008, after a nationwide search, Gene was appointed president and CEO of the IU Foundation. I said at that time that there were only a handful of people in the country with the necessary credentials and experience to fill this key position. And we were truly fortunate to find one of them in our own IU community.

Under Gene’s leadership of the Foundation, the university increased its donor base and secured large, transformative gifts for a number of schools, departments and centers across the university.

During Gene’s tenure, the IU Foundation successfully completed the Matching the Promise campaign for IU Bloomington, which exceeded its goal of $1 billion by more than $144 million. Gene also oversaw the launch of what was ultimately the largest and most successful comprehensive fundraising campaign in the university’s nearly 200-year history—the $1.25 billion IMPACT campaign for the IUPUI campus.

In September 2008, the very month Gene began his tenure at the Foundation, the Dow Jones Industrial Average experienced the largest one-day point drop in its history. Although we did not know at the time how long it would last, it soon became quite clear that the Great Recession was upon us—and universities across the nation began to feel the adverse effects. Many institutions, including many in neighboring states, ran out of scholarship money and were forced to turn down thousands of qualified applicants. Decreased state funding forced some public universities to cancel classes and dismiss faculty. University endowments declined—and collapsed in some cases—and research funding became increasingly scarce. Massive building projects on many campuses stopped entirely.

In spite of these economic circumstances, and in spite of a recovery that was widely characterized as being unusually slow, the sum of gifts from donors and non-governmental research grants—called Total Voluntary Support—reached the second and third highest levels in IU history during Gene’s tenure. These high levels of support helped Indiana University weather the recession better than many of our peers—and they are testimony to the generosity of our alumni and friends and to Gene’s leadership.

And near the end of his tenure, in 2012, the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) awarded IU Bloomington its Circle of Excellence Award for Overall Performance in Fundraising among public research universities.

Gene also worked closely with my wife, IU’s First Lady, Laurie Burns McRobbie, to launch the foundation’s Women's Philanthropy Council, which helps to guide women’s philanthropic initiatives at IU and to educate women about philanthropy and their philanthropic choices. 

A Return to His Academic Roots

During the time Gene was leading the Foundation, I announced the appointment of the New Academic Directions committee, which examined the structure and organization of academic units on the Bloomington and Indianapolis campuses, and made a number of recommendations that would help ensure that IU was offering the kinds of degrees and educational opportunities that one would expect of a university that aspires to be one of the finest universities of the 21st century. One of the recommendations in their report, presented to the Board of Trustees in April 2011, was to explore the feasibility of establishing a full-fledged School of Philanthropy, to be built upon the strengths of the Center on Philanthropy.

Given his extensive background in administration, his expertise in philanthropy, and the role he played in helping to establish the center, Gene was the logical choice to lead our efforts to expand the scope and mission of our philanthropic studies programs. And so, I was truly pleased that Gene agreed to return to his academic roots as a senior fellow at the Center on Philanthropy, where he would to lead our efforts to create world’s first school of philanthropy.

Following approval of the creation of the school by the trustees and, subsequently, the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, Gene was the perfect and obvious choice to serve as school’s founding dean.

During his time as executive director of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University and as Founding Dean of the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, both the school and the center have made countless contributions to the practice and the academic study of philanthropy in all its diverse and multidisciplinary manifestations.

Indiana University was the first university in the world to offer degrees in philanthropic studies, including a Master of Arts in 1993, a Ph.D. in 2003 and a Bachelor of Arts in 2010. And through these degree programs, the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy—the first school of its kind in the world—is now educating the first generation of university faculty rigorously and systematically trained in this emerging discipline.

Gene has also led an endowment initiative for the school that has already raised gifts and pledges totaling 80 percent of its $100 million goal.

And he has helped to forge partnerships with universities and nongovernmental organizations around the world. The school is now poised to build upon these partnerships to continue to help increase cross-cultural understanding, improve philanthropic practices, and help to build the global body of knowledge about philanthropy in all of its manifestations:  giving, volunteering, fundraising, and the operation of nonprofits.

Gene’s deep understanding of philanthropy and his great passion for Indiana University have served the university well for many, many years—and I am delighted that he will remain affiliated with the school as member of the faculty.

Gene, Indiana University owes you an enormous debt of gratitude, not only for your many years of outstanding service, but in particular for the passion and commitment you have shown as the founding dean of the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Thanks to your efforts, the school has further established Indiana University’s position as the premiere institution for the study of philanthropy, and is ideally positioned for the future.

Thank you for all you have done in your long and illustrious career at Indiana University.

Announcement Of Endowed Deanship

And now, Gene, would you join me at the podium?

It is my great pleasure to announce tonight that, through the extraordinary generosity of a number of donors, Indiana University is endowing the deanship in the school, which will now be known as the Eugene R. Tempel Endowed Deanship in the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

This endowed deanship is a visible affirmation of the importance of Gene’s outstanding service and leadership. It will help the school to attract future deans of the highest caliber, and it will allow subsequent deans to quickly and innovatively meet challenges, seize opportunities, and fulfill the mission of the school to improve philanthropy to improve the world.

It is the first named, endowed deanship at Indiana University.

On behalf of Indiana University, I want to express our profound thanks to the lead donors who have helped to establish this endowed deanship Gene’s honor. They are Bill McCutchen and Irene Lilly McCutchen—whose extraordinarily generous gift of $2.5 million to the school we announced yesterday; Jim and Maureen Hackett; Bob Hartsook; an anonymous donor; along with a number of others.

Thanks to the generosity of these donors, approximately $4 million has already been raised toward the goal of $5 million for the Eugene R. Tempel Endowed Deanship, and it is our intention and expectation that the additional fundraising will be completed very soon.

Gene, let me once again commend you for the exemplary service you have given Indiana University for more than 30 years.

As a token of our appreciation for your service, and as a way to commemorate the establishment of the endowed deanship in your honor, we have this gift for you:  a framed academic tam featuring the colors of the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

Congratulations, Gene, and best wishes.