Celebrating Gathering Spaces that Reflect the Values of Indiana University

Dedication of Anniversary Plaza and Don Gummer's Cindy's Song
Musical Arts Center
IU Bloomington
Bloomington, Indiana
April 10, 2015

Introduction

Dayton Reuter, a renowned professor of Landscape Architecture at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, writes: “The campus is not just leftover spaces between buildings. It is, in fact, a series of designed places that reflect the values an institution wishes to be known for.”1

Today, we dedicate the newest beautifully designed space that reflects the values for which Indiana University Bloomington wishes to be known—Anniversary Plaza.

Gateways to the Campus

In 2009, the IU Trustees approved the Master Plan for the Bloomington campus—a plan that builds upon some of this campus’ finest assets. The Master Plan recognizes and preserves the great beauty of the landscape. It honors the architectural traditions that give our built landscape a sense of cohesion, order, and integrity. And in doing these things, it preserves some of this community’s—and this state’s—most treasured natural and architectural resources.

As part of its recommendations, the Master Plan called for new “landscape gateways” to be installed near the primary routes into and out of campus to enhance the arrival experience.

Of course, we have the beautiful and iconic Sample Gates at Kirkwood and Indiana, which are testimony to the great strength of the relationships that this university has fostered over nearly two hundred years. The gates were a gift to the university from Edson Sample, an IU alumnus and longtime director of financial aid here. He dedicated them to his parents. The gates, of course, mark the entrance to the Old Crescent, the historic core of the campus.

But not everyone enters the campus at Kirkwood and Indiana. And so, after approval from our Trustees, new landscape gateways have been installed at a number of the campus’s primary entryways. Near Bart Kaufman Field, for example, the Chi Omega gates, which formerly stood at the end of the North Jordan Avenue extension, have been incorporated into a splendid new gateway that marks one of the northern entrances to campus.

Work is currently underway on a landscape gateway at the intersection of Dunn Street and the Bypass, which will incorporate a 56-foot limestone spire and display the university’s name in 10-foot-high engraved letters.

As we prepare to celebrate Indiana University’s Bicentennial in 2020, we will continue to make major enhancements to the overall environment of all of our campuses around the state by adding additional new landscape gateways and by adding to and enhancing the public spaces, courtyards, plazas, and open spaces on our campuses.

The space we dedicate today, Anniversary Plaza, now serves as a magnificent gateway to the Bloomington campus at the major intersection of Third Street and Jordan Avenue, and it greatly enhances one of our newest facilities—the Jacobs School of Music’s magnificent East Studio Building.

The Jacobs East Studio Building

The East Studio Building, of course, was dedicated in 2013. The much-needed facility was made possible by an enormously generous gift of $44 million from our friends at the Lilly Endowment.

This splendid new building is now giving our world-renowned faculty and exceptional students the teaching and learning space they need to reach even greater heights.

The Vital Importance of Public Art

The recent installation of Don Gummer’s superb sculpture, Cindy Song, in Anniversary Plaza, also reminds us of the important functions of public art on Indiana University’s campuses.

While Indiana University is home to exceptional museum collections, IU’s commitment to art as a public trust extends beyond the walls of our museums to the indoor and outdoor public spaces of our campuses around the state, where works of art become integrated into the lives of members of the university community.

In these public spaces, sculptures, paintings, and other works of art not only beautify our campuses, but they also remind us of our shared history and inspire reflection.

As we approach the university’s bicentennial, we must also give serious consideration to commissioning and acquiring—in a systematic way—other new pieces of public art by important national and international artists for all of Indiana University’s campuses. Doing so will strengthen our commitment to art as a public trust, and affirm the fundamental principle that the arts enrich the lives of all members of the university community.

Indiana University is proud to include in its current collection of public art, of course, a number of works by the eminent sculptor, Don Gummer. 

His sculpture, The South Tower, created after he witnessed the fall of the South Tower of the World Trade Center on 9/11, has been on loan to the IUPUI campus since 2011.

His sculpture, Open Eyes, which shows the range of colors the human pupil can interpret, was installed in 2011 in the courtyard of the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Eye Institute on the Indianapolis campus.

In 2013, we dedicated another of Don’s splendid sculptures, Basic Action, which is installed on the patio of Bloomington’s Cyberinfrastructure Building. The sculpture was unveiled during the dedication of Big Red II, IU’s main system for high-performance computation. Basic Action celebrates the legacy of IU’s 16th president, Myles Brand, who was one of the first university presidents to recognize the emerging systemic importance of information technology to higher education.

Don’s Cindy’s Song, installed this week in Anniversary Plaza, is a fitting addition to Anniversary Plaza, a fitting tribute to the Simons, and a magnificent and beautiful addition to the grounds of the East Studio Building and the Bloomington campus.

Celebrating the Transformative Power of Philanthropy

Like the now-iconic Sample Gates, Anniversary Plaza is a testament to the transformative power of philanthropy—and to the great strength of the relationships that this university has fostered over many years.

The plaza commemorates, as I have noted, the 25th wedding anniversary of Cindy and Bill Simon, a couple with extensive ties to Indiana University. I have already mentioned Bill’s service on the Dean’s Council in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, and the fact that Cindy is an alumna. Cindy is, in fact, part of a long line of IU alumni, with more than a dozen IU graduates in her immediate family.

Cindy and Bill are also well known for their philanthropy, having generously supported a wide range of organizations and institutions across the nation.

In addition to the gift that made Anniversary Plaza possible, Cindy, Bill, and Cindy’s siblings have supported IU students in the School of Education and in the College of Arts and Sciences through their establishment of scholarships in memory of Cindy’s parents.

Cindy and Bill are also great friends of the IU Art Museum, and have helped to fund a number of acquisitions for the museum.

On behalf of Indiana University, I would like to express how deeply grateful we are to Cindy and Bill Simon, Jr. for their extraordinarily generous gift. The splendid new plaza we dedicate today will come to hold special meaning for countless students, faculty, staff, and visitors for generations to come.

I also want to extend our thanks to the associates of the Well House Society—many of whom are here today. Well House Society associates are annual donors whose unrestricted support allows us to beautify IU’s campuses and enrich its academic mission. Their support helped make possible the acquisition of Mr. Gummer’s magnificent sculpture.

I also want to commend, of course, Don Gummer, for his splendid work in creating the beautiful sculpture we dedicate today.

And finally, I want to commend Dean Gwyn Richards of the Jacobs School of Music, as well as Vice President for Capital Planning and Facilities Tom Morrison, and all the design and construction professionals who helped make the beautiful new plaza a reality.

Conclusion

Landscape architect Dayton Reuter, whom I quoted earlier, also writes that a university campus “must be a place that feels safe, encourages participation, enhances social interaction, and appeals to students, faculty, staff, and visitors on many levels.”2

Indiana University has been truly fortunate, for nearly 200 years, to have had loyal friends like Cindy, Bill, and countless others who have helped to make the university just such a place. And for that, we are enormously grateful.

Source Notes

  1. Dayton Reuter, as quoted in David J. Neuman, Building Type Basics for College and University Facilities, (John Wiley and Sons, 2003), 2.
  2. Ibid.