An Evening of Celebration with IUPUI Chancellor Charles Bantz and Professor Sandra Petronio

Scottish Rite Cathedral
650 N. Meridian Street
Indianapolis, Indiana
June 27, 2015


Good evening.

Laurie and I are delighted to be here tonight to help celebrate Charles and Sandra and, in particular, to celebrate the exceptional service Charles has given over the last 12 years as chancellor of the IUPUI campus.

I am very pleased that so many friends of Indiana University have joined us for tonight’s celebration. I want to take just a moment to introduce a number of members of the IU Board of Trustees who are here tonight. 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: the chair of the Trustees, Randy Tobias, and his wife, Deborah; vice chair MaryEllen Bishop, and her husband, Michael, and Phil Eskew and his wife, Ann. Would you join me in welcoming the IU Trustees?

A Tribute to Excellent Leadership

The former CEO of Bristol-Myers Squibb and former US Ambassador to Sweden, Charles Heimbold, once said that the job of leaders is “to make certain that the examples we set are the right ones; that the values we hold are ones worth cherishing; that our vision of the future is one that inspires others to achieve and to build a growing, dynamic, vital (enterprise) for many years to come.”1

The IUPUI campus has indeed been fortunate to have had such a leader in Charles Bantz.

Charles has been an energetic, enthusiastic, and dedicated leader, and his vision for the future has led the way for members of the IUPUI community and Hoosiers in central Indiana and around the state to work together to build what is—and will continue to be—a growing, dynamic, and vital urban campus.

By any measure, IUPUI serves its students, employees, and the city of Indianapolis extremely well. For more than a decade, the campus has seen great development and growth, with Charles presiding over a number of positive changes that have greatly strengthened the role the campus plays in the city and the state.

During Charles’s time as chancellor:

  • graduation rates have almost doubled,
  • a record $1.41 billion campaign has been completed,
  • the diversity of the student body has increased,
  • research quality has improved, and
  • service learning opportunities—one of the rightly acclaimed hallmarks of IUPUI—have been greatly expanded.

Charles has been a valued member of my cabinet during my tenure as president of Indiana University, and has given sound advice on a wide variety of issues that impact the operation and the character not only of IUPUI, but also of the entire university and the lives of students, faculty, and staff across the state.

During a campus celebration of his service earlier this month, I had the pleasure of awarding him the highest honor an IU president can bestow, the President’s Medal for Excellence, which is awarded to those who have distinguished themselves in academia or public service.

And I am very pleased that, after a one-year leave, Charles will return to IUPUI as a member of the faculty. I know that he looks forward to continuing his research and teaching—and writing a book.

Of course, Charles’s wife, Sandra Petronio, has also made countless vital contributions to the IUPUI campus and to Indiana University. Sandra is a well-known communication scholar and the founding director of the Center for Translating Research into Practice on the IUPUI campus.

Charles and Sandra, on behalf of Laurie and myself—and on behalf of the entire IU community—let me once again express our deepest gratitude to both of you for your outstanding service to the IUPUI campus and to Indiana University. We send our most sincere best wishes to you both in the next chapter of your lives.

In honor of Charles’s contributions to IUPUI and Indiana University, I am delighted to announce that the university will contribute $100,000 to the Charles R. Bantz Chancellor’s Community Fellowship Fund, established to provide outstanding service learning opportunities for IUPUI students focused on problems and issues of relevance to Indianapolis.

Presenting The Sagamore of The Wabash

Now, among the many people who have recognized the contributions and service of Charles to the state is Indiana’s Governor Mike Pence. Governor Pence regrets that he could not be here tonight, but I have been asked to make a special presentation on his behalf. Charles, would you join me at the podium?

The Sagamore of the Wabash is one of the highest honors the governor of Indiana can bestow. The award was created during the term of Governor Ralph Gates, who served from 1945 to 1949, and has been awarded by each subsequent governor. Among its recipients are ambassadors, artists, astronauts, musicians, politicians, private citizens, and even U.S. presidents who have contributed greatly to Hoosier heritage.

Charles, on behalf of Governor Pence, it is my pleasure and privilege to present to you the Sagamore of the Wabash Award, along with the governor’s heartfelt congratulations and most sincere thanks for your many, many contributions to the State of Indiana. Congratulations.

Source Notes

  1. Charles A. Heimbold, Jr., “Attributes and Formation of Good Leaders,” speech delivered to Rutgers School of Management, New Brunswick, New Jersey, November 9, 1998, Vital Speeches of the Day,  January 1, 1999, 179.