Luddy Hall Groundbreaking

IU Auditorium Lobby
IU Bloomington
Bloomington, Indiana
October 2, 2015

Introduction: Dramatic Change in The Manifestations of The University's Roles

James Duderstadt, President Emeritus of the University of Michigan, was one of three very distinguished figures in engineering and higher education who recently served on a Blue Ribbon Committee that recommended the creation of a new program in intelligent systems engineering within the School of Informatics and Computing here on the Bloomington campus.

In his book, A University for the 21st Century, Duderstadt wrote: “…While the fundamental …roles of the university (creating, preserving, transmitting, and applying knowledge) do not change over time, the particular manifestations of these roles do change—and change quite dramatically.”1

Today, as we break ground for Luddy Hall, we look forward to what will be a magnificent new home for a school that has been a prime example of how the manifestations of Indiana University’s missions have changed quite dramatically in response to the needs of students and the demands of our state and nation.

The School of Informatics and Computing

The establishment of the School of Informatics in 2000 added a new dimension to technology education and inter-disciplinary research at IU. Not only was it the first school of its kind in the United States, it was also, at the time, the first new school at IU Bloomington in more than 25 years.

President Myles Brand deserves enormous credit for his pioneering vision in establishing this school, and I was honored to have worked with him on this transformative undertaking.

In 2005, again in response to the ever-changing world of information and technology, IU combined the Computer Science Department—a field of long-standing excellence at IU—with the School of Informatics.

Many of you were with us almost exactly two years ago, when we celebrated the incorporation of IU’s highly ranked School of Library and Information Sciences into the school and inaugurated the reconfigured School of Informatics and Computing.

By combing these two programs, we formed what is now the broadest and one of the largest schools of its kind in the United States, and likely in the world. In information technology as a broad academic discipline, breadth, size, and quality are all vital factors. This merger was a large step forward toward our goal of building a school that can compete with the best schools in the country, such as Carnegie Mellon University, MIT, Stanford, and Berkeley.

Luddy Hall will also be designed to encourage collaboration and community—and it will provide much-needed teaching and research space in light of the enormous growth the school has also undergone in recent years.

In the past eight years, the school’s undergraduate enrollment on the Bloomington campus has tripled—from fewer than 500 students in the 2006-2007 academic year to around 1,500 today.

The number of women undergraduate majors in the school at IU Bloomington has grown six-fold since 2007—a 69 percent increase, which is particularly noteworthy given the declining numbers nationally of women who earn computing degrees.

Graduate enrollment on the Bloomington and IUPUI campuses has doubled over the same period—from around 700 students to nearly 1,400—and is expected to continue to grow rapidly.

The school’s research expenditures in Bloomington have more than doubled—from around $8 million in 2006-07 to around $20 million today.

Stem Education: Engineering at IU Bloomington

And, of course, the recent addition of a program in intelligent systems engineering was a major development for the school, for the Bloomington campus, and for the region and the state.

I announced that we would begin the process of establishing such a program just one year ago in my 2014 State of the University address.

Earlier this year, a committee comprised of three highly respected and immensely experienced academic experts and leaders in engineering met and conducted extensive interviews with faculty, administrators and others. They concluded that the development of an engineering program at IU Bloomington was critical to support the research needs of its current faculty, to educate its students effectively in the STEM fields and applied technology, and to foster collaboration with other research universities and programs in the state and beyond.

A proposal to establish a program in intelligent systems engineering was developed by Dean [Bobby] Schnabel and his faculty colleagues and approved by the Board of Trustees in April earlier this year.

The addition of this program will allow IU’s School of Informatics and Computing to make even greater contributions to the economic development of the region and the state, and the magnificent new facility for which we break ground today will reflect the school’s position as an innovator.

The Woodlawn Corridor

The new facility will also be, as I said before, the first new academic building located on Woodlawn Avenue as it becomes a continuous north-south boulevard linking the main academic campus to the athletics campus—one of the key elements of the IU Bloomington Master Plan. This project, approved by the trustees last year, will turn Woodlawn into the main central north-south corridor of the campus, both pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly.

Luddy Hall will also ensure that the Woodlawn Corridor is a major hub of academic life.

Special Thanks

There is a long list of people to whom we owe enormous debts of gratitude for helping us reach this moment, and, in thanking them, we must, of course, begin with the man for whose family this splendid new building will be named: Fred Luddy.

Fred attended Indiana University, and was given his first job as a programmer by Ed Whalen, a Professor of Economics who went on to serve as University Director of Budgeting.

Fred worked in Silicon Valley before it was known as Silicon Valley. He worked for a number of companies as a software designer and consultant, and went on to serve as chief technology officer for Peregrine Systems.

In early 2004, he founded—a company whose software helps large companies and other organizations manage their IT operations, including their “help desk” functions—and he has served as chief product officer since the company’s inception.

Fred serves as a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council for the School of Informatics and Computing, and is a wonderful ambassador for the school.

His extraordinarily generous gift of $8 million to the School of Informatics and Computing is testament to his belief in innovation and his support for an innovative school that gives students the skills they need to succeed and instills in them the values and principles that will guide them in their careers and in their lives.

Fred, would you join me at the podium for just a moment?

On behalf of Indiana University, I would like to once again extend to you our deepest gratitude for your generosity and for your dedicated efforts to help ensure the continued success of the Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing.

As a token of our appreciation, it is my pleasure to present you with this model of Luddy Hall.

I also want to extend special thanks to Dean Bobby Schnabel, who has been an untiring advocate for this project and for the entire campus. Bobby has presided over a period of enormous growth and change for the school over the past eight years. He has served Indiana University in a number of other import roles as well, including as interim Vice President for Research and as chair of the internal review committee on engineering.

I also want to commend J. Michael Dunn, who, as the school’s founding dean, helped to build the School of Informatics and Computing into a major school of its kind nationally. Would you join me in recognizing Dean Emeritus Dunn?


In his 1991 book, Millenium, French economist Jacques Attali wrote that the impact of information technology would be even more radical than the harnessing of steam and electricity in the 19th century. It would, in his words “be more akin to the discovery of fire by early ancestors, since it will prepare the way for a revolutionary leap into a new age that will profoundly transform human culture.”2

Twenty-five years later, we are in the midst of that new age.

And today, as we break ground for Luddy Hall, all of us look forward to a facility that will help the students and faculty of Indiana University’s School of Informatics and Computing make important and lasting contributions that will strengthen our state and nation, advance our use and understanding of technology, and further transform human culture.

Source Notes

  1. James J. Duderstadt, A University for the 21st Century, (University of Michigan Press, 2009), 221.
  2. Jacques Attali, Millennium: Winners and Losers in the Coming World Order, (Times Books, 1991), 11.