"The Spirit of Generosity: The Maurer School of Law"
September 25, 2009
As I have said on many occasions, philanthropy is one of the pillars that has&mdashl;in terms of sheer excellence—raised the American system of higher education far above other systems around the world.
Today we are celebrating that pillar of generosity as we officially name the Michael Maurer School of Law.
This spirit of generosity has—time and again—left an indelible mark on Indiana University. Names like Lilly, Simon, and Krannert will forever be woven into the fabric of this great university. Among other generous contributions, in 1955, Herman Krannert gave a gift to the IU School of Law in Bloomington in support of the school’s first clinical courses, scholarships, and fellowships. Much more recently, the Lilly Endowment gave the school a generous gift of $25 million to support the recruitment and retention of the very best law faculty. This has helped position the IU School of Law in Bloomington as one of the very best public university law schools in the country and builds on the traditions of excellence that have been a hallmark of the school since its establishment over a hundred years ago. The spirit of giving to the law school also includes names like Batman and Foskett, Elmore and Hunt, Dorfman and Kimberling, and so many others that are woven into the tapestry of Indiana University.
Memory and the Naming of Landmarks
When we think about places like Simon Hall or the Lilly Library, the Rose Well House or Showalter Fountain, we remember and honor the families whose gifts continue to transform this university and touch the lives of students, faculty, staff, and visitors. To borrow from IU’s legendary 11th president Herman B Wells, these are structures built for a thousand years. In that time, they will touch thousands upon thousands of lives, serving as physical reminders of the vibrant intellectual and cultural life of this university.
Shorthand for Excellence
The schools and colleges that make up this great university are at the heart of that life. When we hear the names Jacobs and Kelley, we think of the truly international excellence concentrated within the Jacobs School of Music and the Kelley School of Business. We think of world-class programs that help students master their chosen disciplines. The Jacobs School and the Kelley School have become shorthand for excellence at Indiana University and throughout the world, and the Maurer School of Law in Bloomington now joins their distinguished ranks.
The tremendous strength of the school’s faculty and programs provides the educational foundation upon which the success of the school’s alumni depends. That alumni network has grown from an inaugural graduating class of 5 students to well over 8,000 graduates living and working around the world.
Testimony to Strong Leadership
Included in those distinguished ranks are local, state, national, and international leaders. That the IU School of Law in Bloomington has been able to educate such leaders is a tribute to the school’s history of strong and committed leadership.
I would like to pay special tribute to that leadership this afternoon. Dating back to the first dean of the Law School David Banta, who decided to become a lawyer after spending a rainy day outside chopping wood, Indiana University has had strong and steady leadership in this school. And, of course, this leadership most recently includes Dean Lauren Robel, who has led the law school in Bloomington with enormous energy, focus, drive, and vision. She has generated a culture of alumni engagement that extends far beyond Bloomington, and under her leadership, the law school has grown in reputation on a national and international level. Thanks to her and her predecessors, names like Taliaferro, Lofton, O’Bannon, Hamilton, and Bayh are among the countless stories of leadership and success that are part of this school’s longstanding traditions of excellence.
Michael and Janie Maurer
Of course, foremost among those stories of achievement on this day is Mickey Maurer, who received his J.D. from IU in 1967. His successful career as an attorney and entrepreneur has reflected his keen understanding of radio, TV, and print media, real estate, and banking.
A former Indiana Secretary of Commerce, Mickey currently serves as the Chair of the Board of the National Bank of Indianapolis, which he cofounded in 1993, and of the IBJ Corporation, which owns and publishes -- The Indianapolis Business Journal, -- Court and Commercial Record, -- and The Indiana Lawyer. Mickey has also served as President of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation.
His many awards and honors highlight his deep engagement in the Indianapolis community and his dedication to making a difference in the lives of others. Those awards include the National Multiple Sclerosis Hope Award, the Americanism Award of the Anti-Defamation League, the Hoosier Heritage Civic Leadership Award, and two Sagamores of the Wabash. Add to that his recent Emmy Award for his television interview of Sylvia McNair on his program “Mickey's Corner.”
For well over the last three decades, he has been committed to Indiana University and the School of Law at Bloomington. In 1996, he was inducted into the Academy of Law Alumni Fellows, which recognizes outstanding professional and personal achievements of graduates from the school. He was honored with the IU Distinguished Alumni Service Award in 2001, and received the IU Foundation President’s Medal in 2007 for his longstanding support of the Foundation and of Indiana University.
As chair of the School of Law in Bloomington’s first capital campaign in the 1990s, Mickey knows what a difference people make in the life of Indiana University.
Mickey’s wife Janie shares his deep commitment to philanthropic causes in a variety of different communities. Like Mickey, she has demonstrated her dedication to Indiana University and the School of Law at Bloomington. A woman of extraordinary talent in many different areas, Janie also brings a sense of grace and good humor that those who know her always recognize and appreciate.
On behalf of Indiana University, I would like to express how deeply grateful we are to Mickey and Janie Maurer for their extraordinary generosity. Yours is a gift as much to the present as it is to the future.