"Galvanizing Support and Celebrating Matching the Promise"

Matching the Promise Closing Celebration
Henke Hall of Champions
IU Bloomington
October 8, 2010

Introduction and Acknowledgements

Thank you, Eddie [Suarez].

I am delighted that you and your family are here tonight. You are a true inspiration, and your story shows what a difference philanthropy makes in the lives of students.

Let me take a moment to introduce my wife Laurie Burns McRobbie, the First Lady of Indiana University.

I am also pleased that a number of our trustees could join us this evening. Would you help me welcome Chair of the Trustees Bill Cast and his wife Anita, and MaryEllen Bishop and her husband Michael?

Would you also join me in greeting Representative Ed DeLaney along with his wife Ann who are here from Indianapolis?

Also with us tonight are the many dedicated members of the IU Foundation Board. Would our Foundation Board members please stand for our greetings and thanks?

Finally, let me introduce our wonderful harpist, Emily Levin. Emily is from Centennial, Colorado, and is working on her Bachelor’s degree in music under the direction of Distinguished Professor of Harp Susann McDonald. An award-winning musician, Emily was named a Barbara and David Jacobs Scholar in 2009. Would you please help me welcome and thank Emily?

Galvanizing Support

Tonight we are here to celebrate the most successful capital campaign in Indiana University’s history.

Over the past seven years, Matching the Promise has galvanized thousands of IU supporters. It has transformed the landscape of the IU Bloomington campus with state-of-the-art facilities. It has generated support for our most outstanding faculty. And it has offered the promise of an affordable education to some of the state’s and the country’s very best students. This campaign has always been about the people, the place, and the promise of Indiana University.

Raising the Bar

Our goals have been simple but they have never been modest. We started the campaign with a billion dollar goal. We were also in the midst of an economic downturn the likes of which we had not seen since the 1930s.

Every sign suggested that we should be satisfied with our original goal, which, in itself, was ambitious. But on February 5 of 2009, we raised that goal by $100 million. We set our sights higher, and you all shared that vision.


It has taken the concentrated efforts of leaders from across the Bloomington campus for us to reach tonight’s celebration. We all owe our thanks to Provost Karen Hanson, Vice President and CFO Neil Theobald, the IU Foundation Board and staff, and the deans and development officers across the Bloomington campus.

But we owe our deepest gratitude to the unwavering generosity, dedication, and loyalty of over 188,000 university alumni and friends who contributed to this campaign. Every one of your gifts to programs across the Bloomington campus over the past seven years has been counted as part of the campaign. Your strong belief in this university and its promise helped us surpass that higher goal in magnificent fashion.

If you are like me, you want to know the final number, and I will be delighted to share that with you . . . after dinner.

The Power of Philanthropy

I know I am standing between you, dinner, and that final number, so let me say just a few more words.

I could mention the many studies that suggest how valuable higher education is in our information age, the national perspective on philanthropic giving to higher education, or the fact that such generosity makes American higher education the best in the world.

I could mention the tremendous impact this campaign has had on making an IU education more affordable and accessible. In fact, over the course of four years, resident undergraduates at IU Bloomington pay the lowest out-of-pocket cost of attendance in the Big Ten, saving an average of more than $18,000 over four years compared with residents of other Big Ten states.

I could mention the tremendous value of faculty endowments, which help us recruit and retain the most outstanding teachers, scholars, and scientists from around the world.

A Campaign for Students: Esther Uduehi

All of this is vitally important, but at its heart, this campaign has been about students like Eddie, Emily, and thousands of others— both undergraduate and graduate— whose lives have been utterly transformed by the scholarships and fellowships they have received.

I am reminded of Esther Uduehi, a biochemistry and math major from Evansville, whom I met when she was still a high school science student and who earned the prestigious Wells Scholarship. Esther is now a senior, and she demonstrates the values and qualities that IU’s legendary 11th president Herman Wells embodied.

I think it is fair to say that she has been transformed from the shy high school senior I met four years ago to the accomplished student and researcher she has become today. She earned Phi Beta Kappa honors just last year, studied chemistry and biochemistry at Oxford, and travelled to Russia as part of the U.S. Russia Global Health Care Study Program.

As determined as Esther has been in shaping her own education, generous gifts have supported her along the way. As a member of the Hutton Honors College, she can thank the late Ed Hutton for his generous contributions to her education. She also received two Hutton Honors College Scholarships in support of her summer research. She can thank Jack and Linda Gill for their great support the College of Arts and Sciences. And for the past four years, Esther has worked in Assistant Professor of Chemistry Amar Flood’s laboratory in Simon Hall. Special thanks to Mel and Bren Simon for that award-winning facility.

I am proud to say that, along with her many other accomplishments and service, Esther currently serves as the Presidential Student Intern for this academic year.

She would actually be here tonight, but she and her family have been attending another event on campus where she is the guest of honor, receiving the Kenneth R.R. Gros Louis Scholarship, for academic excellence, outstanding leadership, and distinguished service to the university.

Esther’s story reveals in fine detail the transformative difference Matching the Promise has made in so many lives. Tonight you will hear more stories like this.

Calling on the Best in All of Us

As I mentioned, tonight is about the people, the place, and the promise. It is about calling on the best in all of us to support something much larger than ourselves, something that should make all of us proud, something that will serve many generations to come. Thank you all for your vision and your leadership in making this evening’s celebration possible, and please enjoy your dinner.

[Following dinner, Provost Hanson, and President of the IU Foundation Gene Tempel speak a number of videos offer highlights of the Matching the Promise Campaign. Following a video about the Jacobs family and their great generosity, President McRobbie returns to the podium.]

A Simple Invitation

Would you all join me again in thanking the Jacobs family for their incredible generosity?

Think about their story. Think about that simple invitation to dinner that Dean Webb extended so many years ago to a young undergraduate music major.

The history of this university includes thousands of moments just like that, where a dean, a professor, or a staff member reaches out to a student and forges a relationship strong enough to last— sometimes—for life. But who would have imagined the powerful relationship that that would grow out of Dean Webb’s invitation?

The Strength of Relationships

Sample Gates

We need only glance around this beautiful campus to see the great strength of the relationships that this university has fostered over nearly two hundred years. How many graduates have stood at the Sample Gates to have their pictures taken on commencement day? Those gates were a gift to the university from Edson Sample, lU alum and longtime director of financial aid here. He dedicated them to his parents.

Rose Well House

And how many of you count the Rose Well House among your favorite spots on campus? I recently read about a couple who met here at IU and returned one winter after their graduation. As the snow fell around them, he told her all of the things that he loved about their relationship, got down on one knee, and proposed to her right there in the Rose Well House! 1

IU alum and former IU trustee Theodore Rose would likely have been pleased to hear that story. He, his wife, and their son presented the well house to the university in memory of the class of 1875, the year Rose graduated.

Beck Chapel

And how many thousands have been married at Beck Chapel over the years? I suspect that a few of you in the audience were married there. Laurie and I were just five years ago. That small and peaceful sanctuary in the middle of our campus was a gift from Reverend Frank O. Beck, fondly known as “Dean of the Chapel,” and his wife Daisy, both of whom are IU alumni.

Building for a Thousand Years

When we think about places like Simon Hall or the Lilly Library 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 President 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

When we hear the names Jacobs and Kelley and Maurer, we think of the truly international excellence concentrated within the Jacobs School of Music, the Kelley School of Business, and the Maurer School of Law. We think of world-class programs that help students master their chosen disciplines. The Jacobs School, the Kelley School, and the Maurer School have become shorthand for excellence at Indiana University and throughout the world.

The Announcement

Behind all of these names there was a simple invitation: an invitation to be part of this great institution that has changed so many lives. Matching the Promise has built on the great legacy of generosity that has shaped this university in remarkable fashion.

As I said, we were aiming toward a $1.1 billion goal. Now the number you have all been waiting for: our grand total for the Matching the Promise Capital Campaign is $1,144,423,256.

A Toast to the People, the Place, and the Promise

It is my great privilege and pleasure to raise my glass to all of you and the role that you have played in the phenomenal success of the greatest campaign in Indiana University’s history. You all accepted the invitation and matched the promise.

Together we move forward, renewed in our shared vision for this university and the principles of excellence that have guided this institution for nearly 200 years.

To the people, the place, and the promise! To Matching the Promise!

Source Notes

  1. Favorite IU Places: Rose Well House.” Indiana University Alumni Association Website. 6 Oct. 2010.