Feature Columnist: Michael McRobbie's favorite timeless traditions

This seemingly whimsical encounter offered a lighthearted moment for the newest members of our community. Yet it was also symbolic of IU’s proud and lasting traditions, which Wells played such an important role in establishing.  

The start of each new academic year marks a time to enthusiastically celebrate these traditions, beginning with IU’s greatest and most timeless tradition: its commitment to excellence in education. For our students, this time of year means taking advantage of exciting new learning opportunities with some of the best and most accomplished teachers in the world.  

Outside the classroom, it means expanding their horizons by viewing the latest opera or ballet at our renowned Jacobs School of Music, checking out a new exhibition at the IU Art Museum, showing off their Hoosier spirit at Memorial Stadium or being inspired by one of the most attractive campuses in the nation.

These and other traditions are what make IU such a special place, and I am proud to say we are building upon those traditions in our continuing quest for excellence in everything we do.

Indeed, we have much to look forward to in the coming days and months.

Last week marked the opening of the new Union Street Center, formerly known as the Ashton Center, at 10th and Union street, and early reviews of the new housing facility by students and their families have been overwhelmingly positive.

With living accommodations that reflect a more contemporary sensibility and style and bright new learning spaces, this new center will provide our students with new and greater opportunities for personal growth, social interaction and leadership. It signals a renaissance in student living at IU, and we look forward to officially dedicating the new center next month.

Among IU’s most entertaining and enjoyable traditions, of course, are football and athletics. This week marks the start of another season of Hoosier football, and we have high hopes for a great and exciting campaign under IU coach Bill Lynch.
The visions and dreams we have for a new era of excellence in athletics are represented by the magnificent athletic facilities that we have dedicated this last year, including the North End Zone Student-Athlete Development Center, Henke Hall of Champions and our new basketball development center, Cook Hall.

These new facilities celebrate past athletic achievements, including Big Ten and national championships, while offering our current student athletes the academic and training resources they need to maximize their success in the classroom and on the playing field.

Not long from now, members of the IU community interested in another form of popular entertainment will have a world-class facility to call their own.

Film is one art form where IU has had a superb scholarly reputation for decades, but no facilities. The new, state-of-the-art IU Cinema, currently in development at the site of the old University Theatre, will offer scholars, students and the broader community an accessible, dedicated facility that is vitally necessary to the cinematic experience.

Featuring a full range of digital cinema and traditional projection capabilities, it will present the masterpieces of cinema as they were meant to be seen and serve as an exhibition space for film courses, festivals and conferences, as well as for occasional visits by renowned filmmakers and scholars.

The new cinema, which we look forward to inaugurating early next year, will extend our glorious tradition in the arts and humanities — a tradition championed by none other than Herman B  Wells, who never stopped trying to make IU greater.  

This desire stemmed from his own life-changing experience as an IU student, which he described so eloquently in his autobiography, “Being Lucky: Reminiscences and Reflections.”

“It was an efflorescent period when my mind was open to receive a myriad of new ideas. Music, literature and art — my whole being responded to the stimuli of collegiate life, in and out of the classroom. It was for me a time of response, growth, transformation and inspiration.”

As we prepare to celebrate and build upon the traditions that make this University so great, expand our horizons through our intellectual and cultural pursuits and find inspiration in our surroundings — may all of you find, too, what Wells found here those many years ago.

Michael McRobbie is the President of IU.

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LETTER: New arts leader named

I have always had a special affinity for art in places where art “isn’t supposed to be.” Certainly, most of us enjoy an afternoon browsing a gallery or museum, but there is something really nice about finding art in unexpected places.

LETTER: Disability harassment happens on our campus

I would like to bring to the attention of the IDS the fact that harassment of disabled students occurs regularly at IU Bloomington. I personally know of physically impaired students who have been harassed in Ballantine Hall for taking the elevator up or down one floor.  And they aren’t just harassed by fellow students; faculty and staff are guilty, too.  Just because someone looks healthy, doesn’t mean that they are.  Invisible disabilities are any of a number of chronic conditions that significantly impair normal activities of daily living while showing no outward signs of the illness. I also know of a physically impaired student who was made fun of recently for riding a scooter in Forest Residence Center.  This is a student who can barely walk—and only for short distances—and only when feeling physically up to it. This same student was also harassed in the Forest parking lot by someone who didn’t think a handicap parking space should be used by a disabled student, even though the appropriate IU parking permit was displayed in the car.  Harassment may be reported to the IU Incident Teams at  (812) 855-8188 or incident@indiana.edu. I mention these incidents because they happened to students I know.  And if they can happen to them, they can happen to anyone.  I ask the entire campus community: How would you feel if someone you cared about was ridiculed or harassed because they had a disability?  How does it feel to learn that members of the campus community, whether you know them or not, have to deal with harassment at IU Bloomington on a daily basis? I urge us all to think before speaking, show some Hoosier compassion, and offer to help instead of contributing to an intolerant environment.  I also urge the IDS to investigate and report on the harassment of disabled students on this campus. As an IU alumna, IU employee, and IU parent, I hate to think of Indiana University’s reputation being tarnished by charges of harassment of any kind. Melissa Thorne Bloomington

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