Nearly 200 people were in attendance Saturday afternoon at the Hoosier Room in Memorial Stadium to get acquainted with IU’s newly selected president.
Michael McRobbie, who will be the 18th IU president, excited the crowd in his opening remarks by taking off his red IU sweater to reveal a blue shirt and red tie, synonymous with IU men’s basketball coach Kelvin Sampson’s attire.
“Given that we have a basketball game after this,” McRobbie said, “I want to show you that I have a uniform.”
McRobbie thanked the student leaders and athletes, who made up the majority of those in attendance.
“I must commend all of you for the wonderful roles you play on campus in all the great multitudes of organizations that you all represent,” McRobbie said, “and just how essential you are to the heart and soul of the University through all those organizations which all play such a vital part in the University.”
McRobbie reiterated to Friday’s crowd what he said when he was appointed president earlier this week.
“The University is providing you with a world-class education to face the challenges of the 21st century,” McRobbie said.
McRobbie said he was interested in what the “student living and learning environment” was at IU and announced that he will be setting up two student-run task forces through the student governments – one on the Bloomington campus and one at IU-Purdue University at Indianapolis.
“I don’t want administrators telling me about what the students think the 21st century should look like – I want the students to tell me that,” McRobbie said.
Evan Holloway and Malia Foytich, IU students who represented Youth Advocating Leadership and Learning, were both happy with what McRobbie had to say.
“He seems interested,” Foytich said. “It’s really cool that he did this for other organizations just to meet us.”
Soon after McRobbie’s opening remarks, IU cheerleaders led basketball chants throughout the stadium as the pep band played IU fight songs. McRobbie and his wife, Laurie Burns, joined in the chants together while looking at the crowd.
Sophomore Claudia Estrada spoke with Burns and liked that she wanted to get involved and learn more about the different organizations at IU.
“The more I understand about that, the more I can help him with those sorts of things as he needs it,” Burns said. “I just believe – without knowing specifically – that there are roles that I can play that are supportive with what students are trying to do on campus.”
Estrada was hopeful about McRobbie’s goal of doubling the minority population at IU within the next seven years.
“All he needs to really do is support us a lot … If he does follow through with the things he’s said, then yeah, he can do it,” Estrada said.
McRobbie said he felt that if the minority graduation rate increased, then the minority population would increase as well.
“That’s something else that’s on my mind and I’m going to be looking at that as well,” McRobbie said.
Burns said that she was “tremendously” proud of her husband.
“It’s just a culmination of so much of what Michael has worked so hard for,” she said.
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