Seven facts about Herman B Wells you may have never known


Herman B Wells speaks with member of the Students for a Democratic Society in 1969. Wells was known to make frequent appearances at student events, and encouraged intellectual freedom and educational opportunity. IU Archives

Herman B Wells was the 11th president of IU and is known as one of the most influential presidents in the University's history. Here are seven facts about Wells you may not have been aware of.

The 1956 Phi Gamma Delta Little 500 team poses with IU President Herman B Wells after winning the men's Little 500 race. IU Archives

1. The "B" in Herman B Wells does not have a period because the letter is not an abbreviation. His middle name is simply "B".

2. Wells was the first person to have the title of chancellor at IU. After retiring from being University president in 1962, Wells took the position specifically made for him. He served in this position until his death in 2000.

3. During his 25 years as University president, Wells was committed to students, showing this by signing every diploma by hand. That amounts to a little less than 63,000 diplomas during his time.

IU Chancellor Herman B Wells poses in his Owen Hall office on campus April 10, 1988. Wells, also a former president of the University, died March 18, 2000. IU Archives

4. A major supporter of academia, Wells supported his faculty's academic efforts. Under his presidency, the Institute for Sex Research, now known as the Kinsey Institute, was established.

5.  Wells is a three-time alumnus of Indiana University. He received a B.S. in business, a M.A. in economics and an honorary doctorate.

6. After transferring to IU from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Wells quickly got involved with campus life, including joining the Sigma Nu fraternity where he served in leadership roles, including president his senior year.

The Herman B Wells statue can be found by Owen Hall. Many students sit next to Wells and shake his hand as a tradition. IDS file photo

7. Wells is remembered all across campus. There is a bronze statue of him in the old crescent. The campus' main library is named after him. Last fall, the newly renovated Wells Quad opened after being converted from an academic building to a residence hall, although that building is named in honor of Agnes Wells, a former IU Dean of Women and professor of astronomy and mathematics.

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