opinion

Letter: The IU Board of Trustees defends President Michael McRobbie's legacy



fall2020letter

Dear editors,

On behalf of the IU Board of Trustees, we have all worked closely with IU President Michael McRobbie and observed first-hand his hard work and dedication to student success. Additionally, his visionary changes to IU have been widely recognized as brilliant in times that higher education is in dire need of transformation. Here are just a few important examples.

One of McRobbie’s top priorities has always been to ensure that an IU education remains affordable and accessible for our students. Under his leadership, IU pioneered student financial literacy programs that are literally now national models and resulted in savings to students of more than $138 million since 2011. IU’s Bicentennial fundraising campaign, which President McRobbie initiated in 2015 and tirelessly devoted most of his personal time, has funded more than 5,700 new endowed undergraduate and graduate scholarships and fellowships — an extraordinary 45% increase over the previous nearly 100 years. Additionally, IU has increased undergraduate gift aid by more than 51% over the past eight years for a total of $132.7 million in the 2019-20 academic year. These and other efforts are enabling more students to succeed in their educational endeavors without assuming overwhelming financial burdens. 

In direct response to student demand and the needs of top employers, McRobbie has overseen the most extensive academic restructuring in IU’s history, resulting in the establishment of 10 new schools and a number of major new programs, including programs in architecture and intelligent systems engineering. His presidency has also seen the establishment of the pathbreaking IU Online program, which has delivered an authentically IU experience to students wherever they choose to study. These initiatives and many others have helped IU students earn a contemporary and relevant education, stay on track to earn their degrees and find meaningful and rewarding careers after they graduate.

McRobbie has prioritized efforts to expand the accessibility of study abroad experiences for IU students. Today, about a third of IU Bloomington students have participated in overseas study upon graduation, making the campus a national leader in this area. Our students are better prepared to succeed in today’s increasingly interconnected marketplace through the truly global education they receive at IU.

Under McRobbie’s leadership, IU has just welcomed the most diverse class in the university’s 200-year history, a record total of 23,401 minority students who constitute more than a quarter of IU’s total degree-seeking population at 28%. This does not just happen by chance. It is, in fact, the result of careful, intentional planning that includes targeted recruitment and retention efforts, all of which require dedicated resources. A more diverse IU means more students are learning from people with different backgrounds, values and perspectives in environments that support equal access and inclusivity. 

IU has been incredibly fortunate to have a gifted president for the past 13 years who has made student success a top IU priority. 

Yours sincerely,

Michael J. Mirro, M.D.

Chair, Indiana University Board of Trustees

Patrick Shoulders

Vice-Chair, Indiana University Board of Trustees

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