IU President Michael McRobbie delivered Tuesday’s State of the University Address to a small and socially distanced crowd at 1:30 p.m. in President’s Hall. This was McRobbie’s final address after serving as IU president for 14 years.
Each year, the University Faculty Council invites the president to deliver an address. The address usually summarizes the past school year’s student achievement, research, economic development and other topics helping to define the university.
McRobbie opened his speech by addressing the university’s successful measures around the COVID-19 pandemic. He said IU’s campuses are some of the safest in the state because of low transmission rates, and he thanked all faculty and staff who worked to keep campuses safe. He also thanked the IU Bloomington School of Public Health and IUPUI’s Fairbanks School of Public Health for their contribution to research in Indiana.
Despite the pandemic, McRobbie said the university remains fiscally strong. He said many other universities across the country had to lay off faculty and staff due to budget cuts caused by the pandemic, but IU didn’t have to do so. He said the university’s fiscal position has remained strong and philanthropy is at high levels.
More than 308,000 degrees have been awarded over the last 14 years — the length of McRobbie’s time as IU president — and more than 212,000 of these degrees were earned by Indiana residents, making the university the largest source of higher-education in the state for residents, he said. More than 50,000 of these degrees were earned by students of color, McRobbie said.
McRobbie spoke more about diversity and growth of the student population during his tenure as president. He mentioned the opening of culture centers, like the LGBTQ+ Culture Center, and new programs that help marginalized students, like the Pandemic Health Disparities Fund, which helped students in need of financial support due to the pandemic. He said the class of 2020 has 23,401 students of color, a 102% increase over the last 14 years.
Continuing to speak about growth in the university, McRobbie said more than 500 new degrees and certificate programs have been created during his time as president. He also recognized a variety of different school openings across IU campuses that happened during his tenure, including both schools of public health, the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies and the Media School.
McRobbie concluded the speech by thanking his family, faculty, staff and everyone who has helped him during his 14-year tenure across all seven IU campuses.
“It has been an enormous honor to serve that great university and all of you,” he said.