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The Indiana Daily Student


Pamela Whitten inaugurated as IU’s 19th, first female president


The inauguration for IU’s 19th president Pamela Whitten was Nov. 4 at the IU Auditorium. Students, professors and community members from IU’s campuses attended the inauguration.

Whitten said one of her first priorities as president is the establishment of the Presidential Diversity Hiring Initiative.  

“IU must continue efforts to diversify our student body, however, this initiative will provide students with world-class teachers and researchers who will bring unique perspectives to the classroom,” Whitten said. 

This $30 million investment of funds reallocated from nonacademic services and external gifts will go to create a more diverse faculty with  a focus on hiring from underrepresented groups, according to a press release from News at IU. 

Students and faculty representing all seven IU campuses were in attendance. Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton and Indiana State Gov. Eric Holcomb attended and gave speeches at the inauguration. 

“There has never been a more empowering time to be a Hoosier,” Holcomb said.   

Whitten received her bachelor’s degree in management from Tulane University and her doctorate in communication studies from the University of Kansas, according to her LinkedIn. Whitten has had multiple leadership positions at top universities including Michigan State, University of Georgia and Kennesaw State University. 

“It is abundantly clear to me that, after four months as president, that IU is an intensely vital place,” Whitten said. 

Alyson Essex, IU-Purdue University Indianapolis School of Medicine doctorate student, said she is confident Whitten is prepared to meet the challenge of championing change and innovation. 

“I look forward to watching as President Whitten leads Indiana University to the forefront of innovation, sustainability and progress,” Essex said. 

Martin Vargas, IU Alumni Association manager at large, represented IU alumni at the inauguration and spoke of the alumni’s importance to the university. 

“They are the legacy of IU’s faculty and staff who support those who develop students’ hearts, minds and potential to make a difference in the world,” Vargas said. 

Senior Erika Araujo represented undergraduate students at the inauguration. 

“Personally, it is very inspiring to see a woman in this role and to have one that is so student focused,”  Araujo said. 

Raymond Wise, African American and African Diaspora Studies professor, conducted the African American Choral Ensemble in his original piece “Shine the Light” to introduce Whitten. 

“There are still some dark places in the world, we must do all we can to make this a better place and a safer place for all,” Wise said. 

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