Indiana University: 200 Years in the Making

The Indiana Seminary was founded by the Indiana General Assembly on January 20, 1820. During its inaugural year, the school featured just one teacher who taught Ancient Greek and Latin. The school expanded its curriculum and became Indiana College in 1828 and Indiana University in 1838. January 20, 2020 will be Indiana University’s 200th anniversary.

To mark this momentous occasion, the IU Office of the Bicentennial will engage faculty, staff, students, alumni, and the general public with exciting programs that will celebrate, chronicle, and explore IU’s history and inspire the next 100 years at Indiana University.

Students collaborate in a high-tech classroom

Grant Programs

The Office of the Bicentennial administers two grant programs. The Course Development Program provides funds to faculty and staff for the creation of new or revised courses that incorporate Bicentennial goals. The Project Proposal Program allows faculty, staff, alumni, and students to apply for funding in support of projects that enhance IU’s Bicentennial goals.

Learn more about the project proposal program
Student pose at Ernie Pyle commemorative sculpture at IU Bloomington

Signature Projects

Signature Projects engage students, staff, faculty, and the public in the ways that Indiana University has shaped society. Signature Projects are organized into Recognition Projects; Lectures, Reunions, and Conferences; Public Art and Campus Beautification; Heritage and Legacy Programs; Public Programs and Outreach; and Academic and Extra-Curricular Innovations.

See more signature projects
Hoagy Carmichael historical marker

Get involved

The Indiana University Bicentennial encourages participation by students, faculty, staff, and the public. Opportunities range from volunteer positions and internships to program attendance, historical marker nominations, and participation in the Bicentennial Oral History Project.

Learn how to get involved

The IU Bicentennial is an opportunity to reflect on Indiana University’s first 200 years, and to envision all that it will become in its next century.

Michael A. McRobbie, President, Indiana University

Moments in IU history

A sepia-toned photo of the main building on the Seminary Square campus

Seminary Square


Classes at Indiana University began in 1825 at a two-story building located to the southwest of the current IU Bloomington campus. A catastrophic fire in the 1880s led the school to relocate to its current location. This timeline details the history of IU’s original campus from its beginning in the 1820s through the present. Indiana University Archives.

See the history of the IU Bloomington campus
A couple dressed in military uniforms passes through a human arch formed by military people touching swords together in the air.

IU Military Balls


The National Defense Act of 1916 established ROTC programs nation-wide. One outgrowth of the ROTC program was the military ball. In the 1930s and 1940s, the military ball became a premiere student event at IU. This blog provides an overview of these events through the 1960s. Indiana University Archives.

Read the blog post

Something bigger than yourself