IU names Bicentennial Steering Committee, Council of Historians

IU Newsroom

Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie has announced the creation of a Bicentennial Steering Committee to plan and organize activities celebrating the 200-year anniversary of the university’s founding, and the appointment of the first University Historian.

McRobbie made the announcement today, which is Founders Day — the anniversary of the day in 1820 when Jonathan Jennings, Indiana’s first governor, signed legislation creating a state seminary that would later become Indiana University.

The Indiana University Bicentennial will celebrate the university’s history and look ahead to new initiatives at the start of the institution’s third century. Planning will lead to a series of focused events and activities leading up to and including the 2019-20 academic year, the year of the IU bicentennial.

McRobbie said the events come as Indiana University implements two major new initiatives that will conclude in the Bicentennial Year: the Bicentennial Strategic Plan, a visionary, comprehensive and wide-ranging plan, complemented by campus, school, department and unit plans; and For All: The Bicentennial Campaign for Indiana University, a $2.5 billion campaign, IU’s largest campaign ever and its first all-campus campaign.

"The Bicentennial Year will be, in the truest sense of the word, a unique occasion in the life of this great university," McRobbie said. "It will be a marvelous and unrepeatable opportunity to reflect on Indiana University’s extraordinary contributions to education, learning and research for 200 years, its impact on the state, nation and the world, and to begin to envision all that it will become in its next century."

The Bicentennial Steering Committee will be charged with soliciting input from university constituencies to recommend themes and an intellectual framework for the bicentennial; goals and objectives for university-wide activities; publications, curricular innovations, public engagement projects, and other signature events and projects; commissions, public art and campus beautification projects; ways to enhance and expand the historical record of the university; and structures for administration and oversight of the bicentennial planning.

McRobbie also announced the leadership for the multi-year celebration, including professors Kathy Johnson and Steve Watt, co-chairs of the Steering Committee; Kelly Kish, deputy chief of staff in the Office of the President, who will serve as bicentennial director; and IU Bloomington faculty member James Capshew, who will serve as university historian. The Bicentennial Steering Committee will be made up of faculty, administrators, staff and students from a range of units and departments and from multiple campuses. Members of the Steering Committee and the Council of Historians, chaired by Capshew, are listed below.

Capshew will convene a Council of Historians, made up scholars, archivists and librarians from eight IU campuses, to collaborate on policy development and best practices related to IU’s historical identity. The council will coordinate research and public outreach for all aspects of the bicentennial; collaborate with university campuses, units and local communities; develop curricula to enable students to participate with IU history; create historical marker campaigns for all campuses; and coordinate publication of writings related to IU history and the bicentennial.

Steering Committee members will include:

  • Simon Atkinson, Chancellor’s Professor of Biology and Interim Vice Chancellor for Research, IUPUI
  • Kelly Bomba, Senior Assistant Athletic Director for External Operations/Director of Principal Gifts, IU Athletics
  • Doug Booher, Director of University Events
  • Katy Börner, Victor H. Yngve Professor of Information Systems, IU Bloomington
  • David Brenneman, Director, IU Art Museum
  • James Capshew, Associate Professor of History and Philosophy of Science and University Historian (ex-officio)
  • Rebecca Carl, Associate Vice President and Chief of Staff, Office of the Vice President for Engagement
  • Janet Carpenter, Distinguished Professor of Nursing, IUPUI
  • Lillian Casillas, Director, La Casa/Latino Cultural Center, IU Bloomington
  • Niki DaSilva, undergraduate student, IUPUI
  • Zebulun Davenport, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, IUPUI
  • Richard Dupree, Executive Vice President for Development, IU Foundation
  • Valerie Eickmeier, Dean, Herron School of Art and Design, IUPUI
  • Janice Lin Farlow, M.D./Ph.D. student and former member of the IU Board of Trustees
  • J T. Forbes, Chief Executive Officer, IU Alumni Association
  • Dennis Groth, Associate Professor of Informatics and Computing and Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, IU Bloomington
  • Richard Gunderman, Chancellor’s Professor of Radiology, Pediatrics, Medical Education, Philosophy, Liberal Arts, Philanthropy, and Medical Humanities and Health Studies, IUPUI
  • Kathy Johnson, Professor of Psychology and Interim Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer, IUPUI (co-chair)
  • Kelly Kish, Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of the President and Director, IU Bicentennial (ex-officio)
  • James Madison, Thomas and Kathryn Miller Professor Emeritus, Department of History, IU Bloomington
  • Michael Martin, Professor of Communication and Culture, Professor of American Studies and Director, Black Film Center/Archive, IU Bloomington
  • Shawn Reynolds, Associate Vice President for International Partnerships, Office of the Vice President for International Affairs
  • Gwyn Richards, Dean, Jacobs School of Music, IU Bloomington
  • Jim Sherman, Chancellor’s Professor Emeritus of Psychological and Brain Sciences, IU Bloomington
  • Jack Tharp, former Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, IU Kokomo
  • Adam Thies, Assistant Vice President, Capital Planning and Facilities, Office of the Vice President for Capital Planning and Facilities
  • Carolyn Walters, Associate Librarian and Ruth Lilly Dean of University Libraries
  • Jalen Watkins, undergraduate student, IU Bloomington
  • Stephen Watt, Provost Professor of English and Associate Dean for Strategic Initiatives, College of Arts and Sciences, IU Bloomington (co-chair)
  • James Wimbush, Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs and Dean, University Graduate School
  • Marianne Wokeck, Chancellor’s Professor of History, IUPUI

The Council of Historians, in addition to Capshew, will include:

  • Dionne Danns, Associate Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, School of Education, IU Bloomington
  • Sarah Heath, Chair of the Department of Sociology, History and Political Science, IU Kokomo
  • Elizabeth Gritter, Assistant Professor of History and Director, Institute for Local and Oral History, IU Southeast

James Lutz, Chair of the Department of Political Science, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne.

  • Stephen McShane, Director of the Calumet Regional Archives, IU Northwest
  • Alison Stankrauff, Archivist and Associate Librarian, Franklin D. Schurz Library, IU South Bend
  • Stephen E. Towne, Assistant University Archivist, University Libraries, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
  • Frances Yates, Director of the IU East Campus Library, IU East

Read the Charge to the Committee.