IU Bicentennial events honor university’s history

The Office of the Bicentennial has planned A Day of Commemoration to honor the university’s 200th anniversary Monday.

The university has been determined to grow since its founding, IU spokesperson Chuck Carney said. He said building for the future includes working to develop new areas of study and schools within the university.

“It’s really been more than a celebration, but a look backward at what we achieved and a look forward in what we plan to achieve,” Carney said.

The bicentennial is an important way to recognize IU's history, university historian James Capshew said. Diversifying the narrative is still a work in progress, though. It requires uncovering stories focused on women, minorities and staff.

“IU’s history is part of their identity,” Capshew said. “So trying to understand that, how it’s developed, and where it’s going to be in the future is really what the Bicentennial is about.”

Here are five events taking place on A Day of Commemoration.

Big Red 200 Supercomputer Dedication Ceremony

This ceremony commemorates the Big Red 200 Supercomputer at 10 a.m. in the Cyberinfrastructure Building. The event includes a reception, tours of the data center and opening remarks from President Michael McRobbie and three other speakers. The event will be live-streamed at broadcast.iu.edu.

Inaugural Ringing of the Arthur R. Metz Bicentennial Grand Carillon

The carillon will ring for the first time at 11:45 a.m. in the IU Arboretum. Members of the Jacobs School of Music will play the instrument. The carillon includes 65 bells and will replace the tower that used to be on 17th Street and Jordan Avenue.

200th Anniversary Luncheon

This invite-only luncheon will unveil the “Lux et Veritas” paintings beginning at 12 p.m. in Presidents Hall inside Franklin Hall. Eskenazi School of Art professor Bonnie Sklarski painted the two pieces representing the university’s motto of “light and truth.”

Later in the luncheon, guests can view a digitally reconstructed skeleton of a giant ground sloth called "Megajeff," which will be available in the Franklin Hall commons. It was created by researchers at the Indiana Geological and Water Survey and once existed within the natural history collections at IU. Two representatives from the survey will speak about the project. The display will remain in the commons for several weeks before eventually going on tour to other IU campuses.

An Afternoon with Viola Davis

Award-winning actress and producer Viola Davis is coming at 4 p.m. to the Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. Davis will speak on themes of the bicentennial and Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The event is already sold out. A standby line outside the south lobby will begin at 2 p.m. for those who do not have tickets but still wish to attend. Admission is free.

200th Anniversary Dinner

McRobbie will welcome invited guests at 5:30 p.m. in the Wright Quad dining hall to present a mural of IU history, created by Caleb Weintraub, an associate professor of painting. It is an expansion of existing artwork, and it will depict events and symbols of 1998 through 2020. Although the dinner is invite-only, the mural will be permanently installed at the north end of the dining hall.

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