Celebrating 200 years of Indiana University

Indiana University celebrated its 200th year with a bicentennial celebration and historic marker tour On Sept. 17. Guests were able to tour IU South Bend and view various new historic markers while learning more about their significance. To close out the celebration, four faculty members were awarded bicentennial medals for their dedication to the history and preservation of IU South Bend.

Guests were greeted outside of University Grille with bicentennial year lapel pins and miniature replicas of the bicentennial medals. After being divided into three small groups, they were led by faculty to five different historic markers on campus. These included the Gloria Kaufman Marker, Northside Hall Marker, State Historic Marker, as well as informational sessions about the Civil Right Heritage Center and IU South Bend time capsule.

The State Historic Marker was placed on campus this year as a way to honor 200 years of IU. The groups received a presentation from medal recipient Pat Furlong, professor emeritus of history, about the growth of IU South Bend and its connection to IU Bloomington. According to Furlong this marker shows that IU South Bend is “part of a statewide university with a long and distinguished record.” The marker itself describes the exponential growth of the regional campus. It can be found on Mishawaka Avenue near the Administration building.

The Gloria Kaufman marker is another new addition to campus that shows not only the growth of this campus, but the incredible faculty that have built the university into what it is today. Director Associate Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies, April Lidinsky, another bicentennial medal recipient, explained to attendees the powerful impact that Gloria Kaufman had on the community. Kaufman is described by Lidinsky as a “trailblazing advocate for women’s rights.” Kaufman taught IU South Bend’s first women’s studies course, established the first Women’s Resource Center, and served as the first affirmative action officer at the university. Her historic marker is located directly outside of Schurz Library and details her lifetime of feminist accomplishments.

According to James Vanderveen, Professor of Archaeology and bicentennial medal recipient, the history of Northside Hall is unique because it is “the story of persistence and power, and how this building came to be.” The building broke ground in 1959 but was referred to as the “Indiana University South Bend-Mishawaka Center.”

However, as time continued the university continued to gain students, areas of study, and recognition as being more than purely a form of “extension education.” The first class graduated from IU South Bend in 1967, with only 31 students majoring in education and business.

It is clear that campus has changed a lot since the creation of what is now referred to as Northside. The Northside marker is located in front of the main doors and depicts its growth from a comprehensive education center to what it is today.

In addition to these historic markers, guests attended information sessions about the Civil Rights Heritage Center and Bicentennial Time Capsule. The Civil Rights Heritage Center serves as a reminder of how far the community has come in inclusivity but also the work that still needs to be done. The center originally began as a small section of the third floor of Wiekamp Hall nearly 20 years ago, but since 2010 it has been located in the old Public Natatorium building on Washington Street. This location showcases the historic discrimination in our community in hopes of inspiring present action to create a better future.

While the center sheds light on the history of the community, the bicentennial time capsule hopes to preserve a piece of present day IUSB for future generations to come. The time capsule was originally supposed to be buried in front of Schurz Library, but instead will be held on the fifth floor of the library in the newly created “IUSB History Center.”

Scott Shoger, medal recipient and archivist, describes the time capsule as a way “to tell the story of IU South Bend.” It contains photos, newspapers, magazines, and memorabilia from campus. The time capsule will be sealed, then opened in 100 years by future faculty and students. 

The event concluded with all groups joining together to hear from Chancellor Susan Elrod and IU Historian James Capshew. These closing remarks included acknowledgements of the history and success of IU South Bend. Elrod explained that even with the changes and difficulties of 2020, “we still have much to celebrate.” Capshew added that “2020 marks a remarkable year for IU and the world.” Bicentennial medals crafted out of the original bell from the IU Bloomington bell tower were then distributed to faculty members who truly distinguished themselves at the university. 

Congratulations to April Lidinsky, Scott Shoger, Jay VanderVeen, and Pat Furlong for their contributions to IU South Bend and its success.

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