IU Kokomo unveils new bicentennial marker

By Adam Gilbert, Kokomo Tribune

Indiana University Kokomo unveiled a special historical marker at the Seiberling Mansion Monday, in honor of Indiana University’s bicentennial and IU Kokomo’s 75th anniversary.

The Seiberling Mansion was the home of IU Kokomo from 1946-1965 prior to the current location on Washington Street. IU Kokomo Information Services librarian and campus archivist Meg Galasso said the marker is important because the mansion is where IU Kokomo truly began.

"We had a really brief period where we were at 508 W. Taylor St., but this really is our canonical home. This is where IU Kokomo really go its big start," she said. "It was really where we established our self as being part of the community, as being a real resource.

"I think it is wonderful to remind ourselves and our community of how long we’ve been here," Galasso continued. "I think a lot of folks in Kokomo come through the Seiberling to admire the woodwork and history, IU Kokomo was part of that history as well. I think this is an important way to tie those threads of history together."

IU Kokomo senior and history major Hannah Bourne works in the office of University Advancement and was asked by her employer, Jan Halperian, to compile applications for the marker in honor of the IU bicentennial.

"I ended up researching and writing two applications, which I then revised into one to recognize the Seiberling," Bourne said. "It is really special because IU Kokomo has had a massive impact on my life. I felt like it has developed me as a person and taught me some vital skills I will use moving forward into my career. To have some sort of mark, even a small one, on the history of the campus is special to me."

The unveiling was preceded by a garden party that featured speeches and anecdotes from multiple guests including Dr. Ted Grayson from the first class of IU Kokomo; Herb Miller, who taught in the 1940s; Bill Hunt, IU Kokomo associate professor of history; Sarah Heath, and Seiberling historian Dave Broman.

During his speech, Miller reminisced on his time as a professor on the campus.

"We had offices over in the bedrooms of the Mark Brown house and classrooms here at the mansion in various bedrooms, dining rooms and front rooms," he said. "Our part-time faculty came up from Bloomington, Purdue and professionals here in the area."

IU Kokomo Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke has been a part of the university as a professor since 1977. Sciame-Giesecke spoke about the day and what IU Kokomo means to the community.

"This has been a large part of my life at Indiana University. Coming here today to reflect on our past and to think about all that has transpired in those 75 years is overwhelming a bit," she said. "I know that this campus is just a huge resource for the community, so it was great to see people from way in the past to people who have recently graduated from our institution."

Sciame-Giesecke touched on one of her favorite moments of the day.

"I thought it was touching that the two sons of the first two directors have reunited after 20 years and are going to take a little tour and reminisce about their childhoods here when their fathers were the leaders of this campus," she said.

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