IU Historical Marker Program

Identifying areas of historical significance

Modeled after the State of Indiana’s historical marker program and many successful municipal programs, the Indiana University Historical Marker Program notes significant people, places, events, and organizations that have had an extraordinary impact on the university, state, nation, and world.

The markers are visually appealing and are installed on campus and at off-campus heritage sites where appropriate.

The Indiana University Historical Marker Program is directed by James Capshew, University Historian.

Installed Historical Markers

TopicImageCampusInstallation Date
Marker Text
Hess v. IndianaHess_Indiana_1.10.20.jpgIU Bloomington11/8/2019

An Indiana University student protest led to a landmark First Amendment case. In response to the National Guard’s killing of four students demonstrating against the Vietnam War at Kent State University on May 4, 1970, a group of protesters gathering at Bryan Hall on May 13 demanding to see President Joseph L. Sutton. Student Greg Hess shouted, “We will take the fucking street later…,” resulting in his arrest for violating the Indiana disorderly conduct statute. Represented by law professor F. Thomas Schornhorst, Hess was convicted in local court, and the Indiana Supreme Court upheld the ruling. Believing a First Amendment issue was at stake, Schornhorst and fellow law professor Patrick Baude appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1973, the Court overturned Hess’s conviction, finding the arrest to have been an unconstitutional infringement on his First Amendment rights. The Court’s decision remains an important case for its protection of speech that does not incite immediate unlawful action.


TopicImageCampusInstallation Date
Marker Text
Elinor OstromElinor-Ostrom.jpgIU Bloomington10/7/2019

(1933-2012)

I was deeply interested in how institutions were initially crafted, and then how they affected the incentives and outcomes of human interactions in many settings.

Elinor “Lin” Ostrom was a global leader in the multidisciplinary arena of political economics, property rights, and collective action. In 1965, she earned a Ph.D. in Political Science at UCLA, and began her IU career. She co-founded the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis with Vincent Ostrom in 1973 to further interdisciplinary teaching and research about institutions and collection action. Her book, Governing the Commons (1990), demonstrated not only that local groups can successfully work together to manage and sustain shared resources but how. Elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2001, she became the first woman to receive the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, for her groundbreaking analysis “of economic governance, especially the commons” in 2009.

Lyda RadfordimageIU Southeast10/9/2019

(1900-1981)

From an acorn a big oak has grown.

In 1941, Lyda Radford was likely the first student to enroll at what became Indiana University Southeast. Born in New Albany, she began a 45-year teaching career in the Louisville public schools in 1923 after receiving a two-year diploma from Louisville Colored Normal School. She earned a bachelor’s degree by taking classes at Indiana University and the University of Cincinnati (B.S., 1939) due to limited options in Kentucky. Radford undertook post graduate studies at Falls City Area Center in 1941, later taking additional classes at the Jeffersonville Extension Center, forerunners of IU Southeast. Her academic journey has become a benchmark for IU Southeast students pursuing higher education while advancing professionally in the region. In 1949, she wrote to Floyd McMurray, director of the extension center (1941-56), a warm note of appreciation, remembering the educational opportunity he afforded her, and marveling at the center’s growth.   

TopicImageCampusInstallation Date
Marker Text
Seiberling MansionSeiberling-Mansion.jpgIU Kokomo9/16/2019

The Seiberling Mansion served as Indiana University’s Kokomo Extension Center from 1947 to 1965, until the campus moved to Washington Street. IU President Herman B Wells envisioned building higher education capacity in north-central Indiana to serve anticipated post World War II enrollment growth, especially veterans on the GI Bill. In 1946, IU purchased the Queen Anne/Romanesque Revival-style house, built for industrialist Monroe Seiberling in 1891, along with adjacent Elliott House and carriage houses. The center was led by directors Virgil Hunt, Smith Higgins, and Victor Bogle, who successively oversaw student growth, expansion of faculty and curriculum, and community engagement. In 1971, IU leased the mansion to the Howard County Historical Society to be used as a museum, with the university retaining ownership until 1997. In 1972, the home was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.   

Tamarack HallTamarack-Hall.JPGIU Northwest9/26/2019

In 1955, the city of Gary donated land for the site of a new Indiana University campus, the Gary Extension Center. The first building, Gary Main, opened in 1959. The Indiana limestone structure housed all campus facilities: classrooms, science labs, administrative and faculty offices, a library, a bookstore, lounges, a lobby for exhibits, and a 600-seat auditorium. Serving as a cultural catalyst, Gary Main established the first regional campus theater program in 1961. It became a cultural hub for the region, sponsoring many community/campus theater productions, art exhibits, and other performances. A large addition was completed in 1966. Upon the inauguration of the IU regional campus system in 1968, the Gary Extension Center became Indiana University Northwest. In 1977, Gary Main was renamed Tamarack Hall, after a tree species common in the region. Devastated by a flood in 2008, it never reopened and was demolished in 2012.

University Lakelake.JPGIU Bloomington10/15/2019

It was feared that the University would have to be closed for lack of water.

Due to frequent droughts and dependence upon Bloomington’s municipal water supply, the Indiana University campus suffered recurrent water shortages beginning in 1899. To counter threats to move the university to Indianapolis, IU president William Lowe Bryan obtained state funding to construct a reservoir in 1909. IU selected a suitable site along a side valley of Griffy Creek. In July 1911, workers completed a 29-foot concrete arch dam, along with waterworks to pump the water. Two years later, IU increased the dam’s height to 40 feet so it could hold more water. Although this ensured an adequate water supply for the campus’ physical plant, city residents and students continued to suffer from water famines. After a protracted process marred by political corruption, the city of Bloomington dammed the main channel of Griffy Creek in 1924, creating Griffy Lake, which supplied water to both the city and IU. University Lake, now redundant as a water supply, serves as a site for recreation and research.

Collins Living-Learning Centercollins.jpgIU Bloomington10/25/2019

Collins has been a national leader in high-impact residential education centered of self-governance, the arts, and sustainability since 1972. Built as the first university-owned dormitory in 1924, Washington Hall (now Smith, formerly South Hall) housed students previously scattered in private rooming houses. With West (now Edmondson) and North (now Cravens) Halls, opened in 1940, it formed the Men’s Residence Center. From 1942-44 MRC hosted the U.S. Naval Training School, which trained more than 5,000 personnel for wartime service, and from 1959-61 it was the site of the Air Force Language Training Program. MRC became coeducational in 1970. A student campaign saved it from being repurposed as office space, and in 1972 MRC became IU’s first Living-Learning Center, an experimental community modeled on residential colleges where students gained responsibility for shaping the academic curriculum. It was named in honor of former MRC headmaster Ralph L. Collings in 1980.

Whitewater Hallwhitewater.jpgIU East11/5/2019

In 1971, the Trustees of Indiana University, with significant financial assistance from local residents, purchased land for a new campus in Richmond. Breaking ground in 1972, the main building of Indiana University East was dedicated by IU President John Ryan in 1975. This building, similar in function and style to the first buildings on the other regional campuses, served as a comprehensive academic center. It provided classrooms, laboratories, an auditorium, computer facilities, a library, a student center, and faculty and staff offices for the new campus. In 1992, upon the construction of Hayes Hall, the campus’ second building, it was named Whitewater Hall, in honor of the east fork of the Whitewater River running through Richmond. Remaining a vital center on an expanded campus, Whitewater Hall embodies the confluence of educational aspirations in the local community with the statewide presence of Indiana University.

Historical Marker Committee

This committee is appointed by the University Historian and is comprised of approximately 15 voting faculty members and five ex officio members who will assist the University Historian with evaluating nominations, conducting research, determining historical marker locations, and writing historical marker text.


  • Bob Barrows, Professor Emeritus, Department of History, IUPUI
  • Bonnie Brownlee, Professor Emeritus, Media School, IUB
  • James Capshew, University Historian (Chair)
  • Linda Fariss, Director, Law Library, IUB
  • Patrick Furlong, Professor Emeritus, Department of History, IUSB
  • Paul Helmke, Director, Civic Leaders Center SPEA, IUB
  • DeLoice Holliday, Multicultural Outreach Librarian, Neal Marshal Black Culture Center, IUB
  • James Madison, Professor Emeritus, Department of History, IUB
  • Dick McKaig, Dean of Students Retired, IUB
  • Joanne Passet, Professor, School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering, IUB
  • Jack Tharp, Vice Chancellor and Dean of Students Emeritus, IUK

Past Members

  • Simon Atkinson, Vice Chancellor for Research, IUPUI
  • Gerald Bepko, IUPUI Chancellor Emeritus
  • Anya Peterson Royce, Chancellors' Professor, Anthropology
  • William Plater, Chancellor's Professor Emeritus of Public Affairs, Philanthropy, and English, IUPUI

Nominate a topic for a historical marker

You are welcome to nominate topic(s) to be considered for an IU Historical Marker. Before nominating a topic for a historical marker, review the program’s policy. Other avenues of recognition should be pursued before nominating a topic for a historical marker. This includes university alumni awards, faculty recognition awards, honorary degrees for living individuals, internal and external facility names, and other university recognition programs.

Nomination Deadline
January 10, 2020
May 1, 2020

Submit a nomination

Go to the nomination form