IU through the ages
Wondering about the history behind IU? The University has a rich past that has made it into what it is today. These events were some of the biggest, and knowing about them will give you a little insight into what you see now.
Indiana’s state government founds Indiana University as the State Seminary. It was originally located in Seminary Square Park near the corner of Second Street and College Avenue. Construction was initially stalled by the debate between whether Vincennes University (Indiana Territory’s public university) or a new institution should become the state public university. IU won out, and construction began in 1822.
The legislature changes the school’s name, for the final time, to Indiana University. The name went from State Seminary to Indiana College to IU.
The University admits its first female student, Sarah Parke Morrison, making IU one of the first state universities to admit men and women on an equal basis. Morrison went on to become the first female professor at IU. Morrison Hall is named for her.
Also this year, the Indiana Daily Student (originally called The Indiana Student), a free daily newspaper produced by IU students, is founded.
The University’s original campus in Seminary Square burns to the ground in a fire thought to be caused by a lightning strike. The trustees estimated the loss at more than $100,000. Some wanted the school moved to Indianapolis, but the trustees voted to rebuild on a 20-acre site called Dunn’s Woods at Bloomington’s then-eastern edge.
Biologist David Starr Jordan becomes school president. At age 34, he was the nation’s youngest university president. Although IU was secular, Jordan was the first non-clergyman president. He later became president of Stanford University. The Jordan River and Jordan Hall are named after him.
The Hoosiers become a member of the prestigious Big Ten Conference. IU teams have won or shared 157 Big Ten Conference championships. National team titles now total 25 — 24 NCAA, one AIAW.
Marcellus Neal becomes the first African American to earn a degree from IU. Today, the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center is named after him along with Frances Elizabeth Marshall, the first black female student at IU, who earned a B.A. degree in English.
The School of Commerce and Finance, which later became the Kelley School of Business, opens. The school was the 18th ranked business school overall by Business Week in 2011 and 10th by U.S. News & World Report in 2010.
The IU School of Music opens. Now called the IU Jacobs School of Music, it consistently ranks among the best music schools in the nation.
The controversial Institute for Sex Research, now called the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction, is established.
IU puts on the first Little 500 bicycle race. Howdy Wilcox Jr., executive director of the Indiana University Student Foundation, founded the Little 500 bicycle race. Wilcox modeled the race after the Indianapolis 500. Every April, IU puts on the race at the Bill Armstrong Stadium. The 1979 Academy Award-winning film “Breaking Away” featured the race.
The undefeated men’s basketball team wins the championship under the coaching of Bob Knight. No other team has won undefeated since. Knight’s volatile personality often got him into trouble during his time at IU; he memorably threw a chair across the court. He was fired from his coaching position in 2000 after grabbing the arm of a student who he felt had been disrespectful to him.
Michael A. McRobbie is named the 18th president of IU.
Kappa Alpha Psi, the first black fraternity at IU and one of the first of its kind in the country, celebrates its 100th anniversary. It was founded in 1911 in Bloomington. In July, nearly 4,000 members traveled to Bloomington to celebrate to fraternity’s centennial.
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