Indiana University, close?

Last updated January 29, 2019! 

On Twitter and Facebook I’m seeing lots of calls for the IUB campus to close but lots of doubts that it will happen because we “never” close. It’s true that it is not very common, but below are a list of closings we know about in the last hundred years or so:

  • February 3, 1908: No heat in the buildings.
  • February 5, 1908: Classes dismissed early due to heavy snow fall and rain.
  • Most of October, 1918: Due to the “Spanish Flu.”
  • November 25, 1963: Classes cancelled and offices closed due to Kennedy assassination.
  • January 26-27, 1978: Due to the Blizzard of ’78.
  • March 4-27, 1978: Due to coal shortage.
  • January 18-19, 1994: Due to record low temperatures (-34F).
  • March 20, 1996: Due to 10+ inches of wet, heavy snow.
  • February 14, 2007: Closed til noon due to heavy snow.
  • January 28, 2009: Closed due to snow.
  • December 26, 2012: Closed due to severe winter weather.
  • January 5-7, 2014: Closed beginning 9 PM January 5 through 5 PM January 7 due to a Polar Vortex. Classes were not yet in session and while harsh winter weather throughout the next month had folks hoping for additional closures, that did not occur.
  • January 30, 2019: Classes cancelled due to severe cold, with wind chills predicted to drop as low as -33. Campus remains open.

During the 1978 Blizzard, hearty IUB staff members who made their way in could be nominated for an “Icicle Award.”

1978 Icicle Award
1978 Icicle Award

Twenty two employees received this award, including 60 year old Willkie cafeteria employee¬†Minnie Carmichael, who walked 20 blocks with a strained ankle so that “her students would be greeted with her smiling face.”

So, there you have it. If you are among those calling for a closure today, cross your fingers and toes and you may get your wish!

Author- Dina Kellams

Director, Indiana University Archives. For more great IU history, follow us on Twitter @iubarchives or Facebook!

4 thoughts on “Indiana University, close?”

  1. Minnie Carmichael! Oh my gosh, I remember her. When I lived in Collins (then MRC) from 1979-1982, she worked in our cafeteria. Every day during dinner at some point she would come out into the dining room and call out, “Is everybody HAPPY?!” Everyone would cheer and Minnie would beam and scuttle back into the kitchen. She was a tiny little lady, but she certainly did have a smiling (and apparently memorable!) face.

  2. During the coal strike of 1978, there were some things open. There were no classes and students were sent home. The Main Library (now Wells) was open half days, at least on weekdays.. During the rest of the day, library staff were working, but the lights were off. I was in the old library school library and worked sitting by the large windows (north side of Ground Floor). The folks in the stacks had hard hats with lights on them to retrieve books. I don’t think any of those hats are still around.

  3. The thing I remember most about the 1978 coal strike was that, after coming back from a 3-week spring break, we had to make up all that missed class time. Everyone was going to class on Saturdays, and our finals were also moved back almost a week. Schedules for the residence halls, however, were unchanged…I took my last final and moved out of McNutt on the SAME DAY.

    So it was not a big party, and in fact was quite grueling for students and faculty alike.

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