IU President Thomas Ehrlich

The finding aid for the presidential records of former Indiana University president, Thomas Ehrlich (1987-1994), is now available!

President Ehrlich at the 1989 Commencement.
President Ehrlich at the 1989 Commencement.

Thomas Ehrlich was born on March 4, 1934 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  Ehrlich graduated from Harvard College in 1956 and from Harvard Law School in 1959.  Before his appointment at IU, he worked as a lawyer before entering academia, serving as a professor and dean of the law school at Stanford University and later provost and professor at the University of Pennsylvania. He also held two presidential appointments, serving as the first president of the Legal Services Corporation and the first director of the International Development Cooperation Agency.

On August 1, 1987, Ehrlich became the fifteenth president of Indiana University.  He served in this post for seven years, departing with the title of President Emeritus in 1994.

The financial troubles of the early 1990s led to many legislative battles during Ehrlich’s tenure.  In order to demonstrate to Indiana legislators the importance of funding for public universities, Ehrlich and his wife, Ellen, held weekly dinners at Lilly House in Indianapolis when the state legislature was in session. Ehrlich also implemented Legislative Days, in which legislators were invited to tour the Indiana University campus, and attend a meal and a basketball game.  He successfully helped secure state funding for the renovation of three buildings in the Old Crescent as well as the $18 million Multi-Campus Technology Project.

Ehrlich chats with Judith Palmer and Pat Kiely on Legislator Day in November of 1987.

Ehrlich was also responsible for initiating and hosting a television series called “Pro & Con.” The half hour program featured Ehrlich and select IU faculty members discussing controversial issues of concern to the public, ranging from topics such as the death penalty and animal research to contemporary music and teaching. The show was taped at the WTIU facilities in Bloomington and broadcast during the spring and summer months by nearly all of the PBS stations in Indiana, with stations in states such as California, Florida, and Virginia electing to air the program as well. “Pro & Con” continued well after Ehrlich’s retirement, continuing through the tenure of his successor, Myles Brand (1994-2002).


In a Herald Times article written shortly before he left IU, Ehrlich commented that he felt that among his greatest achievements as president had been the academic agenda and long-term planning efforts aimed at increasing academic expectations, raising overall retention rates, especially among minority students, and improving teaching, research, and service at IU.

When Ehrlich left Indiana University in 1994, it was in order to return to teaching and to spend more time with his family.  He and his wife moved to California where he was Distinguished Scholar at California State University and taught at San Francisco State University. He then spent ten years as the Senior Scholar at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.  Ehrlich has been a visiting professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Education since 2009.

If you’re interested in learning more about IU President Thomas Ehrlich, feel free to browse the finding aid for his records or speeches. Contact the Archives for access or with questions!

The Papers of Lynton K. Caldwell – Additions


Several years ago, the papers of Dr. Lynton K. Caldwell were generously donated to the IU Archives.  We are pleased to announce that we have been fortunate enough to receive several more boxes of Caldwell’s papers! The additional materials provide a more in-depth look into the life work of this truly fascinating man. The revised finding aid for this collection can be found on the Archives website.

Dr. Caldwell was a longtime faculty member at Indiana University Bloomington who was known as the “grandfather of Biopolitics” and the “father of the political impact statement.” He is also credited as being one of the first people to use the word “environment” in the way we mean it today. 

Although best remembered for his career while at Bloomington, Caldwell actually began his IU teaching career at the South Bend campus.  He worked there from 1939 through 1944, but came to Bloomington in 1965.  During his time at IU, he taught political science and public and environmental affairs, and was a leader in the establishment of the School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) in 1972.  Caldwell was the Arthur F. Bentley Chair and Professor of Political Science and and Professor of Public and Environmental Affairs. He retired from teaching in 1984, but remained highly active in environmental and public policy scholarship.

Caldwell was also a national leader and analyst of environmental policy.  Most famously, Caldwell was an instrumental member of the Senate committee that established the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, or NEPA.  He was responsible for the idea of the environmental impact statement and was a principal author of the law.  In addition to his scholarly work, Caldwell wrote and delivered several reports and testimonies for the United States Congress, Senate, and various governmental departments.


Dr. Caldwell was the author of numerous books, scholarly articles, introductions, forwards, and book reviews as well as serving as editor on multiple occasions.  Caldwell was best known in academic and government circles, but his works had a profound impact on environmental public policy in the United States as well as globally.  Some of his books include Between Two worlds: Science, the Environment Movement and Policy Choice (1992), In Defense of Earth (1972), and International Environmental Policy: Emergence and Dimensions (1984).

Interestingly, the Caldwell collection also contains Caldwell family genealogy and a large number of photographs. The photographs have been separated from the main Caldwell collection, but can be located in the Archives photograph collection.

Visit the IU Archives website if you’re interested in learning more about Lynton K. Caldwell and his extraordinary life in environmental public policy.