New Collections: Water Resources Research Center Records & Robert V. Ruhe Papers

The Water Resources Research Center (WRRC) collection was my first processing endeavor as an intern at the IU archives. The WRRC was established in 1963 with the goal of integrating the diverse water research activities of Indiana University and coordinating them with the water programs of state and federal agencies, other academic institutions, and private organizations. This collection consists of records pertaining to the WRRC’s research, cooperation with other water resources organizations, and its administration.

Lake Monroe

The WRRC’s primary focus was on water issues pecuilar to the Midwest. Indiana’s largest lake, Lake Monroe, is just a short drive from Indiana University’s campus. The Center conducted many research projects involving the lake, including “The Calibration of Land Capability Model for the Lower Lake Monroe Watershed.” In addition to local water research projects, the WRRC received major funding from federal organizations such the National Science Foundation to conduct more large-scale research projects such as its “Climatic Impact on Soil Formation in the Midcontinent of the U.S.” Indiana University’s Water Resources Research Center closed in 1985 and today Indiana’s only remaining water research center is located at Purdue University.

Although I have worked in an archives and processed collections prior to interning at IU, this collection was the largest that I have processed to date at 13 cubic feet and it presented some interesting challenges. The first challenge was getting back in the archival saddle and relearning aspects of processing a collection, such as creating a folder list, determining appropriate series and sub-series, and ultimately creating a finding aid. An additional, and unforeseen challenge, was that what appeared to be one collection, actually turned out to be two collections. The personal papers and research of Robert V. Ruhe, professor of geology and long-time director of the WRRC, were mixed in with the records from the Center. It was necessary to go through and determine which records/folders belonged in the WRRC’s collection and which ones belonged in Ruhe’s personal collection.

Robert V. Ruhe

Robert Ruhe was a professor of geology and director of the WRRC for over a decade. Between obtaining his undergraduate degree and pursuing a doctoral degree in geology at Iowa State University, Ruhe served as a 2nd lieutenant in the Marine Corps. He began teaching at IU in 1970 and focused his research in the area of geomorphology and hydrology. Ruhe died in 1993.

If you would like access to either the Ruhe papers or the WRRC records, please contact the Archives!

New Collection: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Student Support Services Records

 The archives recently received and processed the records of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Student Support Services (GLBTSSS) office. Serious discussions about the formation of an Indiana University campus support center for gays and lesbians began in the late 1980s. A task force was appointed in 1990 to gather information on such a center and after three years of research, members of the task force submitted a report formally recommending that such an office be created. Proponents of the center cited the increasing levels of harassment aimed at GLBT students. For example, from 1992-1993 there were 58 instances of anti-GLBT harassment.


In the fall of 1994, the Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Student Support Services office opened amidst both support and controversy. The center’s name would not be amended to include ‘transexual’ until 1997, though the office claims that supporting transsexuals has been part of its mission since its opening. Doug Bauder, who is gay and an ordained minister in the Moravian church, was hired to be the coordinator of the office. Bauder has held the position since its opening. One of the biggest controveries surrounding the creation and opening of the center was the issue of whether public or private money would be used. Initially, $50,000 of public funds was allotted to the project; however, after complaints from many detractors, including numerous state legislators, it was decided that the $50,000 would come from private sources. This controversy was likely tied to other controversies surrounding the GLBT center, which included many misconceptions about its purpose. Some believed that the center would be used to promote homosexuality or that it would be a “mansion for gays.” Today, the center is publicly funded and much of the controversy has died down as the office has proven its mission of “providing information, support, mentoring, and counseling to members of the IU campus and the larger community.”

The office of the GLBT Support Services strives to be a resource center for all members of the Indiana University campus, not just those who fall under the GLBT label. The office contains a library of materials that focus on GLBT issues. It also serves as a center for education, collaboration, and networking for those interested in the GLBT community and promoting diversity on campus. The office has been an advocate for the rights and needs of GLBT students, including pushing for the presence of gender-neutral restrooms around campus and documenting instances of GLBT related harassment and crime.

Updated Collection: Kenneth R. R. Gros Louis Speeches

Kenneth R.R. Gros Louis

The archives recently received and processed additional speeches from Kenneth R. R. Gros Louis. Gros Louis has a long history at IU. In 1964 he relocated to Bloomington and began a new position as both Assistant Professor of English and Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature. In 1978 he was named Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. On September 15, 1980, he was named Vice President of the Bloomington campus before being promoted to Vice President of all of the Indiana University multi-campus system as well as adding the title of Chancellor of Indiana University-Bloomington on July 1, 1988. Effective August 11, 1994, IU president Myles Brand, expanded Gros Louis’ role in the universities administration and changed his title to “Vice President for Academic Affairs.” In January 2006, the Board of Trustees conferred upon him the title of University Chancellor, making him just the 2nd person to hold the esteemed title, which was created and held by IU’s beloved Herman B Wells from 1962 until his death in 2000.


Gros Louis’ primary responsibilities as Vice President and Bloomington Chancellor were the fielding of complaints and comments from students, faculty, and staff at IU. He was also responsible for aiding in the development of the universities academic agenda. In order to strengthen IU’s academic agenda, he often advocated that a stronger undergraduate curriculum will attract and keep good professors at IU. It was issues such as racism, sexism, quality of education, faculty concerns, and student living that were the motivating factors behind many of his administrative decisions. In 1994, with a change in job title to Vice President for Academic Affairs, he was then responsible for faculty promotion and tenure decisions; academic planning and program reviews; major curriculum revisions; accreditation; and improved interaction with the universities deans. On top of these administrative responsibilities, he also made great strides in improving IU as an educational and social institution by creating the Herman B Wells Program for Outstanding Scholars; he championed the effort to open the Office of Gay, Lesbian, & Bisexual Student Support Services; influenced the founding of the Film, Jewish, & Afro-American studies departments; and was instrumental in the development of the School of Journalism, formerly a department, and the School of Informatics.

Kenneth Gros Louis Greeting Students

The recent accession primarily includes speeches that Gros Louis made from 2002 through 2011, including ones given at faculty memorials and retirements, various anniversary celebrations, commencements, awards ceremonies, and much more. These, along with the rest of Kenneth R. R. Gros Louis’ speeches can be found in C220. This collection contains the speeches that he made while employed in his various IU administrative capacities, spanning from 1979-2011, including those relating to faculty councils, freshman introduction ceremonies, campus events, as well as various inspirational speeches on topics such as “Women in Science” and “Minority Mentoring.”


John William Ryan – Remembering IU’s 14th President

 Following the abrupt resignation of Joseph Sutton upon the death of his wife, John William Ryan was named the 14th President of Indiana University on January 26, 1971 . The circumstances of his appointment were somewhat controversial, as the Board of Trustees quickly ushered Ryan into office, forgoing the lengthy process of instituting a search committee in favor of maintaining strong university leadership. However, John Ryan was no stranger to Indiana University. He earned both his master’s and doctoral degrees in political science from the university and served as vice president of IU’s regional campuses for three years before his appointment. In addition to the controversy surrounding the beginning of his presidency, Ryan came into the position during a somewhat tumultuous time. The 1960s were filled with student activism, largely as a result of the Vietnam War, as well as a general anti-establishment attitude. Ryan took office during the tail end of this. Additionally, in 1969 there was a zero percent increase in state appropriations to the University, and tuition was raised by a staggering 66.7 percent. Coupled with an overall national decline in federal support for undergraduate programs, this placed the University in a somewhat critical financial situation.

Ryan weathered these storms and went on to accomplish many things during his tenure. After assuming the presidency, Ryan summed up his goals, saying:

The principal concerns I have are: first, to increase the understanding of the people of this state of the priceless asset that this university represents and of the need we have to keep it that way; and two, to increase the understanding of all of us at the University about the needs of this state, and how the university can help meet those needs.

Ryan went on to oversee most of the construction of I.U.P.U.I., as well as the creation of the Southeast campus at New Albany. He is largely credited with the development of the regional campus system, which increased the number of degree opportunities for citizens around the state. Through this endeavor, he also strengthened Indiana University’s ties to Purdue University. In 1986 Ryan was named one of the top 100 most effective college leaders in the nation. He was also appointed to serve as chairman of the National Advisory Board on International Education, which was created to offer counsel to the Secretary of Education.

While these are all admirable achievements, one accomplishment that John Ryan held very dear was his receipt of the Horatio Alger Award from the Boys Club of Indianapolis in October 1981. This award is given to someone who has overcome humble beginnings and achieved significant success. Born in Chicago in 1929, Ryan was the oldest of six children. Having grown up in a large family, there was no money for him to attend college. Consequently, he took the Navy ROTC test and was sent to the University of Utah. Once in Utah Ryan enrolled in college, but his finances were so terrible that he began going to the Knights of Columbus Hall for free meals. It was there that he met a man who would later become his father-in-law, and through him he met his future wife, Patricia Gooday. After marrying, Ryan held down two jobs while finishing his bachelor’s degree.

John Ryan, 1980

John Ryan remained Indiana University’s president until 1987, when after almost 17 years he stepped down. However, his work for the University was not over. One of his primary reasons for leaving the presidency was to concentrate on the Campaign for Indiana, which was launched in 1985 as a five-year effort to obtain private funds for the university in order to provide increased endowments in support of faculty, students, research centers, libraries, and museums. The Campaign also provided funding for program development and construction projects.

Throughout his time at Indiana University, Ryan earned the respect of staff, faculty, legislators, and alumni. He had a vision for the growth of the university and the results of that vision can be seen today in IU’s eight-campus system. To learn more about the life, presidency, and accomplishments of John Ryan you can read his speeches here, or request to view records from his presidency at the Indiana University’s Archives!

When Robert Kennedy Came to Bloomington

My name is Lora and I am interning at the Indiana University Archives for the summer. As part of my internship, I was asked to assist a patron with a reference request regarding Robert F. Kennedy’s visit to Bloomington. This was my first time using microfilm, which was a great learning experience. I examined articles from The Indiana Daily Student and The Daily Herald-Telephone to see what was published regarding his visit and his assassination a few weeks later.

Senator Robert Kennedy speaks to RCA employees (The Daily Herald-Telephone, 4/25/68)

Kennedy arrived in Bloomington on April 24, 1968, on a campaign tour for the Indiana primary. He was accompanied by former astronaut John Glenn and both were greeted by large crowds when they landed at the Monroe County airport. While in Bloomington, Kennedy made multiple stops, including at a local RCA manufacturing facility and the Indiana University campus, where over 4,000 people came to hear him speak. As a result of this reference request, a previously unknown recording of this important speech was uncovered in another office on campus! A really exciting new acquisition for the University Archives! (Update: This recording has been digitized and is available through Media Collections Online at

Former Astronaut John Glenn and Robert Kennedy upon arriving in Bloomington. (The Daily Herald-Telephone, 4/25/68)

In his speeches, Kennedy focused on issues such as rural development through tax incentives and decreasing America’s role as a world policeman, stating “we must make calm and discriminating judgments as to which governments can and should be helped.” Many of these comments were made within the context of America’s then involvement in Vietnam. Kennedy also called for an end to educational draft deferments, which was met with some boos from students. Despite disagreement with some of his policies, Kennedy left an impression upon many in Bloomington as a charismatic politician and large crowds greeted him wherever he traveled. Kennedy was shot by Sirhan Sirhan shortly after midnight on June 5, 1968, and upon news of his death, Bloomington residents expressed shock and sadness at the loss of a “great leader.”