Community Voices Exhibit – Alliance of Bloomington Museums

Continuing through November 30th, the Community Voices Gallery at the Monroe County History Center is home to an exhibit highlighting the varied collections of the Alliance of Bloomington Museums (ABM). IMAG0250Whether it is art and design, history and culture, or science and human sexuality, there is something for everyone.  Indiana University members of the ABM include the Elizabeth Sage Historic Costume Collection, the Grunwald Gallery of Art, the Indiana University Art Museum, the Kinsey Institute, the IU Archives, the Mathers Museum of World Cultures, Glenn Black Laboratory of Archaeology, Wylie House, the Lilly Library, and the Indiana Geological Survey. Community museum members are the Farmer House Museum, the Hinkle-Garton Farmstead Community Historic Site, the Monroe County History Center, and the WonderLab Museum of Science, Health and Technology.

Items drawn from the IU Archives include photographs from the Charles Cushman and IMAG0249David Repp photograph collections, Professor Robert Borkenstein‘s original prototype for the Breathalyzer and Leonard Ruckelshaus‘s “I Men” sweater and diary from the 1922 IU baseball team trip to Japan,  A few of the other items not to be missed will be Dr. Alfred Kinsey’s two books—Sexual Behavior in the Human Male and Sexual Behavior in the Human Female—as well as a novelty item that appeared the same year as the female volume, all from the Kinsey Institute; archaeological finds from the Glenn Black Laboratory and limestone-industry offerings from the Indiana Geological Survey; and items related to maple syrup production from the Hinkle-Garton Farmstead.

There will be a special free reception on Friday, September 6 from 5:00 pm -7:00 pm where museumfliervisitors can get a behind-the-scenes look at potential student work-study jobs, internships and volunteer opportunities in local museums. and speak with museum staff members. The reception coincides with the downtown First Friday Gallery Walk.

The Monroe County History Center is located at the corner of 6th and Washington Streets in downtown Bloomington, just five blocks from the Sample Gates. For more information about the exhibit, please call the Center at (812) 332-2517. For more information about the Alliance of Bloomington Museums, as well as a link to each of the member’s websites, go online to


History of the Freshman Induction Ceremony

With the start of a new academic year, it seemed appropriate to review one of IU’s older, still existing traditions – the Freshman Induction Ceremony.

When did it start: The first Freshman Induction Ceremony was held in 1933 and was organized by George Ezra Shaeffer, a member of the IU Department of Physical Education (later part of HPER). The event continued to be held annually through 1969. For the next eleven years from 1970 to 1980, Freshman Induction ceremonies were not convened. The event reappeared in 1981 and is still a prominent feature of Freshman Orientation events.

Where was it held? The first Freshman Induction ceremony was held in front of what was then called the Men’s Gymnasium (now called Wildermuth Intramural Center). Here is a brief description of that ceremony from the IDS of Sept. 9, 1933: “Orientation will be climaxed Monday night by a formal induction of freshmen into the ranks of the student body beginning at 6:55 pm in front of the Men’s Gymnasium. The procession will go from there to the Sun Dial and to the Gymnasium terrace to take part in the welcoming ceremony in honor of new students at 7:15 pm.” In 1934 the event was moved to the area in front of the Student Building. This remained the site until 1948 when the event was transferred to the Auditorium, where it continues to be held.

The Spirit of Indiana. Behind her stands President Herman B Wells and President Emeritus William Lowe Bryan.

What occurs at this event? What is its meaning? From 1933 until 1969 the Freshman Induction ceremony followed the same basic script. The ceremony began with music, followed by the processional of faculty and the platform group, and the playing of the National Anthem. The first person first to speak was a female IU student dressed in a white robe as the “Spirit of Indiana,” who represented the University’s search for truth and knowledge. The Spirit’s speech is too long to reproduce here, but here are some excerpts:

“The spirit that greets you here is the rich heritage of a glorious past made possible by students, who like yourselves entering the university, feel strangely far from home and intimate friends, but who soon adapted to their new environment. The university covets for each of you a like experience…Make the most of the opportunities while here, acquaint yourself with the best traditions of the university, leave them richer in tradition than when you entered it. Such is the Law of Progress. All that has been and all that is of the spirit of Indiana University welcomes you unreservedly.”

The next speaker was the IU President who read the Charge to the students:

“I am for those who see our University as it is, with all its strengths and yet with all its needs, and who therefore know it is at its best—its resolute integrity, its allegiance to the whole truth, its long service in bringing the young people of this State toward the fullness of the life of the mind, its passion for a clean and just democracy. I am for those who see through the superficialities to the University’s basic purpose: the intellectual development of her sons and daughters. It is in their growth that she exults, for by their excellence they will judge her. Across the earth, these sons and daughters join you in the pledge of the Psalmist of old: ‘If I forget thee, let my right hand forget her cunning. Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I remember thee not.’”

Upon finishing the Charge the IU President asked the students to repeat the Pledge to the University adopted from an oath delivered by Athenian youth pledging to dutifully meet their civic, military and religious duties.

“I will not disgrace the University for which I have received my education, nor will I abandon the comrade who stands by my side.”
“I will fight for its best interests, whether I stand alone or have the support of others.”
“I will revere and preserve its ideals and traditions, and will incite like reverence in others”
“I will strive always to quicken among my fellows the sense of social and civic duty.”
“I will cherish the sacred institutions of my country.”
“In all these ways I will strive to transmit this, our heritage, not less, but greater and better than it was transmitted unto us.”

With the conclusion of the Pledge, the IU President offered some personal remarks and then declared the freshmen to be official members of the IU student body. At the end of the President’s statement, the Dean of Music led the audience in the singing of “Hail to Old I.U,” after which the Grand Marshal led the recessional off the stage.

When the Freshman Induction Ceremony was resurrected in 1981 three major changes occurred in the script. A painting entitled the “Spirit of Indiana” replaced the IU student dressed in a white robe, and the President of the IU Student Association (in 1981 this was Bloomington’s present mayor Mark Kruzan) now delivered the “Spirit of Indiana” speech. In addition, the Pledge to the University was eliminated from the ceremony. However, the induction of freshman as official members of the student body remained as a central feature of the ceremony.

In recent times much about the ceremony has changed. The “Spirit of Indiana” symbolism and speech are gone, as are the traditional Charge. The Pledge has been reinstated, but it has been shortened and modernized and renamed the “Indiana Promise.” In this statement students promise that:

“I will be ethical in my academic work.
I will take personal responsibility for what I say and what I do.
I will respect the dignity of others, treating them with civility and understanding.”

Even though the Freshman Induction Ceremony has changed over the years, it still serves the same purposes: to provide a celebration of student’s academic aspirations and to officially welcome the freshman into the IU student community.

Commencement: Where there’s pomp and also circumstance …

It’s that time again: Commencement! All your years of hard work have finally paid off, and a diploma will soon be in hand (at least the commencement ceremony will provide you with the idea of the diploma while the real one will take a couple of months to be mailed to you). Incidentally, what do you know about the commencements of yesteryear?


The modern day commencement address and speaker were introduced to Indiana University in 1892, when student presentations had been whittled down to a few orations and poems delivered two days before the actual commencement ceremony took place.

With over 10,000 undergraduates eligible to graduate this May, the size contrast to IU’s class of 1912 is rather startling:

IU graduating class of 1912.

December 1942 marked the first time a winter commencement took place, with 580 graduates.

First winter commencement, December 10, 1942.

On December 7, 1941, the United States officially entered into WWII after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The Indiana Daily Student (IDS) of December 20, 1942 addressed the many changes that Indiana University underwent in 1941, including the inauguration of the “speed it up” program.

The IDS reported: “New military units for university students, the establishment of a training school for both men and women in the Navy and a war-adjusting curriculum within a year made life on campus quite different for the students who had entered school when America was still saying ‘if,’ instead of ‘when we get into the war.’”

There was also a Spring commencement that year:

Spring commencement, May 10, 1942

The university stopped conducting December commencement ceremonies after December 1944. Intermittent February commencement ceremonies took place until 1954, when Indiana University went back to a single commencement ceremony at the end of the academic year.

Due to an increasing number of college students, May 1980 was the first time the university conducted two spring commencements, one in the morning, and one in the afternoon on the same day. In 1984, commencement was separated into three ceremonies, spanning two days. In 1988, the university conducted the first outdoor commencement ceremony in 17 years, allowing for a single ceremony for all graduates that year.

In 1989, a resurging interest in winter commencement led to winter graduates being given a reception in their honor.

A newspaper clipping from January 1989 reported:

“About 1400 students graduating in December 1989 might have a commencement if a university committee discovers enough interest. The University hasn’t conducted winter commencements since World War II, when many soldiers couldn’t attend Spring ceremonies. Currently, December graduates may attend commencement in the Spring before or after their actual graduation date.”

A November 1989 clipping stated:

“December grads will have reception in their honor on December 9 in the Musical Arts Center. Kenneth Gros Louis, University vice president and Indiana University Bloomington chancellor, said about 20 percent of IU grads finish their coursework in December.”

In 1994, the university replaced the December graduates’ reception/luncheon with ceremonies in the graduates’ individual schools. It was then noted that a mid-year commencement could be added in the future if the number of December graduates continued to increase. Finally, 1997 saw the first reinstatement of midyear graduation since 1944, and a winter commencement was held on December 22, 1997.

In 2010, for the first time, Indiana University implemented separate commencement ceremonies for undergraduates and graduate students.

A November 2009 press release stated:

“Moving to a separate ceremony for graduate students will allow more time to focus on their distinct achievements and observe the academic tradition of hooding Ph. D and doctoral candidates. Likewise, the undergraduate ceremonies … will focus exclusively on the undergraduate experience and include new emphasis on undergraduate achievement, including the addition of undergraduate voices to the official program.”

You can read more about IU’s commencement history, including an extensive listing of commencement speakers and speech titles (if available), since 1892 on the IU Archives website.

Logo from the 1901 commencement program.

And congratulations, grads!


And just because I have to get this in: Did you know that Teddy Roosevelt spoke at IU during spring commencement in 1918?

1919 Arbutus p68.Who shot image? H.T. Sthepenson?

Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt at left, and William Lowe Bryan at podium.


Bringing the World to Bloomington Symposium – Friday, November 9, 2012


This symposium brings together scholars who have focused their work on three visionaries in the fields of academia and museums—Henry Hope, Paul Sachs, and Herman Wells—and will speak to their remarkable careers and interconnections. Sachs taught the Museum Course at Harvard University between 1922 and 1948, where Henry Hope was one of his students. Herman Wells, appointed as IU’s president in 1937, fostered the arts on the Bloomington campus, while also aiding German refugee scholars during the war. Henry Hope was brought to IU by Wells upon Sachs’s advice, and throughout his tenure he benefited from Wells’s support, while establishing a program of exhibitions at IU in 1941 and ultimately founding the IU Art Museum. This program speaks to these three men’s remarkable careers, while more broadly revealing the close connections between the university and the university art museum, as well as the historical role played by these museums in disseminating information about modern art, especially German Expressionism, in the mid-twentieth century.

Taking part of the panel is Assistant Archivist Carrie Schwier with her paper, “‘Above all nations is humanity’: War-time Mobilization and the Emergence of a Post-War Metropolitan University.” Drawing from the Archives collections, Carrie will talk about the changes Indiana University underwent during the war and how administrators and students worked together to foster an atmosphere of tolerance and support for those of foreign and persecuted nations.


Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon

SLIS students beef up the Wikipedia articles of IU presidents.

Success! Over the weekend, we hosted our first Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon. Organized by IU’s Society of American Archivists Student Chapter, we focused on updating the articles of some of Indiana University’s 19th century presidents. It was a great event and we benefited tremendously from the expertise of local Wikipedians! Check out SAA-SC’s writeup on their blog for more details on the event!