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Last modified: Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Year in review: Top stories from IU in 2012

Dec. 19, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Excellence in teaching, learning and research, economic impact and record achievement. New schools, new names and dramatic transformation. Major steps toward becoming a world leader in international engagement and improving Hoosier health. Eight stars and Sweet 16s. Landmark discoveries and the loss of two legendary faculty members. All of these reflect some of the top stories from across Indiana University's campuses in 2012.

The following is a summary, in chronological order, of the top 40 IU stories of 2012, compiled by IU Communications. Have another story you think should make the list? Visit IU's Facebook page to share your suggestion or tweet us your ideas.

A new wellness and fitness center at IU Kokomo. In January, Indiana University Kokomo officials announced the largest cash gift in the campus's history: a $1.25 million donation from the Milt and Jean Cole family of Logansport, Ind., to support the construction of a new Wellness and Fitness Center. "My family and I have dedicated the rest of our lives to helping elevate humanities as much as we can," Milt Cole said of the donation. "We think this is a great place to start." In September, IU Kokomo students literally pushed down a wall to break ground for the construction of the new center, which is expected to open in June 2013.


A new trading room with emerging technologies will be a feature of the expanded Kelley School of Business in Bloomington.

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A transformative gift for Kelley undergraduate education. A $33 million grant helped usher in the new year and a new era of undergraduate business education at IU's Kelley School of Business in Bloomington. In January, it was announced that Lilly Endowment Inc. awarded Kelley the largest such grant ever received by the school in its 92-year history, and one of the largest ever received by IU, to help fund new and renovated facilities. In March, the new undergraduate building, which is expected to elevate Kelley's role in the economic vitality of the state, was named Hodge Hall Undergraduate Center in appreciation of a $15 million gift from alumnus James R. Hodge.

Lilly Endowment awards $6.6 million to support IU Public Policy Institute. In January, IU received another Lilly Endowment grant, totaling $6.6 million, to support and strengthen the work of the IU Public Policy Institute, which conducts research on a wide range of community and public policy issues affecting Hoosiers. "This generous funding is a vote of confidence in the institute's ability to continue its good work in the future, which Lilly Endowment has supported for 20 years," said John L. Krauss, director of PPI, which is housed within the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IUPUI.

David Baker turns 80, gets President's Medal and a mural. This year was a momentous one for David Baker, legendary jazz professor and chair of the Jazz Studies Department at the IU Jacobs School of Music. In January, as part of a musical celebration honoring his 80th birthday, Baker received the President's Medal for Excellence, one of the university's highest honors. Then, in July, he was among several Indianapolis jazz masters who played on Indy's historic Indiana Avenue to be honored with a new mural in the city's downtown area.

A "Super" effort. One of the biggest sports events in Indianapolis' history, the Super Bowl, brought thousands of visitors to town, and IUPUI was at the heart of it all, from physical education students who manned the Legacy fitness center to volunteers who served as hospitality guides. Additionally, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Tissue Bank at the IU Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center was selected as a special Legacy project by the Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee. Indy's Super Cure was created to raise awareness about the tissue bank, increase the diversity of donors and raise $1 million to help support the tissue bank, the first and only healthy breast tissue bank in the world. The support resulted in the collection of nearly 700 tissue samples in two days in January.

All told, planning for the big event, which also featured a special pre-game performance by the renowned IU Marching Hundred, took a super-sized effort, involving nearly 300 alumni, students and faculty, and resulting in a major economic victory for the city of Indianapolis.


Florida State University professor Gary Taylor, left, and IUPUI associate professor Terri Bourus. (Photo by Emily Schwank)

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"Lost" Shakespeare play at IUPUI (and a new app to help brush up on the Bard). A campus theater that had been years in the making and a play that had been years in the re-making took center stage in April with performances of the much-anticipated "The History of Cardenio," by William Shakespeare and his younger contemporary John Fletcher as re-created and reimagined by Florida State University professor Gary Taylor and directed by IUPUI associate professor Terri Bourus. The "lost" play was the inaugural show in IUPUI's new state-of-the-art theater.

Meanwhile, at IU Bloomington, English professor Ellen MacKay was making it possible to interact with the Bard in a whole new way. She's part of an academic collaboration creating iPad applications for some of Shakespeare's most well-known plays.

An engine for economic growth. While it may have come as no surprise to many that IU and IU Health are major economic drivers in Indiana, an independent analysis of their combined economic impact indicated just how much the university and health care system are working to improve the state's economic fortunes. IU and IU Health generated a combined economic impact of at least $11.5 billion for the state of Indiana and sustained 100,000 jobs, according to the results of the economic impact study released in February.

A "Sweet" welcome back. Will Sheehey's dramatic 15-footer from the baseline with just 12.7 seconds left to defeat Virginia Commonwealth University sent IU's men's basketball team to the NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen for the first time in a decade. And though a much-anticipated rematch with top-seeded Kentucky in Atlanta wouldn't go the Hoosiers' way, IU's tournament run confirmed that the Hoosiers were back as a leading contender to hoist another banner in Assembly Hall.

A major boost for the IU Center for Global Health. Lilly Endowment Inc. awarded $2.5 million to strengthen program development and establish an endowed chair at the Indiana University Center for Global Health for its AMPATH initiatives in Kenya, it was announced in March. "The Indiana University Center for Global Health and AMPATH exemplify the international impact of Indiana University and the tremendous compassion of Hoosiers, who have lent their time, talent, and funds to bring life-saving medical services to underserved areas in the world," IU President Michael A. McRobbie said.

IU School of Medicine

The IU School of Medicine broke ground on a $52 million neurosciences research facility.

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Breaking ground for science and engineering, neurosciences research. In March, IU President McRobbie presided over groundbreaking ceremonies for a new laboratory building at IUPUI that will provide critically needed space for faculty to engage in path-breaking education and research that contribute extensively to the economic vitality of the state. Construction of the $25 million Science and Engineering Laboratory Building was expected to be completed in 18 months, with the building's first phase providing 35,880 gross square feet of space.

Several months later, in August, the IU School of Medicine broke ground on a $52 million neurosciences research facility slated to open in 2014. The 138,000-square-foot research building, adjacent to the Indiana University Health Neuroscience Center, will provide IU School of Medicine scientists, including researchers from the Institute of Psychiatric Research and the Stark Neurosciences Research Institute, with state-of-the-art facilities in which to conduct a broad range of neuroscience research in fields such as neurotrauma, dementias, addiction, epilepsy and pain.

Lights shine on 25th running of the women's Little 500. In April, the IU Student Foundation marked the 25th running of the women's Little 500 bike race, which started after an effort by four sorority members to unsuccessfully qualify for the 1986 Little 500 race. Many of the competitors of the first women's race returned to campus in 2012, including the members of Kappa Alpha Theta who were a driving force behind getting the women's race established. The Thetas came in second in this year's race, which was held "under the lights," behind Delta Gamma.

American Academy of Arts and Sciences welcomes IU president, professors. IU President McRobbie was one of three IU faculty members to be elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2012. McRobbie, who assumed the president's office in July 2007, is the first sitting IU president to be elected to the prestigious academy, whose members include some of the world's most accomplished leaders from academia, business, public affairs, humanities and the arts. Scott Russell Sanders, novelist, essayist and Distinguished Professor of English Emeritus; and Edward G. Carmines, Warner O. Chapman Professor and Rudy Professor of Political Science, joined McRobbie as IU's newest academy members.

Strategic Research Initiative. The IU School of Medicine and IU Health announced in April that they would invest $75 million each over five years in the Strategic Research Initiative, targeting cardiovascular disease, neurosciences and cancer for projects to create scientific discoveries and move them from the lab to patient care. The Strategic Research Initiative will provide patients with access to expert physicians and to new therapies developed through translational research, clinical trials and the latest genetic tools to develop more effective personalized treatments.

Timber Lodge on its way up at IU Southeast. In April, IU Southeast celebrated the groundbreaking for its newest campus building: Timber Lodge, the sixth on-campus housing unit and another example of the campus meeting a growing student demand for living and learning space. Timber Lodge, which will house about 90 students when it opens next fall, is the first LEED-certified building on campus.

Transformation of University Place Conference Center and Hotel. IUPUI campus leadership announced in April that the University Place Conference Center and Hotel will soon be transformed into a multi-use facility that will meet critical needs of the campus -- providing student housing, residential and campus dining and additional classroom space. The conversion from the conference center and hotel to the multi-use facility was scheduled to begin this month, with classrooms available for use in January 2013 and residential occupancy expected next fall. When completed, the facility will employ about 50 IU employees and contract workers.

Fruit Fly Heads

The Bloomington Drosophila Stock Center has maintained fruit fly strains for a quarter century and currently houses 40,000 genetically unique lines.

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Fruit flies reach major milestone at IU. IU Bloomington Drosophila Stock Center, a clearinghouse for genetically defined lines of fruit flies that serves scientists in 2,600 laboratories worldwide, reached a milestone with completion of the most comprehensive set of chromosome deletions for any multicellular organism on earth. Drosophila melanogaster is being used to study a broad range of biological processes shared with humans -- including metabolism, development, physiology and aging -- and research on the fly counterparts of human disease genes is providing insights into the molecular mechanisms of disorders like Alzheimer's, Huntington's, Lou Gehrig's and Parkinson's diseases, and cancer, diabetes and epilepsy.

A new treatment path for eye disease. Sloppy shipping of a donated human retina to IU postdoctoral researcher Abbas Shirinifard, who had been studying a leading cause of vision loss, inadvertently helped uncover a previously undetected mechanism causing the disease. The discovery has led researchers to urge review of how millions of dollars are spent investigating the cause of a type of age-related macular degeneration called choroidal neovascularization.

The Spirit of Tamarack and a new greening of Gary. The demolition of IU Northwest's Tamarack Hall may have left the Gary, Ind., campus with a temporary vacancy in its physical appearance, but Tamarack's legacy lives on in the hearts and minds of those whose academic lives were interwoven with the university's first building. IU faculty shared their fond memories of Tamarack Hall, formerly called Gary Main and built in 1958. A site restoration, though, is in full swing, and whatever that space becomes, it will be green, thanks to a new initiative for which the campus is now soliciting student input.

IPFW sets stage for 50th anniversary with sculptural bike rack project. In preparing for its 50th anniversary in 2013-14, IPFW announced a new flagship project -- Sculpture With Purpose -- that will enhance Fort Wayne's streets with sculptural bike racks and serve as a catalyst for more public art projects. The sculptural bike racks, which will be unveiled in May 2014, will be created by local and national artists and all contain the IPFW triangle.

Elinor Ostrom

Photo by Chris Meyer

Elinor Ostrom

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Elinor and Vincent Ostrom. In June, IU lost, in the words of IU President McRobbie, one of its "irreplaceable and magnificent" treasures with the passing of Elinor Ostrom, winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for her groundbreaking research on the ways people organize themselves to manage resources. "Lin," as she was known to family, friends and colleagues, was the first woman and remains the only woman to be awarded the prize. Sadly, just a few weeks later, Lin's husband and biggest supporter, Vincent, a world-renowned expert on democratic governance, passed away. The couple founded the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis at the university in 1973, and Vincent served as the workshop's co-director until his retirement in 2003. The research center was renamed in the Ostroms' honor in May.

Listen to this … picture? A tour through the stacks of the Herman B Wells Library led IU Bloomington sound media historian Patrick Feaster to stumble on an image of what can be considered the oldest record in world. He then did the seemingly impossible. Feaster created sound off the printed page.

IU rocks the scientific world: the Higgs boson. From its participation in the Large Hadron Collider to its extensive computing support enabling analysis of massive amounts of data, IU scientists and IT personnel played an instrumental role in one of the most significant scientific events in recent memory: the discovery of the Higgs boson. The long-theorized particle explains why fundamental particles have mass; without it, particles would whiz around at the speed of light and not be able to bind to form protons, neutrons, atoms, stars and the material of the universe, including us.

Big Red, white and blue. IU put the Big Red in the red, white and blue at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, with seven Hoosiers representing six countries in six sports. Through their participation in this year's Games, where IU athletes won the 87th and 88th Olympic medals in IU history, they added to IU's rich tradition of athletic excellence here in the U.S. and abroad.

Mission: Mars. Years of work by IU geologists David Bish and Juergen Schieber reached a critical juncture in August when NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission, which launched in November 2011, reached Mars. The two faculty members helped develop and analyze data from two of the 10 instruments included in the mission's science payload.

Another remarkable research year. For only the third time in the university's history, IU passed the half-billion-dollar mark in externally funded research and related program awards in a single year. The $533 million in research grants and awards in FY 2012 represented the second-highest total ever at IU and further confirmed IU's status as one of the world's leading public research universities.

Ballantine Map

A new School of Global and International Studies at IU will marshal the university's vast resources in these areas and position the university at the forefront of institutions educating students to confront the world's most critical issues.

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A new force in global education. In August, IU took a major step toward becoming a world leader in global and international studies when IU trustees approved the new School of Global and International Studies, which IU President McRobbie called "one of the most important developments in the nearly 200 years of IU's history." The new school, which will be based in the College of Arts and Sciences at IU Bloomington, will comprise more than 350 core and affiliated faculty members from across the university and IU's 11 federally funded Title VI area studies centers. "By bringing together into one school the core of IU's extraordinary resources in global and international studies, the university stands poised to join the most outstanding programs in the world in these truly vital areas," McRobbie said.

Gifts support IU. IU received $347.9 million in support from the private sector in fiscal year 2012, the second highest total inthe history of the university, which includes gifts from the IU Foundation, Riley Children's Foundation and nongovernmental grants. The university's support record of $408.6 million was set back in fiscal year 2008, thanks in part to two two large gifts received that year.

The kids are all right. Enrollment data confirmed the record size and academic quality of the newest freshman classes at IU Bloomington and IUPUI. Both campuses welcomed their largest incoming classes, with IUPUI freshmen achieving their highest average SAT, highest grade-point average and largest number of 21st Century Scholars, and IU Bloomington freshmen achieving a near-record average SAT score and representing a record number of nations from around the world.

Milestone enrollments at IU East, IU Kokomo. While several IU campuses experienced record enrollment this fall, enrollment increases surpassed the double-digit mark at IU East and IU Kokomo, which grew by 12.4 percent and 12.1 percent, respectively. IU East reached a historic milestone, topping the 4,000 student mark for the first time in the campus's history. Since 2007, IU East has had a remarkable 85 percent increase in enrollment. IU Kokomo welcomed more than 3,700 students this fall, the largest-ever enrollment in the campus's 67 years.

Introducing IU Online. In September, university officials announced IU Online -- a major strategic investment in online education that will accelerate the development and delivery of quality online courses and programs at IU's campuses statewide, address Indiana's economic and professional development needs, and extend the university's global reach. "Online education has been a growing part of IU's education programs for many years now, and IU Online is a significant new investment aimed at a major expansion of these programs in a strategic and coordinated way," IU President McRobbie said.

Jumping the 'Shark.' As part of the fall TV season kickoff, 6.3 million viewers tuned in to the season premiere of ABC's hit reality show "Shark Tank" and saw IU Kelley School of Business alumnus Derek Pacqué turn down a $200,000 offer for a third of his company from another IU alumnus, Mark Cuban. Not only did Pacqué turn the offer down, he also exhibited a bit of swagger, commenting after his TV turn that the experience wasn't as tough as when he took the IU Kelley School's highly regarded and rigorous Spine Sweat capstone course.

A new School of Philanthropy. In September, news that IU will establish a School of Philanthropy on the IUPUI campus became official. The school, believed to be the world's first dedicated to the study and teaching of philanthropy, builds on the strengths of the Center on Philanthropy at IU, a pioneer in philanthropy education, research and training. "The transformation of the center to a new School of Philanthropy will allow us to take full advantage of other university resources in related areas and provide unparalleled educational and research opportunities in this area for our students," IU President McRobbie said.

DNA mutation. Biologists and informaticists at IU produced one of the most extensive pictures ever of mutation processes in the DNA sequence of an organism, elucidating important new evolutionary information about the molecular nature of mutations and how fast those heritable changes occur.

IU South Bend business school named. In September, IU President McRobbie announced the naming of the IU South Bend School of Business and Economics in honor of former South Bend businessman, banker, civic leader and philanthropist Judd Leighton. The school is now the Judd Leighton School of Business and Economics in recognition of the largest single donor gift in the history of IU South Bend.

A commitment to improving Hoosier health. A journey to create schools of public health on IU's two largest campuses, which began in 2009 in response to critical public health needs in Indiana, came to a celebratory conclusion (though the real work is now just beginning) when IU officials formally announced on consecutive days in September the new Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health on the IUPUI campus and the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington. The two schools "will play an unmatched role in improving the health and well-being of Hoosiers for generations to come," said IU President McRobbie, who presided over both naming ceremonies.

On-time completion award/summer tuition discount. As part of his annual State of the University address, IU President McRobbie unveiled a new tool to lower the cost of attending IU, while also providing additional incentive for students to graduate in four years. IU's new on-time completion award, which will begin next fall, effectively freezes tuition for students after their sophomore year if they are on track to graduate in four years. "This award makes two things clear: That we are serious about holding down the cost of an IU degree, and that we are equally serious about providing tools and incentives to help our students stay on course for on-time degree completion," McRobbie said. The unveiling of the new award also came on the heels of IU announcing it would extend for 2013 its summer tuition discount program, which resulted in a significant increase in the number of students taking summer courses across the state and a combined savings to those students of $11.8 million.

Big Red

Photo by Chris Meyer

IU will replace its Big Red supercomputer with the fastest university-owned supercomputer in the nation.

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Big Red II. IU President McRobbie also used his State of the University address to share some additional big news, announcing that IU would replace its Big Red supercomputer with the fastest university-owned supercomputer in the nation. Named Big Red II, the new system will be capable of operating at a peak rate of one petaFLOPS, or one thousand trillion floating-point operations per second -- 25 times faster than the original Big Red first acquired in 2006. The new supercomputer will ensure that IU stays "at the forefront of the use of high-speed and data-intensive computation in some of the most vital and complex research in the world," McRobbie said.

Schools of informatics, library science merge. The merger of the university's School of Informatics and School of Library and Information Science into a single school to be called the IU School of Informatics and Computing was heralded as an opportunity to create a single school of expanded breadth, size and quality that addresses the rapid evolution of informatics, computing and libraries.

IU faculty members comment on Decision 2012. Throughout this year's election season, which included hotly contested races nationally and within Indiana, IU faculty from its campuses across the state served as go-to commentators on a variety of political topics, such as the Supreme Court's greatly anticipated ruling on the Affordable Care Act. Their observations were widely cited by news media throughout the state and nation from the primary season through the vote that saw President Barack Obama win a second term.

AAAS Fellows. For the second straight year, a record number of IU faculty members received the distinction of fellow from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world's largest general scientific society, founded in 1848. The new fellows, a dozen in total and two more than the previous record set last year, include 10 faculty members from the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences and two from the IU School of Medicine in Indianapolis.

IU Men's Soccer

The IU men's soccer team took an eighth NCAA title.

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Celebrate Eight! It was the hashtag heard around Hoover, Ala.: #Q48. IU's men's soccer team culminated its quest for a record eighth NCAA title with a 1-0 win over Georgetown on Dec. 9 at the 2012 College Cup, giving IU head coach Todd Yeagley his first title in just his third year at the helm of the program. IU (16-5-3) became just the first No. 16 seed to win an NCAA title, which the team and its fans, including IU President McRobbie, celebrated during a "Celebrate Eight" pep rally the night after the big victory.