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Last modified: Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Hoosier Nation strong in D.C., as IU continues quest for NCAA title

But basketball not the only reason the nation's capital is buzzing about IU

March 26, 2013

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Washington, D.C., will serve as the capital of Hoosier Nation this week, when the Indiana University men's basketball team continues its quest for a sixth NCAA championship.

While in Washington, the No. 1-seeded Hoosiers will have the support of senators, congressmembers and even President Barack Obama, who last week picked IU as his tournament favorite, as they prepare for their NCAA Sweet Sixteen tournament matchup on Thursday, March 28, against Syracuse University.

IU Basketball Fans

IU Basketball Fans

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They'll also have the backing of 17,284 IU alums who currently reside in the Washington area and are being counted on to "show their stripes" along with other IU fans who will be rooting for the Hoosiers' first NCAA tournament title since 1987, when they defeated Syracuse.

IU's Washington-area alumni are among 570,000 living IU alums who represent the third-largest alumni base in the nation and are following the Hoosiers throughout the tournament at a special website,, hosted by the IU Alumni Association. The website includes details about official "Big Red Warm-Ups" and "Hoosier Hangouts" in Washington as well as information on tournament travel packages, tournament gear, tickets, downloadable images for use in social media and alumni game watches around the nation.

New international school

The Hoosiers' arrival in Washington isn't the only IU-related activity that has those inside the Beltway buzzing. Recently, IU's newly created School of Global and International Studies has captured the capital city's attention, according to former Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar, who, along with former Indiana Rep. Lee Hamilton, has joined the new school as a distinguished scholar and professor of practice.

In February, Lugar, the longest-serving senator in Indiana's history and the former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told a Bloomington, Ind., audience that he attended a recent event in Washington at which many people asked him about the school. An IU ad in the Washington Post also welcomed Lugar and Hamilton to the faculty of the school.

The school, approved last fall and based in the College of Arts and Sciences at IU Bloomington, is a major initiative to expand the opportunities for international education for IU students, including greater foreign language proficiencies, better understanding of how societies are developing worldwide and deeper knowledge of globalization. It also aims to strengthen and expand IU's already formidable reputation in research and scholarship in international studies by marshaling the expertise of more than 350 core and affiliated faculty members from across the university and IU's 11 federally funded Title VI international area studies centers to address the world's most significant economic, political, social, cultural and environmental challenges.

Want a cabinet position? Go to IU.

In 2008, prior to President Obama's inauguration, the online admissions counseling program ApplyWise listed IU as one of the top five schools to attend if you want to be in the president's cabinet, praising the university's highly ranked Kelley School of Business for providing "real-world knowledge" that builds political leadership.

Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates holds a master's degree in history from IU and was recruited by the CIA while still a student at the university. Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill is a graduate of the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, while former Secretary of Education Rod Paige is a graduate of the School of Public Health-Bloomington, formerly the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation.

Congressional and other Washington connections

Former Indiana Rep. Lee Hamilton, a graduate of the IU Maurer School of Law, served as vice chairman of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, known as the 9/11 Commission. Since 1999, he has directed the Center on Congress at IU, a nonpartisan educational institution seeking to improve the public's understanding of Congress and to inspire young people and adults to take an active part in revitalizing representative government in America.

Indiana's current congressional delegation has considerable ties to IU. Sen. Dan Coats, along with U.S. representatives Susan Brooks, Todd Rokita, Pete Visclosky and Todd Young are all Hoosier alums. Additionally, a number of other current Washington officials earned degrees at IU, including Mark Johnston, deputy assistant secretary for special needs at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; John Pistole, administrator of the U.S. Transportation Security Administration and former deputy director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Richard Reed, White House deputy assistant for homeland security.

Johnston is a graduate of the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs, which, according to U.S. News and World Report, is the No. 2-ranked graduate program overall in the country, ahead of Harvard, Princeton and other major universities. From 2001 to 2006, SPEA Dean John D. Graham served as administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, White House Office of Management and Budget.

A cultural foothold

IU maintains a significant cultural foothold in the nation's capital as well, a position strengthened by several activities in recent years.

In 2006, world-renowned conductor Leonard Slatkin and pianist André Watts performed together at the Kennedy Center. The concert, with the National Symphony Orchestra, marked the first time the celebrated musicians performed together as faculty members of the IU Jacobs School of Music, one of the nation's premier music schools.

The following year, IU Jacobs School alumnus, Jacobs faculty member and Grammy-winning violinist Joshua Bell, a native of Bloomington, Ind., made national headlines by performing, incognito and as part of an experiment initiated by Washington Post columnist Gene Weingarten, at Washington's L'Enfant Plaza metro station. Weingarten won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for feature writing for his article on the experiment. View the You Tube video.

Also in 2007, David Baker, distinguished professor of jazz studies at the Jacobs School, was named a "Living Jazz Legend" by the Kennedy Center for lifetime achievement. A Grammy Award and Pulitzer Prize nominee, Baker is former conductor and artistic director and current jazz maestro emeritus of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra. He is president and former vice president of the International Association of Jazz Educators, president of the National Jazz Service Organization and senior consultant for music programs for the Smithsonian Institution. To his credit are more than 2,000 compositions, including jazz, symphonic and chamber works.

In 2009, the IU Singing Hoosiers performed at the Indiana Inaugural Ball in Washington, one of several inaugural balls celebrating President Obama's inauguration as the nation's 44th president.

This past summer, IU took part in the 2012 Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, which showcased the university's role as a high-tech innovator in Indiana while also recognizing its dedication to preserving the state's rich cultural traditions. IU Art Museum senior academic officer Jennifer Wagelie was a postdoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History and served six years as the administrator for internship programs at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.

On April 9, the Jacobs School will once again be presenting at the Kennedy Center as part of the center's acclaimed Conservatory Project, a semi-annual event designed to present the best young musical artists in classical music, jazz, musical theater and opera from the nation's leading undergraduate and graduate conservatories, colleges and universities. Four students, all members of the recently formed Wasmuth Quartet, will deliver a performance in the Terrace Theatre that will be streamed live on the web.

The Big Red Basketball Band, made of up members of the famed IU Marching Hundred, will be in Washington to support the Hoosiers. With a recent $500,000 gift from the Cook Group of Bloomington, Ind., the Marching Hundred is well on its way to obtaining an estimated $4.5 million needed to complete a new practice facility.

The university's rare-books collection, the Lilly Library, has holdings totaling about 400,000 books, 100,000 pieces of sheet music and many culturally important items such the Gutenberg Bible and annotated production scripts for "Laugh In," "Star Trek," "Mission Impossible" and other television shows. It also holds several items connected to our nation's heritage, including George Washington's letter accepting the presidency, Thomas Jefferson's personal copy of the "Acts of Congress," as well as an extensive collection of documents related to the life, death and funeral of Abraham Lincoln.