Last modified: Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Wildermuth Center will not be renamed
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Feb. 24, 2009
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer J. Terry Clapacs announced today that IU will not implement a decision to add the name of IU basketball legend Bill Garrett to the Ora L. Wildermuth Intramural Center.
On Friday, Feb. 20, IU trustees approved a recommendation from the All University Committee on Names to redesignate the historic structure as the "William L. Garrett-Ora. L. Wildermuth Intramural Center."
Clapacs said the university will not proceed with that decision because he has been informed that members of the Garrett family do not support the change.
"From the very start it has been our goal to recognize Bill Garrett and honor his achievements at IU," Clapacs said. "We believed that we had the blessing and support of the Garrett family, but we now have learned that is not the case. So the university will respect their wishes and we will not proceed with this decision."
Garrett, IU's first black basketball player, starred at IU from 1948 to 1951, earning All-American honors his senior year. He frequently demonstrated remarkable courage and strength of character in the face of open hostility from fans and players on other teams who did not welcome his presence on the playing court.
In 1971, the fieldhouse where Garrett played was named after Wildermuth, a long-time IU trustee who was instrumental in raising funds to build it.
The naming committee was asked by IU President Michael A. McRobbie to consider the matter of the building's name after a book about Garrett was published that revealed that Wildermuth had opposed the racial integration of university dormitories.
Ed Marshall, IU vice president for diversity, equity and multicultural affairs, recommended adding Garrett's name to the building as a way of both honoring his accomplishments and serving as a point of reference for teaching future generations of students about the university's racial history.
Garrett died in 1974 of a heart attack at the age of 45.