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George Vlahakis

Last modified: Wednesday, May 29, 2002

IU to remember its former president, chancellor with 100th birthday celebration

Indiana University on June 7 will mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of one of its most memorable and important persons, Herman B Wells, an educational visionary who helped transform IU.

Wells, who served the university as its president for a quarter century and remained a vital contributor as its chancellor for another 38 years, will be remembered with a centennial birthday celebration from 2 to 4 p.m. at Wells Plaza on the IU Bloomington campus. Wells Plaza is located in the Old Crescent area of campus, near the Rose Well House.

"A sculpture of Wells on a park bench now rests in the plaza, so it's almost as if Herman is there to join us," said James Capshew, IU associate professor of history and philosophy of science and the celebration's organizer. "Everyone in the community is invited to the festivities to honor this great man's legacy."

IU President Myles Brand, IU Bloomington Chancellor Sharon Stephens Brehm and IU Alumni Association President Ken Beckley will participate in the celebration, which will feature a large birthday cake and tributes to Wells. Capshew and Brian Kearney, two former aides to Wells, will offer tributes, along with IU students Arnell Hammond and Paul Musgrave.

A special Web site about Wells prepared for the occasion of the centennial can be found at Afterward, it will continue to serve as a clearinghouse for existing and new research and scholarship about Wells. It will feature audio and video in addition to written information.

Shepherding IU's development from a small regional university to a world-class research institution over the course of his 63-year career, Wells remains the most accomplished friend of the university. Beginning as a student in 1921, he was associated with the university for 79 years and became the only person in its 181-year history to lead it three times. He died in March 2000 at the age of 97, having never retired from serving IU.

For further information, or to contribute to the centennial celebration fund, contact Capshew at or Kearney at