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Last modified: Friday, March 20, 2009

William M. Plater

John W. Ryan Award for Distinguished Contributions to International Programs and Studies

Chancellor's Professor of Public Administration, Philanthropic Studies, English, and Informatics
University Graduate School
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
Appointed to IU faculty, 1983
B.A., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1967
M.A., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1969
Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1973

William (Bill) Plater has been a champion for internationalizing the university since he joined the Indiana University-Purdue University faculty in 1983. "He has forged opportunities for faculty members to apply their expert knowledge on pressing global problems, while promoting opportunities for students to benefit from international educational experiences," says John D. Graham, dean of the School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

William M. Plater

William M. Plater

Print-Quality Photo

Plater's interest in enhancing the experiences of students and faculty extends beyond IUPUI and IU to universities around the world. He has contributed significantly to the development of partnerships with numerous other institutions, including the National Institute of Development Administration in Bangkok, Thailand; the University of Bremen in Germany; the University of Bologna in Italy; Moi University in Kenya; Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Peking University and Sun Yat-Sen University in China; the University of Tehran in Iran; and the American University of Cairo.

As director of the Office of International Community Development, Plater coordinates the internationally oriented programs of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University and the IU Center on Urban Policy and the Environment in cooperation with IUPUI's Office of International Affairs.

In 2006 in recognition of his many years of service as executive vice chancellor and dean of the faculties, the IUPUI campus established the William M. Plater International Scholarship Program, which every year provides ten incoming freshmen with four years of tuition, a year of housing in the International House, and a stipend for study abroad opportunities.

Matthew R. Auer, dean of the Hutton Honors College, calls this scholarship, "a very tangible way for IUPUI and IU to demonstrate their commitment to internationalizing the learning and living experiences of its undergraduates."

In addition, the William M. and Gail M. Plater Scholarship for International Civic Engagement funds graduate or undergraduate students in the liberal arts to pursue studies or other projects involving community engagement. These opportunities embody the essence of Plater's research on the value of international philanthropy, volunteerism, and international partnership.

In order to help develop more institutional partnerships, Plater, invited educational leaders to participate in the Center on Philanthropy's 20th Anniversary Celebration in 2007. "The meeting was a great success and has resulted in international exchange programs for students, faculty, and staff, and has opened discussions for formalized partnerships with the most prominent universities in Asia," says Patrick M. Rooney, interim executive director at the Center on Philanthropy.

Plater has supervised the growth and development of many programs during his time at IUPUI. As the executive vice chancellor, he oversaw the implementation of a new $28 million student information system and served as chair of the President's Council on the Arts and Sciences. Since 1997, he has received more than $12 million in major grants and has published a book about the administrator's role in fostering service learning cultures. He has also been an organizer and moderator for several national philanthropy meetings, including the Fourth National Summit on Philanthropy.

Plater's achievements and contributions to civic engagement have been recognized with numerous awards. On May 18, 2006, Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson awarded him the Mayor's Community Service Award and established May 18 as William M. Plater Day. That day he was also awarded the Sagamore of the Wabash, Indiana's citizenship award, by Governor Mitchell Daniels. At the same time, IUPUI established the William M. Plater Civic Engagement Medallion, awarded to graduating seniors who have demonstrated exemplary commitment to their communities as undergraduates.

Also in 2006, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities established the William M. Plater Award, the only national award for provosts who demonstrate leadership in civic engagement. The first award was presented to its namesake. He is also a recipient of the President's Medallion for Service to Indiana University and the President's Medal from the IU Foundation.

"Bill Plater is one of IU's finest leaders who has served with distinction for more than a generation," says Auer. Rooney concludes: "Bill has a passion for promoting international opportunities for Indiana University that will benefit the institution for decades to come and has significantly strengthened its already stellar reputation as a world-class university."