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Last modified: Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Indiana University remembers its 16th president, Myles Brand

Sept. 16, 2009

Editors: Past and present IU colleagues of Myles Brand offer their remembrances in a separate release available online at To view a rememberance photo gallery, visit

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Myles Brand, who served as Indiana University's 16th president from 1994 to 2002 and president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association since January 2003, died today (Sept. 16) at the age of 67.

In January 2009, Brand disclosed that he was undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer, but continued his efforts on behalf of 380,000 student-athletes, coaches and administrators participating in college sports at NCAA member institutions.

Born May 17, 1942, Brand led IU through a period of remarkable growth, including record enrollments and national leadership in information technology and the life sciences, leaving a legacy impacting many Hoosiers beyond the university's eight campuses.

Under his leadership, IU established the nation's first School of Informatics, doubled research grants and contracts, and received the largest single private gift in the university's history, a $105 million grant from the Lilly Endowment to fund the Indiana Genomics Initiative (INGEN).

The size of the university's endowment increased four-fold and the number of its endowed chairs and professors grew three-fold. It was a leading public university annually in terms of overall private-sector support. The foundation for additional research space at IU was laid during his presidency, when plans for new multidisciplinary science buildings at IU Bloomington and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis began.

"Myles Brand will be remembered among those very rare individuals who have made a truly transformative difference in the life of Indiana University," said IU President Michael A. McRobbie. "As president, he set IU on a path towards becoming a national and international leader in information technology, the life sciences and research. Under his leadership, IU experienced record enrollments, more than doubled its research funding, tripled the number of endowed faculty positions, quadrupled its endowment to $1 billion, and established the importance of diversity and inclusiveness -- and this is only a glimpse of the enormous impact he had on the university.

"Throughout his time at IU, he was a leader of the greatest integrity, who was dedicated to the best traditions and values of this institution and those of American higher education in general. He also was a superb leader of the NCAA, and his passion for the centrality of the education of students in intercollegiate athletics was a beacon to colleges across the United States," McRobbie continued.

"This is a grievous loss for his wife Peg, his son Josh and his family, and our hearts go out to them," said McRobbie. "As someone who worked very closely with Myles for six years, I can truly say that I never worked for anyone better. I personally valued his wise counsel and his friendship, particularly when I became IU president. He inspired me, as he did all of those who had the pleasure and honor of working for him. Myles was a great president and an even greater man, and I have no doubt that his impact will continue to be felt at Indiana University for generations. My personal debt to him as the best, wisest and most constant of friends is immense, and I will miss him terribly. Laurie and I send our heartfelt condolences to Peg and his family."

Harry Gonso, an attorney and partner with Ice Miller LLP in Indianapolis, was an IU trustee from 1976-94 and chaired the search committee that recommended Brand to be IU president. "I had the pleasure of first meeting Myles when he was president of the University of Oregon," Gonso said. "What struck me then was his remarkable leadership ability, especially a willingness to make tough decisions in a very difficult economic and educational environment.

"He carried those qualities to Indiana University and demonstrated them, in some cases, under the most difficult circumstances. By that, Indiana was made stronger," Gonso added. "After he stepped down from IU, he provided the same leadership for the NCAA. I will miss him personally as a great friend, and the institution will miss him as a great contributor."

Brand image

Brand received an honorary degree at IU Bloomington earlier this year.

Print-Quality Photo

Brand developed the Central Indiana Life Sciences Initiative and consolidated University and Methodist hospitals in Indianapolis to create Clarian Health Partners in 1997. Clarian Health has been listed among the best hospitals in America in U.S. News & World Report each year since then.

He also created IU Advanced Research and Technology Institute (now known as the IU Research and Technology Corp.) in 1997 as a means of promoting technology transfer and augment the university's contributions to the state's economic future.

Dr. D. Craig Brater, Walter J. Daly Professor and dean of the IU School of Medicine, said one of Brand's most enduring legacies is the Indiana Genomics Initiative (INGEN), funded by $155 million in grants from the Lilly Endowment.

"His discussions with the Lilly Endowment in 2000 were key to the Endowment's decision to support biomedical research for the first time, which launched a new era in scientific success at IU and the IU School of Medicine," Brater said.

In 2001, IU was named by Time magazine as College of the Year among research universities, based on the quality of its programs to help incoming students adjust to college life. The university continues to be recognized annually by U.S. News for its efforts in this area.

"Now more than ever before, research is a collaborative activity that transcends geographic barriers, crosses disciplinary boundaries, and scales the ivy-covered walls that previously separated the academy from the private sector. The lines between disciplines, between basic and applied research, and between academic and so-called industrial research are breaking down," Brand said in 2002.

Brand's impact on the university continued years after leaving the institution. In 1997, he lured one of the world's thought leaders in the field of information technology, Michael A. McRobbie, to become IU's vice president for information technology and chief information officer.

The university's first IT strategic plan, commissioned by Brand in 1998, approved by IU trustees and directed by current IU President Michael A. McRobbie, has resulted in IU joining a distinguished class of competitors for the top research computing grants.

In September 2009, these efforts culminated with a group of IT researchers being chosen by the National Science Foundation to lead a $15 million project to develop new software to link together the supercomputers of tomorrow and enable new approaches to scientific research for problems of massive scale.

During Brand's tenure, he established the university's first vice presidential position that addressed diversity, and IU trustees approved a university-wide initiative to increase outreach, retention and graduation of students from underrepresented populations. On the Bloomington campus, this included recommendations made in a 1998 report, "20/20: A Vision for Achieving Equity and Excellence."

"Myles Brand was an extraordinary visionary, who understood better than any higher education leader I know the confluence between excellence and diversity," said Charlie Nelms, IU's first vice president for diversity and now the chancellor at North Carolina Central University. "He understood that excellence and diversity are part of the same fabric, and that you cannot have one without the other. He walked the talk. He was my mentor and my friend."

Cora Smith Breckenridge of Elkhart, who served two terms on the IU Board of Trustees from 1997-2006 and was its first black member, recalled that "Myles and the Board of Trustees welcomed me with open arms. I always had great respect for Dr. Brand and his decisions," she said. "He was, to me, one of our greatest university presidents. I think he moved us forward in many ways, especially with his great emphasis on our medical school and health care system. I appreciated very much having the opportunity to serve with him."

In addition to these other accomplishments, Brand maintained IU's strong commitment to the arts and humanities.

In March 2009, Brand returned to the Bloomington campus to receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

As chief executive of the NCAA, Brand presided over the most comprehensive academic reform package for intercollegiate athletics in recent history, refocusing attention on the academic achievement and retention of student-athletes. He emphasized the integration of athletics with the academic mission of higher education and re-established the role of university presidents in governing college sports.

Prior to leading IU, Brand was president of the University of Oregon from 1989-94 and was an administrator and professor of philosophy at the Ohio State University, the University of Arizona and the University of Illinois at Chicago. He began his career in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh. He earned a bachelor's degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Rochester.

He is survived by Peg Zeglin Brand, associate professor in the Department of Philosophy at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. He also is survived by a son, Joshua.