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Susan Williams
IU Media Relations

Last modified: Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Inaugural facts: cookies, dress and speeches

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- During the week of Adam W. Herbert's inauguration as Indiana University's 17th president, much will be written about the history of inaugural tradition, Herbert's background and the schedule of events, but quirky, interesting and fun facts and topics may be overlooked. Here are just a few facts from the "everything you ever wanted to know" category that might otherwise be missed.

What's in a name?

Inauguration? Installation? Investiture? According to "Etiquette and Protocol: A Guide for Campus Events," the term "inauguration" is used in a university setting to refer to the series of events planned in celebration of the installation of a new president. The "installation" is the actual moment the new president assumes the articles of office. The ceremony itself is an "investiture."

Looking beyond academic etiquette, dictionaries generally define "inauguration" as a means to make a formal beginning, to initiate, commence or start, and it signifies an introduction into public use by some formal ceremony -- to be formally installed.

Likewise, "investiture" is a formal bestowal, confirmation or presentation of rank or of a possessory or prescriptive right. It usually involves the giving of insignia or official title. Investiture is the state of being invested as with a garment, quality or office, and it can also be that which covers or adorns.

Reference books refer to "installation" as the act or instance of installing, or the process or an instance of being installed.

The inaugural address

The inaugural address is an opportunity to formally introduce the new president to the community and to provide a platform for the new leader to present his or her vision for the university. Some visions require longer speeches than others. Andrew Wylie, the first president of IU, spoke for an hour in 1829 and the script, printed out, would be about 27 pages. On the other end is the three-paragraph address by IU's seventh president, David Starr Jordan, in 1885. At his investiture ceremony this Thursday, Adam W. Herbert, IU's 17th president, is expected to speak for approximately 20-30 minutes.

Event planning 101

A frequently-asked question regarding university inaugurations of presidents is, "Why is the ceremony held so long after the new president starts his job?" Several factors influence scheduling.

Since an inauguration is to be, at least in part, a reflection of the new president's personality and preferences, event and ceremony planners need time to become acquainted with the new person in order to determine what the details of the ceremony should be.

The inauguration also is an opportunity for the new president to offer his or her vision for the university. The new president needs time to get to know his or her new university -- what its current organization might be, what challenges it faces, its strengths and weaknesses, for example -- in order to build a vision.

There is also the university's calendar of events to consider. An inauguration generally doesn't take place too near another official ceremony, such as a December or May commencement; nor close to holidays, which rules out November because of Thanksgiving, December because of Christian and Jewish holidays, and March and/or April because of Easter and Passover. Other major events on campus complicate the issue further. March is undesirable because of spring break and the possibility of NCAA basketball tournament participation. A late April inauguration would conflict with Little 500 on the IU campus.

Finally, in its introduction, "General Advice to the Neophytes," the 1969 book A Guide to Academic Protocol emphasizes allowing enough time to plan a proper event. Author Mary Kemper Gunn suggests minimum times required to prepare for certain events. A reception or tea requires six weeks; a lecture, two months; a commencement, four months; and, she says, an installation requires "six months (a year would be better)."

Event planning 102

Five thousand personal invitations have been sent out for Adam W. Herbert's inauguration, but since it is a celebration for both the university and its communities, the general public also is invited. So, how do you know how many people to plan for? You really don't, says Elaine Finley, events director for IU's Office of the President. "Part of being an events director is learning to expect the unexpected," Finley said. Guests at the reception in the IU Auditorium lobby after the investiture will enjoy Herbert's favorite cookie -- old-fashioned oatmeal-raisin -- and cranberry spumante punch. Finley has ordered 175 dozen (that would be 2,100) of "The President's Cookies" from the Indiana Memorial Union's Sugar and Spice Shop and 75 gallons of punch. Will that be enough? "We've never run out yet," said Finley, "and this is my third inauguration."

What to wear, or the times they are a-changin'

Academic participants in the inaugural ceremony will be dressed in robes whose traditions date back to medieval times. The rest of us have only our own closets to turn to, but Mary Kemper Gunn, in her 1969 A Guide to Academic Protocol, offers advice: "At some time during the planning and preparation for one of the ceremonies described in the foregoing chapters, the question usually comes up: 'What shall I wear?' This is a problem which confronts women almost exclusively, since men, at least until recently, have resigned themselves to a comfortable obscurity in the matter of clothes."

For a daytime ceremony, such as Adam W. Herbert's inauguration -- or a commencement, convocation or baccalaureate -- Gunn suggests for ladies a black, figured or lighter "silk" dress or suit. The dress is "usually of simple lines but ornate material." A "feminine hat" and gloves are also suggested.

If questions remain, Gunn writes, "First, if in doubt, underdress rather than overdress ... Second, do not buy a costume that is so 'in' it will be 'out' in a year or less ... Third, know your own figure faults ... Fourth, a few rules about jewelry and good taste. There is an old saying that one piece of jewelry is better than two, two are better than three, and more than three is a Christmas tree ... Fifth, the matter of hat or no hat for daytime events is something of a local option ... Sixth, avoid a conspicuous color if you must make one costume do for many occasions. Do not inspire the comment, 'There's Mrs. Jones in her red dress again.'"

On a very serious note -- the moment of installation

Interim Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Chancellor of Indiana University Bloomington Kenneth R.R. Gros Louis will act as master of ceremonies at Thursday's ceremony, an event, he says, to inaugurate "an uncommon man for an uncommon university." During the actual moment of installation, President of the Trustees of Indiana University Frederick F. Eichhorn Jr. will say, "Adam W. Herbert, by the authority vested in me as president of the Trustees of Indiana University, I hereby install you as President of Indiana University." The conferral will be witnessed by four former presidents of IU and the chancellors of all eight IU campuses, with the former presidents standing to the right of Herbert and the chancellors to his left.

Presidential facts

Adam W. Herbert became the 17th president of IU in August 2003 at age 59. The youngest IU president was David Starr Jordan (1884-1891), age 33 at the beginning of his term, and the oldest was John Lathrop (1859-1860), age 60.

The longest term in office as an IU president is William Lowe Bryan at 35 years (1902-1937). Alfred Ryors was president for only six months (1852-1853).

Three of IU's presidents were native-born Hoosiers: Joseph Swain (1893-1902), William Lowe Bryan (1902-1937) and Herman B Wells (1937-1938, acting president; 1938-1962, president; and 1968, interim president).

Five IU presidents were graduates of Indiana University: William Daily (1853-1859), Joseph Swain (1893-1902), William Lowe Bryan (1902-1937), Herman B Wells (1937-1938, acting president; 1938-1962, president; and 1968, interim president) and John W. Ryan (1971-1987).