Indiana University

Skip to:

  1. Search
  2. Breadcrumb Navigation
  3. Content
  4. Browse by Topic
  5. Services & Resources
  6. Additional Resources
  7. Multimedia News

Last modified: Tuesday, July 12, 2011

IU president presents prestigious University Medal to Lilly Endowment Inc.

July 12, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie on Monday (July 11) presented the University Medal to Lilly Endowment Inc. in recognition of its extraordinary philanthropic support for higher education and other endeavors of great importance to the state of Indiana.

The University Medal, created in 1982 by then IU President John W. Ryan, is the highest nonacademic award bestowed by IU. It honors individuals and organizations for singular or noteworthy contributions, including service to the university and achievement in arts, letters, science and law. It is the only IU medal that requires approval from the Board of Trustees, with board approval given on the recommendation of the university president.

Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie (left) presented the University Medal to Thomas M. Lofton (center), chairman of Lilly Endowment Inc., during an event for endowment staff and retirees at the university's historic Lilly House in Indianapolis.

Print-Quality Photo

McRobbie presented the medal to Thomas M. Lofton, chairman of Lilly Endowment Inc., during an event Monday evening for endowment staff and retirees at the university's historic Lilly House in Indianapolis. The endowment is the first organization to receive the University Medal. The presentation was part of the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Indiana University Foundation.

"The endowment has supported genomics, neurosciences and other life sciences research," McRobbie said. "It has supported IU's emergence as one of the country's leaders in the uses and applications of information technology. It has funded research centers and institutes that help Indiana University continue to push back the frontiers of knowledge. It has helped build IU's extensive system of libraries and archives. It has supported scholarships that have opened countless doors of learning and success to IU students across the state."

McRobbie noted that, just this spring, the university broke ground for the Jacobs School of Music Studio Building in Bloomington, made possible with a $44 million gift from Lilly Endowment Inc. Last month, he took part in the dedication of the Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence in Columbus, funded by the endowment and home to IU, Purdue and Ivy Tech programs.

"The endowment's generosity has transformed the face of this university and the face of this wonderful state we all share," McRobbie said.

Overall, Lilly Endowment has given more than $500 million to Indiana University over the past three decades. The endowment's gifts to IU in recent years include:

  • $155 million for the Indiana Genomics Initiative
  • $60 million for the Indiana Physician Scientist Initiative at the IU School of Medicine
  • $53 million for the Indiana Metabolomics and Cytomics Initiative
  • $40 million to support the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University
  • $26 million to recruit and retain intellectual capital
  • $25 million to attract top faculty to the IU Maurer School of Law
  • $15 million to establish the Pervasive Technology Institute

About Lilly Endowment Inc.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based, private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by members of the Lilly family through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. The endowment supports religion, education and community development, with a special emphasis on projects that benefit young people and promote leadership education and financial self-sufficiency in the nonprofit, charitable sector. Although it also supports efforts of national significance and an occasional international project, it remains primarily committed to Indianapolis and Indiana.

About the University Medal

The University Medal has been awarded only 11 times. Previous recipients include former IU Presidents Herman B Wells, Myles Brand and Adam W. Herbert, U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar, IU Distinguished Professor and Nobel Prize laureate Elinor Ostrom and her husband, retired IU Professor Vincent Ostrom. The medallion is made of 18-karat gold and bears on its face the IU seal. For more information, see