The 2018 State of the Campus address
March 6, 2018
Indiana University Bloomington
The Collaborative Campus
The 2018 State of the Campus address
The 2018 State of the Campus address
March 6, 2018
Indiana University Bloomington
Thank you, President Tanford. It is my honor and privilege to speak with my beloved IU community today about the state of our campus.
Yesterday, I was in French Lick, Indiana, with a large group of faculty and staff members, mayors, and civic leaders to announce a major initiative partnering with the rural communities of our state. That announcement had been preceded over weeks and months by visits to the counties in our region, where I met with the leadership of those communities and heard their many connections to IU Bloomington, their affection for our university, and their conviction that we could be a vital force for good in their communities.
A week before, I was in Jerusalem with Ron and Terry Hendin, dedicated alumni who have personally welcomed our study-abroad students to Israel into their home for forty years. With me on that trip were civic leaders from Indianapolis, many of them IU graduates: public school principals, doctors, nonprofit leaders, and others-some my own former students-gifted, dedicated, and thoughtful humans who care deeply about the vitality and health of our state. At every turn, as is always the case no matter what part of the world I am in, I met people whose lives are better because of those on our campus: the vice provost at Hebrew University whose father got his PhD at Jacobs and who remembered a delightful first-grade year at University School; the Dean of Humanities who is a former history professor here; even the parents wearing IU sweatshirts at a rest stop in the Negev, whose son, a junior here, must have been very startled to receive a picture of his mom and dad with me and our IU flag (yes, I carry it with me at all times) in front of a beleaguered camel from a gas station far, far away.
In every place I am privileged to represent IU Bloomington, I am continually humbled and inspired by the reach and impact of our faculty, staff, students, research, and programs. And while an address such as this can speak to only a small fraction of the wonderful work IU Bloomington does, it does provide the occasion to celebrate our values as one of the world's strongest public research universities. That we are a public university speaks to our mission to educate our students-in the disciplines, arts, and professions, deeply and certainly, but also in the habits of mind, tolerance, critique, and engagement that form a citizen. Those habits include a commitment to inclusion and fluency in, and enduring curiosity about, the rest of the world. That we are a research university speaks to our mission to continually expand the frontiers of knowledge and creativity, to make that knowledge and creativity available to the world, and to ensure that our students leave here as advocates for the importance of what we do, not because we tell them the work is important, but because they experience its importance in their bones and souls.
In the years since I became provost, I have seen our campus grow exponentially in its appetite and capacity for innovation and broad-scale collaboration. We lead the state in the number of new programs and degrees submitted to the Indiana Commission on Higher Education each year, demonstrating our commitment both to share the new approaches and paradigms we discover through our research with our excellent students and to prepare them well for their lives beyond our gates. Our major collaborative research programs, both Grand Challenges and Emerging Areas of Research, have brought enormous numbers of faculty members together across a stunning number of disciplines to address some of the largest, most cutting-edge, and most wickedly complex problems humanity faces. This is true even for the proposals that have not-yet-been funded, for the work faculty have done together to identify peers across the university and imagine the contributions each could make have forged new collaborations, many of which will endure and flourish. Our cooperation and imagination around our immense strengths in the arts and humanities has never been brighter or stronger. And we have made significant progress on inclusion and diversity, both fundamental values at our university.
As a campus, we also confront the contemporary challenges of our era. Our engagement with the world takes place in a context that has placed unexpected and unwelcome obstacles in the paths of our faculty and students. Our scientists struggle with a disturbing and unwarranted skepticism about scientific reason. Our students shine in a thousand ways, but we share the moral imperative to continue to address their battles with mental illness and sexual assault and harassment. The Greek system, which has been instrumental in forging life-long friendships and philanthropic awareness, is also struggling with existential questions of identity and safety. Our campus has worked creatively and effectively this year, and will continue to work, on each of these issues.
We confront these challenges, as we confront our opportunities, grounded in a specific history of free inquiry, curiosity, humaneness, and collegiality at a great institution whose durability and imaginative capacity we have no reason to doubt.
I could fill today's report with the individual achievements of our talented faculty, 99 of whom are now members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. I could also fill it with the remarkable work of our College and Schools on every front, recognizing particularly the creative work of our colleagues in the many schools that have been formed in the past five years. I would love to use my time to recognize every one of the faculty and staff members who contribute to the miracle that is this campus.
But my time with you is short, and so my themes today focus on the imaginative, powerful, and public-facing collaborations we have forged across the campus. For it is those collaborations, and the ways in which they engage us with the world, that provide reason to believe that the durability of our institution will continue.
I start, as always, with our students. Every year I have been provost, I have been able to say-truthfully-that the entering class of students is the most academically accomplished in IU Bloomington history. This fall's class of first-time students was also our largest ever, with 8,001 enrolled to start the year. It was also our most diverse ever, with minority enrollment at a record 22.3%. This nearly matches the State of Indiana's minority population of 23.3%, and includes record enrollments among African Americans and Latino/Hispanic students. 
This success has been fueled by two things. First, we have outstanding programs focused on first-generation and diverse populations of students. The Hudson & Holland, Groups, and 21st Century Scholars programs have all seen enrollments at or near record levels, and their freshmen cohorts are among the highest-achieving ever, as measured by GPAs and SAT scores. Second, through these programs and sustained efforts at the campus level, we are on pace to double the amount of funding we provide to underrepresented, first-generation, and low-incomes students over the period from 2014 to 2021. This reflects our rock-solid commitment to make IU Bloomington accessible to the most talented students of all backgrounds.
Under the leadership of director Marsha McGriff, the Hudson & Holland Scholars Program continues to be a model of excellence for our campus. Enrollment has grown by 100% in the past five years, with 1,816 students enrolled during the current academic year. The program has also increased its already strong retention and graduation rates: 94.6% of first-year students in the program return for their second year, and 72.1% graduate within four years. Both of those marks are above the rates for IU Bloomington as a whole.
Under the leadership of director Mary Stephenson, the Groups Program is celebrating its 50th year on campus. The program's legacy over the past half century has been profound, as it has guided more than 12,000 Indiana first-generation students to academic success on their way to becoming leaders throughout the world. This impressive alumni network touches communities in every corner of our state.
Vice Provost John Nieto-Philips and his team have continued their efforts not only to retain diverse students, but also to ensure their access to all of IU Bloomington's outstanding resources and opportunities. For instance, the Overseas Studies and Scholarship Program last year provided funding to 130 students for credit-bearing programs in 41 different countries.
Our strategic efforts in the areas of institutional, faculty, and student diversity have produced tangible results and national recognition. IU Bloomington has been recognized for the third year with the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity award from INSIGHT Into Diver sity, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education. In addition to this honor-the only national designation of its kind-IU Bloomington is one of only 15 institutions in the country to be recognized with the highest distinction, the Diversity Champion Award, for serving as a global beacon to promote diversity and inclusiveness. As writer Mariah Bohanon noted in the article announcing this award, "By focusing its efforts on students and faculty alike, IU Bloomington has created a campus community where all individuals, particularly those who may otherwise be disadvantaged or excluded in higher education, are empowered and poised for success."  This is certainly our ambition and hope for our campus community, and it is affirming to hear our work as a campus recognized by one of the nation's foremost organizations devoted to diversity and inclusion in education.
Our campus, and our country, will forever be challenged to imagine and make real a more inclusive, more just, more open, and more connected society. This award gives us the opportunity to celebrate the work of those on our campus whose daily lives are devoted to this end in their work with our students.
As a campus, and to further those endd, we have joined with other top universities in the American Talent Initiative. This initiative is based on the knowledge that "in any given year, at least 50,000 low- and moderate-income college aged students with the academic credentials to excel in our nation's most competitive colleges are not enrolled at one of the nation's top-performing institutions, where statistics show they are most likely to graduate. In addition to providing the best odds of personal success, these institutions are a proven pathway to positions of critical economic and civic significance. It is imperative that we send a message to those students that the range of colleges and universities they can attend is broader than many now believe." 
ATI has focused on colleges and universities like ours with 6-year graduation rates at 70% or higher, and has set a goal of collaboratively educating an additional 50,000 highly qualified, low- and moderate-income students by 2025. Indiana University Bloomington is proud to be a new member of this exciting initiative.
A second collaborative initiative focuses on citizenship. An recent article in the New York Times noted that "abysmally low turnout among young people has long been a hallmark of American elections, particularly in midterm years [where] [d]ata suggests that only 18 percent voted in 2014, compared with about 37 percent in the overall population."  I believe every one of our students should leave this campus with a deep commitment to engagement with the democratic process. I also believe that we should take the opportunity to beat Purdue whenever possible. We can accomplish both goals through the Big Ten Voting Challenge, a friendly competition to see which campus can boast the highest level of voter participation. Led by the College's outstanding Political and Civic Engagement Program, with support from my office and the IU Student Association, our campus will spend the spring and fall registering voters, celebrating democracy, and promoting civil discourse. Our students will be able to vote in a new polling place in the Indiana Memorial Union, and show our Big Ten colleagues what a civically engaged campus really looks like.
Finally, last Thursday in this packed room, we celebrated the launch of a third collaborative student initiative, IU Corps. Both locally and globally, the mission of IU Corps is to connect students with meaningful engagement opportunities, and to connect community partners with the students whose interests and goals align with theirs.
Indiana University Bloomington has two great strengths that make this initiative possible. The first is the passion, energy, compassion, and intelligence of our over 40,000 students. This generation of students has demonstrated through its generosity and commitment that it wants to make a difference in the world; that it thinks seriously about social justice; and that it believes in the power of individual and collective action.
The second is the vast number of groups and classes on the campus that make serving communities a part of their mission. IU Bloomington currently offers more than 160 community engagement programs and over 200 classes that incorporate community service. More than 230 student groups on campus include a service component. While the impact of each program is significant, their cumulative effect is truly profound. For instance, from spring 2010 to spring 2018, our students provided more than 300,000 hours of community engagement through service-learning classes alone, providing over $7 million in services to a large number of communities. And of course, that number includes only our class-based programs that we were able to document, so it vastly understates the value of our student, staff and faculty commitment to engagement with communities in our state, nation, and around the globe.
IU Corps builds on these wonderful courses and programs, many of which have been active for decades, to leverage opportunities for both students and communities.
For communities, whether in Indiana or in India, IU Corps provides a single point of contact into this vast network. This will allow communities that know the expertise and help they need but are unfamiliar with our university's structure to quickly connect with the groups that can assist them, and will multiply the opportunities for our campus groups to be of service.
And for our students, IU Corps builds on the great work already happening on campus to fulfill a promise that every student can find the opportunity to serve that fits her or his passion, interest, and goals. So many of our students arrive on campus eager to embrace such opportunities, but it often takes them some time to discover the right fit for them. On a campus as large and diverse as ours, such opportunities can take many different forms-from mentored research and indirect service that helps communities develop needed programs, to advocacy and direct service that includes face-to-face engagement with community members. Students can pursue such service around the world, and they can work with established partners right here in Monroe County such as Habitat for Humanity and the United Way. For all of our students, IU Corps represents a guide through the diverse opportunities available to them.
I'd like to share with you now a short video that highlights the impact engagement has on our students and their sense of belonging in the world.
Video screening: "What Will You Do?"
As you can see, engagement leads students to learn just as much about themselves as they learn about the communities they serve. The four students in that video offer wonderful examples of the transformative power of engagement. Although they worked in diverse fields in different parts of the world, they all emerged with a stronger sense of who they want to be and how they want to bring positive change into the world.
IU Corps fulfills a promise we made in our strategic plan, and was made possible through the work of faculty and staff from every single school on campus over the course of over 18 months. If I were to thank everyone, it would take longer than Gary Oldham's acceptance speech, but I do want to recognize the inaugural director of IU Corps, Cassi Winslow-Edmonson, an IU alumna who has spent the past five years working with our students to help them identify and pursue their career goals. We are very excited to have Cassi's expertise and enthusiasm at the helm of IU Corps.
 at 6.7% and 6.6%, respectively, in our class.
 Farah Stockman," At Colleges, Protesters are Typical; Voters Rare," New York Times, March 4, 2018.
This academic year began with a day of serendipity in August, as our first day of classes happened to coincide with what became popularly known as "The Great America Eclipse." This celestial event was met on our campus with "CelestFest," a unique celebration held in and around our beautiful new Conrad Prebys Amphitheatre. This event was the result of a wonderful partnership between the Office of Science Outreach and the campus Arts & Humanities Council. These units are guided by complementary missions to ensure that the great work done on campus in their respective disciplines is accessible to the public and intricately woven into the lives of our students. Their collaboration around "CelestFest" was a vivid invitation to our freshmen on their first day of classes to explore the limitless opportunities of the liberal arts core that thrives at IU Bloomington.
For our physicists and astronomers, the event showcased the depth of scientific expertise on campus and the necessity of scientific inquiry in understanding the world around us. For our musicians and poets, the event showcased the versatility of creative activity on campus and the centrality of the arts in our search for meaning in the world around us. Most importantly, "CelestFest" embodied the spirit of community that animates everything we do at IU Bloomington.
The Arts & Humanities Council has promoted this spirit of community since its creation under our strategic plan in 2015. Under the joyful guidance of director and associate vice provost, Ed Comentale, the Council has woven the arts and humanities into the social fabric of our campus calendar with the First Thursdays Festival and the spring's Global Arts & Humanities Festival. Last week saw another instance of serendipity, as these two festivals converged on the colorful Indian Holi celebration of spring, right in the middle of India Remixed. The resulting messy and rainbow-colored festival in the IMU brought together campus units such as Dhar India Studies and the Asian Culture Center, student groups such as the Indian Student Association, and community partners such as Lotus and Monroe County Public Libraries. The event was a microcosm of the Council's larger efforts to promote the arts and humanities in all their wonderful diversity, to encourage communication and collaboration among the many talented people engaged in creative activity on campus, and to imagine the arts and humanities as bridges toward enduring relationships with communities in Monroe County and throughout the state.
India Remixed is going strong, with upcoming visits from acclaimed author Sir Salman Rushdie this month and renowned filmmaker Mira Nair in April, as well as many scholarly lectures and student-centered events. In May, the Council will present their first summer festival, The Granfalloon. The term "Granfalloon" comes from beloved Hoosier author Kurt Vonnegut. It's the name he gave to a group of people who come together through an affected common identity or shared purpose. While the reasons that bring them together are arbitrary, the sense of belonging they feel through the Granfalloon is both powerful and real. The Council chose Vonnegut as a kind of presiding spirit over the festival because his work celebrated the virtues of civic life and the power of art to enliven and inform democratic citizenship.
The festival takes place the week after commencement as a celebration of the rich cultural offerings of Bloomington in the summer. It will include musical and theatrical performances, academic panels, and artistic and archival exhibitions. Like so much of the Council's work, it brings together cultural luminaries from around the world with unique campus resources such as the Lilly Library, in partnership with community organizations such as Cardinal Stage Company and Secretly Canadian.
IU Bloomington remains our state's foremost locale for creative activity and research in the arts and humanities, because we enjoy two areas of strength unrivaled by any other university or institution in the state: First, we have a wealth of resources in the arts and humanities that include world-class performance spaces, museums, libraries, archives, and cultural centers.
Second, these resources are stewarded by a diverse community of artists and scholars whose expertise touches upon virtually every field of creative endeavor, who believe passionately in the virtues of the arts and humanities, and who are committed to making Indiana University a force for good around the state and throughout the world. This commitment can be seen in the many great projects they've undertaken in the past year.
Despite the ongoing renovations, the Eskenazi Museum of Art has maintained a place of prominence in campus and community cultural life, under the leadership of director David Brenneman. Thanks to the enthusiastic participation of its dedicated volunteer docents, the Eskenazi's "Museum Without Walls" program has visited all 47 second grade classrooms in Monroe County and Richland-Bean Blossom school districts. Beginning in April, we will host over 1,000 seventh graders for campus tours of the complete Thomas Hart Benton murals and IU architecture.
This was also a year of forging new partnerships and strengthening existing partnerships for the museum. The Eskenazi created two new external partnerships that will involve the exchange of works of art, but more importantly also the exchange of ideas, students, faculty and professional staff.
The first is with the Speed Museum of Art in Louisville, Kentucky, which will kick off in June of 2018 with an exhibition of some of the Eskenazi's most important works of early 20th century European and American modern art. We are especially excited that this partnership will enable all IU students and staff to visit the Speed Museum for free over the five-year period of our partnership.
The Eskenazi's other major external partnership is with the Tsinghua University Art Museum in Beijing, China. This partnership will kick off this coming fall in Beijing with an exhibition of American and European paintings from the Eskenazi, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, and the Terra Foundation for American Art in Chicago, which is also a major sponsor of the exhibition. The museum believes that this will be one of the first partnerships between American and Chinese university art museums.
This coming fall, the School of Art, Architecture, and Design will welcome its first class of students into the new Master of Architecture program in Columbus. This program is a wonderful example of IU's academic excellence working in harmony with our region's unique resources, in this case the profound modernist architectural legacy of the City of Columbus.
And speaking of harmony, the Jacobs School of Music continues to enrich campus life with hundreds of exquisite performances by its students, faculty, and distinguished guests. Of particular note last fall was the performance of the "St. Luke Passion" by legendary composer Krzysztof Penderecki, which accompanied his campus visit and honorary degree ceremony. The performance was an amazing gift to campus and the Bloomington community-one that few music schools in the country could offer.
Earlier this semester, the Media School and IU Cinema collaborated with the Burroughs Century to bring us "Wounded Galaxies," an amazing interdisciplinary symposium dedicated to critical scholarly inquiries of the year 1968 and its political, social, and cultural implications. The symposium featured panels and lectures from leading scholars, writers, artists, and filmmakers, as well as an extensive film series at the Cinema. I can't be confident about this, but I suspect it was the first academic symposium in the history of campus to include a burning piano in Dunn Meadow.
These are just a few success stories in the arts and humanities from the past year. I could list many more, but their common thread is the dedication and expertise of the people on our campus. Because our people are so great, we can invest with confidence in the future of the arts and humanities on the Bloomington campus. In November, I appointed Helene O'Leary to a newly created position as Assistant Provost for Strategic Campus Advancement. Helene comes to the position with two decades of development experience at IU, having secured more than $47 million  in support of various schools and units around campus, most recently with IU Libraries. She has been working closely with multiple units to coordinate and expand our efforts to secure outside support and ensure the strength of the arts and humanities on campus for years to come.
 From the press release: https://news.iu.edu/stories/2017/11/iub/releases/28-helene-oleary.html
We continue to make significant investments in faculty research as well, at the university, campus, and school levels. In 2016, as a result of our strategic plan, IU Bloomington launched the Emerging Areas of Research initiative to support areas of research and creative strength that enhance the quality, impact and reputation of the campus's research enterprise. Each Emerging Areas of Research initiatives includes up to a $3 million investment in new faculty and start-ups. This year, Rick Van Kooten and the Office of the Vice Provost for Research worked with faculty review teams to choose two final proposals from a pool of 21, representing nearly 250 faculty across campus. The proposals were so good, we had to fund two of them.
Professor Gerardo Ortiz is leading an initiative with faculty from the Department of Physics and the Department of Intelligent Systems Engineering focused on quantum science and engineering. Their goal is to harness the power of quantum entanglement, a phenomenon that Einstein called "spooky action at a distance," in which particles that interact continue to act on one another, even when separated by long distances. The project will explore this curious property of entanglement and use it to solve certain problems in computation and physics and to develop quantum sensors, devices that use quantum interference eﬀects to achieve greatly enhanced measurement sensitivity. As of last week, Professor Ortiz and his group are already connected to their counterparts in Israel. Such is the power of connection.
Professor James Farmer, from the School of Public Health, is leading a project focused on sustainable food systems along with faculty from Anthropology, Geography, History, SPEA, and Psychological and Brain Sciences. The team will use the framework developed by IU's most recent Nobel Laureate, Lin Ostrom, to coordinate their innovative and interdisciplinary effort. The initiative will analyze food systems from varying perspectives and in both local and international contexts to identify what it takes to create environmentally sustainable, socially just, and resilient systems for food, from production to procurement.
And work continues on the 2017 inaugural Emerging Areas of Research award, which was presented to a team led by Distinguished Professor Linda Smith in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. The project, called "Learning: Brains, Machines, and Children," includes cognitive scientists, neuroscientists, and computer scientists at IU Bloomington who are studying whether and how machines may learn to think like children, with a goal of developing new theories about how learning works. Their work was highlighted in a recent issue of Scientific American, including photos of the amazing-and frankly adorable-baby robot you've seen cycling through the slideshow. Professor Smith has been using the robot in collaboration with roboticist Angelo Cangelosi of the University of Plymouth in England to study the role of the body in procuring knowledge.
In addition to the Emerging Areas of Research initiative, our university-wide Grand Challenges initiatives continue to build interdisciplinary collaborations across all IU campuses and harness our expertise and resources to address the most pressing issues facing communities here in Indiana and around the world. Of particular note for our campus is the third and most recent Grand Challenge: Responding to the Addiction Crisis, launched this past summer. The initiative aims to reduce deaths from addiction, ease the burden of substance use disorder on Hoosier communities, and improve health and economic outcomes. In partnership with state officials, IU Health, Eskenazi Health, and others, this statewide initiative is one of the nation's most comprehensive state-based responses to the opioid addiction crisis-and the largest led by a university. It is part of IU's commitment, announced by President McRobbie in October, to invest $50 million to collaborate with community partners on local and statewide responses to an affliction that has touched the lives of far too many of our neighbors and fellow citizens.
Like the Environmental Change and Precision Health Grand Challenges, Responding to the Addiction Crisis brings together faculty, staff, and students from schools and units around campus. It draws upon a multitude of campus strengths and areas of expertise. Most importantly, it is driven by our shared commitment to making IU an essential force for good in our state. As our state's flagship public university, we are determined to bring our extensive resources and expertise to bear on the scourge of addiction and help lift up the members of our communities who suffer from it.
I began this address with my recent trip to Israel, one of two international trips I have made this year to further opportunities for our faculty and students. Under President McRobbie's leadership and through the good work of OVPIA and every school on our campus, IU Bloomington's global engagement continues to deepen. In their brief existence, our Gateways in India, China, and Berlin have hosted 24 study-abroad courses and 60 research-related events led by IUB faculty members, from book launches to workshops with local partner universities to full-scale conferences, involving 10 of our Bloomington schools and 41 departments in the College of Arts and Sciences. The gateways have partnered with other IUB offices to provide international opportunities: for example, the partnership with the Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion to support the African-American Chorale Ensemble in a tour that brought their infectious brand of gospel music to Europe. The wonderful local directors of our gateway offices have worked tirelessly to enrich the campus' most strategic partnerships with foreign universities, opening further opportunities for student mobility and faculty research collaboration.
Our Office of International Admissions has increased its outreach on our behalf to over 60 countries around the world, and the gateway network supports this critical work with talented potential students. Each of the gateway offices has hosted information events for prospective applicants, yield events, and pre-orientation events that help connect international students with IUB. And the Gateway network keeps us connected to our international alumni, working with the IU Alumni Association to ensure that our international alumni remain engaged with our university.
I will end with two powerful collaborations for the public good.
In January, we broke ground for the new Regional Academic Health Center. In partnership with IU Health, this new hospital and academic building represents about a $400 million investment in the health and well-being of our region and the development of the outstanding programs in health sciences on this campus. The collaborative work of our colleagues in public health, medical sciences, social work, nursing, optometry, and speech and hearing sciences has resulted in the planning of a wonderful new facility that will allow them to develop a cutting-edge model of interprofessional education. The Regional Academic Health Center will bring new opportunities not only for our faculty, students, and staff, but for a better quality of life for every citizen of South Central Indiana.
Our health sciences programs are already a source of great pride for our campus, but the new opportunities open to them through the Regional Academic Health Center will allow those programs to grow and evolve significantly. We will finally be able to accommodate the long-needed increase in enrollment in our Nursing program, and begin offering a new master's degree in nursing. In anticipation of this new space, our Social Work program began offering a master's degree, focused on addiction and mental health, that is already making a significant difference in our region. And we will have a residency program for our MDs, which will give them the opportunity to stay in our region. The new center will also bring the world-class Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences and its clinic together with our other health sciences programs. The gathering together of all our diverse programs across the health sciences will foster communication, collaboration, and the inter-professional educational experiences that are essential to the future of health care. For the students who learn in these new programs and facilities, the results will be transformative; and for those whom they will eventually serve, the results will be life-altering.
I will end where I started, in French Lick.
Almost exactly two years ago, state and regional leaders, government officials, and other stakeholders gathered at WestGate Academy at NSWC Crane to learn about a new set of initiatives to promote economic and community prosperity in this region of the state. It was day of immense excitement and promise. Lilly Endowment Inc. had recently awarded three grants totaling $42 million to support regional development in our part of Indiana. Most of the attention that day was rightly focused on the Regional Opportunity Initiative and the Applied Research Initiative, the organizations that were created from the major portions of that extraordinary grant. But the Endowment had also provided a planning grant to Indiana University Bloomington, and with that grant, a challenge: how might the university, one of the state's most important assets and one of the region's largest employers, work even more closely with rural Indiana and its regional cities?
In the months that followed, I met with community leaders of all kinds in Monroe County and 10 other counties in our region. At those meeting, I heard leaders describe the opportunities and challenges those communities face. And many colleagues from schools and departments across campus have had similar discussions with community members whose needs intersect with their respective fields.
Since that time, we have received over 175 separate requests for partnership from our region's rural communities. The possibilities for collaboration span a wide range of issues, from quality of place initiatives involving recreation, parks, or the arts; to sustainability initiatives involving water quality; to applying IUB's developing expertise in sensors and engineering to help our elderly neighbors stay in their homes longer; to planning regional food hubs; to strategies for addressing pervasive health challenges, including the scourge of substance use disorder; to providing capacity building support to help find the state and national resources to support a community's hopes and dreams.
During the past year, we have been working with those communities, some quite intensively, on the issues they have identified. We have done this by engaging our talented faculty, staff, and students, who have been excited to think about how their talents and time directly relate to being part of solutions to the issues we face. In just one example of this engagement, 20 classes from IU Bloomington involving over 550 students have been intensively engaged with Bedford, Mitchell, and Lawrence County in work identified by those communities. In the short time it has been in existence, this initiative, based on a national model, has become the largest rural initiative at any university in the country. The possibilities span every aspect of the campus. This academic year, for instance, Traditional Arts Indiana, through acclaimed faculty member Jon Kay, presented research-based, collaboratively developed exhibitions about Indiana's cultural history in twenty-nine different communities around the state. Traditional Arts Indiana also began a new program focused on the ways local artistic traditions can enhance quality of life among seniors living in the eleven counties of Southwest Central Indiana. This work beautifully embodies our campus commitment to improving the well-being of all people in our region.
It is easy to see the enormous potential of this initiative, not only to make sure Indiana's investment in its flagship campus directly benefits Hoosier communities, but also to ensure that our over 40,000 students can clearly see the possibilities of life here in Indiana.
Therefore, I was delighted to announce yesterday in French Lick that the Lilly Endowment has awarded a $10 million grant to fund the creation of an IU Center for Rural Engagement, to which Indiana University is contributing an additional $2.5 million. On behalf of the faculty, students, and staff of IU Bloomington, and on behalf of the citizens of Indiana, I offer my deepest thanks to the Endowment, which is always a visionary partner in the very best ways and a tremendous force for good in our state.
The launch of the Center for Rural Engagement represents a new milestone in the long and deep relationship between IU's flagship campus and our state, and it promises to open new frontiers in cooperation and collaboration.
This work has already been energizing and deeply rewarding for our IU community, and has already led to many important partnerships and some wonderful results with regional cities and rural communities in our region. The Center will be a single IU point of contact for rural communities and regional small cities throughout the state, starting with this region, so they can pursue their challenges and ideas in partnership with Indiana University without the added challenge of having to search out the right office or person in our big organization, perhaps missing significant resources of which they would be unaware. No one in our state should have to negotiate our organizational chart to find Indiana University's talent and resources.
I am delighted that the wonderful Bill Brown, who has served so capably as our University Director of Sustainability, will be the inaugural Executive Director for the Center. Bill's deep sense of collaboration and partnership, his gift for attracting great talent, and his love of the rural communities he grew up in and has served so well in many roles over the years, will ensure that this new set of collaborations will have the profound effect they should in our state.
When we adopted our campus strategic plan four years ago, I wrote that Indiana University owes its existence to the vision and support of the State of Indiana, whose founding constitution as a frontier state declared that "knowledge and learning generally diffused through a community," are "essential to the preservation of a free Government." Indiana made good on that promise in 1820 by laying the cornerstone of the university that would bear its name. Since that time, IU Bloomington has fulfilled the promise of that vision, and has extended its reach, and Indiana's connections, to every corner of the globe, educating more Hoosier students than any other university in the state.
But the true measure of an institution's integrity and values is whether the people closest to it support it. In this measure, we are truly blessed. IU Bloomington's alumni and friends have contributed well over $804 million to our IUB Campaign, Matching the Promise. And nearly 10,000 IU Bloomington faculty and staff have shown their belief in this institution, not only through the commitment they show every day in their labs, classrooms, and offices, but also through their remarkable contribution of over $71 million to support our students and programs.
President Tanford, colleagues on the Council and colleagues and friends across the campus: The state of our campus is strong.