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IUPUI names new Emerging Artist Series in honor of IU president and first lady

For Immediate Release Jun 28, 2021

INDIANAPOLIS – In honor and recognition of IU President Michael A. McRobbie and first lady Laurie Burns McRobbie, IUPUI has established a new Emerging Artist Series in the Herron School of Art and Design that will bear the couple’s name.

IUPUI Chancellor Nasser H. Paydar announced the establishment of the Michael A. and Laurie Burns McRobbie Emerging Artist Series in a campus ceremony honoring the McRobbies’ legacy of achievement, leadership and passion that characterized their roles over the president’s tenure.

Michael A. McRobbie and Nasser H. Paydar wearing masks and having a conversation in an auditorium
IU President Michael A. McRobbie and IUPUI Chancellor Nasser H. Paydar at a ceremony honoring the president with the naming of a new Emerging Artists Series.Photo by Liz Kaye, Indiana University

The annual series will support national and international emerging artists from diverse backgrounds through a variety of public lectures, residencies and exhibitions at the Herron School. The goal of the program is to provide a platform for recipients to share innovative ideas and art practices while advancing learning experiences across the campus community.

“To recognize and honor all that Michael and Laurie McRobbie have achieved, to remember and celebrate them on our campus, and with their great love and support of fine art in mind, our campus is proud to establish this Emerging Artist Series in their name,” Paydar said. “Michael and Laurie have been driven not only by their love for the university but also their love for each other, and this series creates a lasting legacy that will positively impact artists and the broader community for generations to come.”

The appreciation of fine art has been a big part of the McRobbies’ service to IU and personal adventures. The president spearheaded the assessment, preservation, restoration and curation of the university’s extensive art collection, and the president and first lady also explored the art of cultures around the world as they represented the university during their travels. The McRobbie Emerging Artist Series captures that legacy of service in a program unique to IUPUI.

An artist paints a picture of the stage in the background in an auditorium.
Plein air artist Anita Gordon, BFA ’20, Herron School of Art and Design, paints a rendering of the ceremony. IU President Michael A. McRobbie and first lady Laurie Burns McRobbie were presented with the painting as a memento of the occasion.Photo by Liz Kaye, Indiana University

McRobbie retires this week after 14 years as IU president and 24 years with the university. Under his leadership, IU and IUPUI have seen substantial growth and development in several key areas, including population increases among IUPUI’s undergraduate students of color; the formation of four new schools at IUPUI; and the construction of the Science, Engineering and Laboratory building, Innovation Hall, and University Hall, among other new construction and renovation projects. IUPUI’s research portfolio, including the IU School of Medicine, more than doubled from just under $300 million to well over $600 million during McRobbie’s tenure.

“Laurie and I are deeply honored by the establishment of the Emerging Artist Series and its naming in honor of us,” McRobbie said. “The Herron School of Art and Design has a long tradition of bringing both established and emerging artists from around the country and the world to the campus. I am delighted that this tradition will continue and grow through this series, and Laurie and I look forward to attending the lectures and exhibitions that will be part of it.”

As the university’s first lady, Laurie Burns McRobbie has been an active ambassador for IU students, faculty, staff and alumni, with a particular focus on philanthropy, technology and the growing influence of women. She played a crucial role in the establishment of the IU Center of Excellence for Women and Technology. She founded Women’s Philanthropy at IU in 2010 and establish the Women’s Philanthropy Leadership Council. She was also appointed by Gov. Eric Holcomb as a member of the Indiana Arts Commission. She earned a master’s degree from the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI and now serves as an adjunct professor in the school.

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