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Indiana University inaugurates Pamela Whitten as 19th president

Gov. Eric Holcomb and Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton joined thousands in the IU community across the state to celebrate the inauguration of the university’s first female president

For Immediate Release Nov 4, 2021

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana University inaugurated Pamela Whitten as its 19th president today during a ceremony attended by more than 1,000 people at IU Auditorium, and a celebratory festival followed.

IU President Pamela Whitten speaks on stage
Pamela Whitten addresses the audience after being inaugurated as Indiana University’s 19th president.Photo by James Brosher, Indiana University

Among those in the IU community who participated in the events were students, faculty, staff and members of the IU Board of Trustees. State leaders attending the celebration included Gov. Eric J. Holcomb, Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton and Purdue University President Mitch Daniels.

IUPUI and IU’s regional campuses watched the ceremony through a livestream broadcast. IUPUI will hold an inauguration celebration where the IUPUI community and Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett will join Whitten at 1:30 p.m. Nov. 5. 

The inauguration ceremony made history, as Whitten is the first woman to serve in the leadership role at IU. It was also the first time that students from IU’s core campuses in Bloomington and Indianapolis and all seven regional campuses and centers were represented in the inaugural delegation.

In Whitten’s inaugural address, she expressed gratitude to women in IU’s history who blazed the trail before her: Sarah Parke Morrison, the first female student to be admitted to IU in 1867; Frances Marshall, the first African American woman to graduate from IU; and Nellie Showers Teter, the first woman to serve on the IU Board of Trustees. 

“It is a particular honor to be the first woman to serve as president of Indiana University,” Whitten said. “I am enormously grateful to be able to stand on the shoulders of these and so many other women who helped Indiana University to thrive and flourish.” 

Whitten also emphasized the importance of collective support for IU’s core missions: providing broad access to an education for all students from Indiana and beyond; pursuing world-class research, scholarship and creative activity; and making meaningful contributions to improving Hoosier health and the economic, social, civic, and cultural development of the state and the world.

“By coming together as one to achieve these goals, we can meet and exceed our high expectations for IU’s future and reach new heights as one of the nation’s greatest public research universities,” Whitten said. 

Procession of people in ceremonial robes walking into IU Auditorium
Faculty, staff and students stream into IU Auditorium for the inauguration ceremony.Photo by James Brosher, Indiana University

As chair of the Board of Trustees, W. Quinn Buckner officially installed Whitten as the university’s president during the ceremony.

“It takes a remarkable individual to lead a remarkable institution,” Buckner said. “The Board of Trustees has found that individual in Pamela Whitten. Her scholarly pursuits and her highly distinguished record of leadership have prepared her for this moment.”

Whitten took office on July 1, 2021, and was officially installed during the inauguration ceremony. A visionary scholar and accomplished educator and researcher, Whitten held a variety of leadership roles before joining IU, including president of Kennesaw State University, dean of Michigan State University, and senior vice president for academic affairs and provost at the University of Georgia. She is also an internationally recognized expert in the field of telemedicine.

Media Contact

IU Newsroom

Chuck Carney

Director of Special Projects

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