In 1938, the Indiana University Bloomington Stores and Services Building was constructed at the corner of Woodlawn Avenue and Seventh Street. In 1954, the building was renamed in honor of IU alumnus and Pulitzer Prize-winning war correspondent Ernie Pyle, and the former Department of Journalism, the Indiana Daily Student and the Arbutus yearbook moved in. On Friday, the next chapter of this historic building will be celebrated with a rededication ceremony.
When The Media School was established, the journalism program found a new home in a renovated, state-of-the-art Franklin Hall, making way for the Office of Admissions Welcome Center and the College of Arts and Sciences' Walter Center for Career Achievement in Ernie Pyle Hall. Renovations to the space were completed this summer, and the two organizations have been enjoying their new home this semester.
The central location of the building and proximity to the Indiana Memorial Union make Ernie Pyle Hall the perfect location to welcome prospective students and their parents, according to Stephanie Stephenson, senior associate director of recruitment at the IU Office of Admissions. The office was previously on Jordan Avenue across from the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center.
"For our prospective students and guests to be able to come and see the heart of this campus truly bustling and alive is huge," Stephenson said. "It gives us the opportunity to showcase the student experience and vibrancy that IU has to offer."
Beyond the facility's prime location, the new space offers admissions the flexibility to welcome more prospective students to campus. The office, which hosts nearly 50,000 visitors each year, now has a presentation space that can accommodate 70 visitors and another that seats more than 150. The former Office of Admissions had one space that could accommodate 75 visitors.
The technology that has been incorporated into the space will help admissions staff members better serve prospective students, Stephenson said. Interactive touch screens in the lobby area and floor-to-ceiling screens in the large presentation room will create an immersive experience for guests.
"The state-of-the-art technology that has been incorporated in the space will allow visitors to not just listen to a presentation or see things on a campus tour, but really dive into certain areas of the university that they want to learn more about," Stephenson said.
David Johnson, vice provost for enrollment management, said the new space will give IU Bloomington an edge in the competitive higher education market.
"This space was made possible because of support from President McRobbie, Provost Robel, Vice President Tom Morrison, the trustees and the state of Indiana," Johnson said. "It is a symbol of IU's dedication to recruiting the best and brightest students to Indiana University."
Joe Lovejoy, director of the Walter Center, said the location of Ernie Pyle Hall is also ideal for the career center that serves students in the College of Arts and Sciences. Unlike many of the other schools on campus, the College of Arts and Sciences does not have one centralized classroom building. The location of Ernie Pyle Hall makes it easy for students to access the Walter Center's resources, whether they are studying international studies, mathematics or fine arts.
Leaders in both the Office of Admissions and the Walter Center appreciate the opportunity to share the space with each other. Lovejoy said that having prospective students in the building gives the Walter Center the opportunity to bust myths about job security for liberal arts majors early in students' college search process.
"Students often believe the misconception that studying in liberal arts means a lifetime of job indirection, which is blatantly untrue," Lovejoy said. "The fact that prospective students walk in and see students dressed in professional clothing and interviewing with companies is a subtle way to communicate the types of commitment IU makes to students who make the decision to come here."
Staff at both the Office of Admissions and the Walter Center feel honored to carry on the legacy of Ernie Pyle by being good stewards of the historic building that bears his name.
"Ernie Pyle was famous for his career and for his passion, and Ernie Pyle Hall is one of the few buildings on campus named for a student," Lovejoy said. "As an office that revolves around providing students with the resources to do meaningful work in a field they're passionate about, it's fitting for us to be located in this building."
"Ernie Pyle was a master storyteller, and we are in the business of helping people write their own stories," Johnson said. "We are honored to be part of keeping the legacy of Ernie Pyle alive for the future."
A rededication celebration of Ernie Pyle Hall will take place at 3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19.