Love notes to IU Bloomington

Love is in the air with Valentine's Day just a few days away. It's a time when people express their love for one another by exchanging cards and gifts and going on dates.

IU-themed hearts.View print quality image
Bloomington tugs on different heartstrings for different people. Photo illustration by Leigh Hedger

At Indiana University Bloomington, staff and faculty also have strong emotions for the campus because it has been the setting for special moments, places and people in their lives.

Following are some love notes to IU Bloomington from staff and faculty that express why the campus has a special place in their hearts.

Student Building: Setting for an important life moment

Fred Glass, vice president and director of intercollegiate athletics

The Frances Morgan Swain Student Building is one of IU's most iconic landmarks. But for me, it's what unfolded outside its walls in the spring of 1980 that changed my life.

Then a junior, I met there with my academic advisor, who informed me of a fall internship with U.S. Sen. Birch Bayh. Standing outside afterward with my girlfriend, I recited a litany of reasons why I couldn't do it, sliding safely into my comfort zone. Instead of supporting my retreat, she challenged me to pursue it. To make a long story short, I applied and was selected, and ultimately had a transformative experience. Most of the opportunities I've had since can be traced back to that internship.

And, by the way, my girlfriend and I have been married for 37 years.

Carmichael statue reminds us to enjoy day

Sarah Nagy, senior associate director, Office of First Year Experience Programs

My favorite place on IU Bloomington's campus is the Hoagy Carmichael statue. You get a sense of his creative process, and the bench beckons you to sit and relax.

I love the fact that he often has a flower or greenery in his hand or on his hat. I have even seen a scarf around his neck in the winter. I often see students sitting with Hoagy to snap a picture or to catch up with a friend for a few minutes.

It's a reminder to slow down, listen to the music and enjoy the day.

From top: The Hoagy Carmichael statue on the IU Bloomington campus; the Frances Morgan Swain Student Building; a sunset in the IU Bloomington Arboretum. Photos by Chaz Mottinger, James Brosher and Eric Rudd, Indiana University

Campus in spring: A superb time of year

Beth Gazley, professor and associate vice provost for faculty and academic affairs, Paul H. O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs

I fall in love with spring all over again when I traverse the path between the IU Bloomington Arboretum and the School of Public Health building. A small, bare hillside under a grove of trees is transformed each spring into a mass of hundreds of blooming yellow daffodils.

Ernie Pyle Hall: Where my future started

Jennifer Piurek, director of communications, Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President

I'll always love Ernie Pyle Hall. It's where I met my favorite person and husband of almost 20 years, Ryan Piurek. He came up to ask about my Spice Girls notebook at our grad school orientation, and the rest was Posh/Sporty/Scary/Ginger and Baby (times two).

We came to study journalism, and we ended up creating a beautiful life here. I'm forever grateful to IU for bringing us together!

Historic area of buildings provides connection

Gary Dunham, director of the IU Press at IU Libraries

For several years, the Old Crescent and I have become well acquainted with each other. I first started visiting in 2016, while working with my friend Terry Clapacs as editor on what would become his magnificent tribute to the campus, "Indiana University Bloomington: America's Legacy Campus." Filled with Clapacs' stories, I began really listening to what this campus was saying.

Once mute buildings and green places began speaking to me of past purposes realized and new ones ignited along the way, guided by the needs and imaginations of the next campus generation. Walking through the Old Crescent on lunch breaks, absorbing its many pasts and singular present, I came to understand Indiana University differently.

Its two-century-old story and legacy could not be reduced to successions of graduating classes and tenures of presidents, with each student and administrator, in turn, fading away after their hour upon the stage. Such erasure is not possible in the Old Crescent, where each campus generation continues to inscribe itself alongside -- and sometimes over -- those who came before, the whole palimpsest supplying a steadied connectedness among buildings, places and people, regardless of space or time.

So, I have come to love the Old Crescent. It's here where I can feel connected to a permanence of spirit and purpose much grander than my life and my generation.

From top: A spring scene of the Old Crescent area of the Bloomington campus; Ernie Pyle Hall; former director Iris Rosa dances with the IU African American Dance Company in October 2019. Photos by Chaz Mottinger and James Brosher, Indiana University

A professor changed my life

Hannah Crane, events and communications specialist, African American Arts Institute; master's student in arts administration, O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs

Having been at IU Bloomington as a student and staff member for nearly a decade, I have countless stories and cherished memories of the spaces, people and programs that make IU my home. Among all these memories and moments, there is one person who shaped my time as a student at IU, opened my world and my professional career, and continues to be my mentor: professor Iris Rosa (affectionately known as "ProRo").

I met her when I was an Indiana Daily Student reporter in 2012, writing a story about the IU African American Dance Company, for which she was the director for 43 years. The moment I stepped foot into her dance studio in the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center, and after one interview, I knew I needed to be ProRo's student and part of her community. As cliche as it sounds, my life changed that day.

While a student in the African American Dance Company, I met people who are now my lifelong friends (I was maid of honor for one AADC friend), traveled to three countries and learned the greatest life lessons from ProRo -- both inside and outside of the dance studio. She taught me how to think critically and collaboratively, how to conduct embodied research, what it means to be culturally competent, and to respect spaces that black and brown people fought and died for.

Above all, ProRo taught me why IU is unlike any other place in the world. It's the place where Dr. Herman C. Hudson envisioned and created the only program of its kind dedicated to ensuring that black students and black culture are valued and supported through the performing arts; where he selected ProRo to carry out his vision; and where she selected me to continue her legacy at the African American Arts Institute. I am simply grateful for IU.

From top: Showalter Fountain in the spring; the renovated Eskenazi Museum of Art; the Indiana Memorial Union. Photos by Eric Rudd and James Brosher, Indiana University.

My love for IU Bloomington, A-Z

IU Bloomington Provost Lauren Robel, the poem she wrote and recited at the 200 Festival Bicentennial Ceremony on Sept. 27, 2019.

Greetings from the home of Simon-Skjodt Assembly Hall, IU Auditorium, and the Arboretum;
     from Big Ten sports and "Breaking Away" and Big Red supercomputers;
          from Crest toothpaste and the Old Crescent.

Greetings from Drosophila and DNA;
     from the Eskenazi Museum, the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture and Design,
          and Ernie Pyle.

Greetings from the home of Shakespeare's First Folios;
     the Gutenberg Bible, the Grunwald Gallery, and the Gables.

Greetings from the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies,
     the Hutton Honors College and Hoagy Carmichael;
     from Luddy's Informatics, Computing and Intelligent Systems Engineering
          and the Indiana Daily Student.

Greetings from the Jacobs School of Music and the Jordan River;
     and from the Kelley School of Business.

Greetings from the land of Limestone and Laureates, like Lin Ostrom; and Little 500.

Greetings from the Maurer School of Law, the Media School,
     the Indiana Memorial Union,
          and Memorial Stadium.

Greetings from the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center
     and Marcellus Neal and Francis Marshall.

Greetings from the home of Opera, the O'Neill School, and Olympians;
     from Poets and Protests;
     from Psychological and Brain Sciences; from Public Health;
     from Quantum Computing, and from Rhodes, Marshall, and Fulbright Scholars.

     Sweet greetings from Showalter Fountain, Soul Revue,
          Singing Hoosiers and Sample Gates.

Greetings in every world language from the world's best Title Six centers and national language resource centers;
     and from Uralic and Altaic studies.

Soaring and far-sighted greetings from Voice, Violins, Violas, and Vision science.

Greetings from the Wells Scholars, the Wells Library,
     and Herman B himself.

Greetings from extraordinary arts and cutting-edge science.

Exuberant greetings from the legacy of Jerry Yeagley and world-class soccer.

And change-the-world greetings from Zoology,
     the home of Alfred Kinsey's gall wasp research
     and much, much more.

From A to Z, from students and alumni from every inhabited continent and every single county in the state of Indiana;

From my alma mater:

Greetings from big, bold, brilliant, bounteous, and beautiful IU Bloomington.

A professor had huge impact

Natalie Oliphant McKamey, Emeriti House coordinator

When I first started as a freshman at IU in the fall of 1973, I naively asked my mother, a 1951 IU alumna, "How will I know when it's time to graduate?" She, without hesitation, said, "When you have had a professor who can read your mind, and when you've been to the Lilly Library." That satisfied me.

Well, life somehow got in the way, and I left school. I came back as a staff member (and single mom) in 1989. I didn't know how long I would be at IU, so I thought it a good idea to continue my education, and the fee courtesy made that possible. Having taken a social work class with my mother's IU football hero, George Taliaferro, a psychiatric social worker, I was inspired by him to change from a French major to psychology. That's where I met professor Jerome "Jerry" Chertkoff. It was in the second course I took with him when I discovered he could read my mind. Getting the statistics/lab terminology -- and communicating such -- was a bit of a challenge. When I struggled to express myself, Chertkoff knew my exact thoughts and took the words right out of my mouth! My mother was right -- he could read my mind!

In my last semester before graduating in May 1999, Chertkoff allowed me to research and write a paper for him identifying factors determining success or failure with regard to ingress/egress in emergency situations at sea (the case of The Republic). As a single mom working full time, taking a three-credit course, and this one-credit writing assignment needed to graduate, I delved into this project, grateful for the opportunity to work one-on-one with Chertkoff. I was delighted to find a single holding in the Lilly Library with just one paragraph on The Republic! Of course, I had to use the reference. Again, my mother was right. I had cause to research in the Lilly Library.

I have had the great pleasure of working with Jerry at the Emeriti House, my last position at IU as Emeriti House coordinator before my anticipated retirement. Jerry has been invaluable in every aspect of the growth and success of Emeriti House. I have relied on his good judgment and enjoyed working with him as well as being his student. So, my message to my friend and mentor, Chertkoff, is this: Thank you for the critical thinking skills you taught me; the opportunity to write for you, which allowed me to receive my bachelor of arts degree; and for being the professor my mother spoke of. I garnered all of my "requirements" for graduating because of you, and I am forever grateful. Happy Valentine's Day, Jerry! With love and admiration.

Do you have your own love note to the Bloomington campus? Tweet them to us at @InsideIU.