From the Desk: Director marks official end of IU Bicentennial, turns attention to IU's 3rd century

It is July 2020, which means that this column was supposed to be a thank-you note marking the formal end of IU's Bicentennial Year and our four-year bicentennial programming era.

Kelly KishView print quality image
Kelly Kish. Photo by Chaz Mottinger, Indiana University

We had planned and hoped for what would have been a fever pitch of programming on all IU campuses and in counties around the state between the middle of March and early June -- including the innovative Beyond Boundaries: Indiana Academies Symposium, which we still hope to convene in April 2021; and the Bicentennial Alumni Reunion and Celebration, which we will, unfortunately, not be rescheduling.

Clearly, those events and about 200 others had to be canceled. We will continue to update our website at 200.iu.edu with news of cancellations, postponements, and rescheduled events and activities.

While a few more commemorative bicentennial activities will be wrapping up through the end of the 2020 calendar year, it is time to mark the official end of the IU Bicentennial and turn our collective attention to Indiana University's third century.

And it is always the right time to thank the hundreds of committee members, students, volunteers, instructors, designers, editors, event planners and many others across all IU campuses, and throughout our alumni communities around the world, who helped make the IU Bicentennial a successful commemorative program.

This was a team effort from every corner of the IU community but led by the three dedicated staff members to the bicentennial: project manager Jeremy Hackerd, assistant project manager Angel Nathan and office manager and Bicentennial Magazine editor Sarah Jacobi; and our three expert consultants "on loan" to the IU Bicentennial from their normal IU responsibilities: professor and University Historian James Capshew, bicentennial archivist Kristin Leaman and bicentennial events manager Lynn Waugh. We have had the privilege of many exceptional graduate and undergraduate students who have worked with the program for the last four years as well, and we all thank them for their collective efforts.

We will develop program assessment and final reports this fall and will share them with you. We welcome your input. Please feel free to send us any thoughts at iu200@iu.edu on the last four years of bicentennial activities. We will solicit input more formally through our website and social media, via email and so on in the coming months.

When IU President Michael A. McRobbie charged our first bicentennial planning retreat with the goal of making 2020 "the most unforgettable year in IU history," I don't think even he could have imagined what 2020 had in store for us. Thank you for your support of the IU Bicentennial and for your ongoing efforts to ensure that IU's third century improves on our past two centuries in meaningful ways.

Kelly Kish is director of the Office of the Bicentennial and deputy chief of staff for IU President Michael A. McRobbie.