Three University of Indianapolis presidents addressed a group of students, faculty and alumni at this year’s Founder’s Day celebration on Oct. 3.
Along with the annual celebration, the event also marked the official opening of the remodeled Krannert Memorial Library. The library, which had not been renovated since its opening in 1977, has been open for student-use since the first week of classes, but was rededicated at the event.
Before the homecoming football game President Robert Manuel began the event by welcoming the crowd. His opening remarks stressed the importance of the library as the heart of the campus. According to Manuel, the new library focuses as much on collaborative work as it does on access to academic information. He also highlighted some of the other new features of the remodeled library such as the Perk III and Sub Hub, computer labs and collaborative spaces.
For the Founder’s Day portion of the event, Special Assistant to the President for Mission Michael Cartwright followed the history of the library, starting as a small corner on the ground floor of Good Hall to the building in use today. He called attention to the three large windows of the recently remodeled building and encouraged the crowd to look at them as representation of the past, present and future of the library and, by extension, of the university as a whole.
Former UIndy President Gene Sease revisited his personal experience of having the library built in the late 70’s. He engaged in a fundraising campaign of which $3.5 million came from the Krannert family.
He also echoed Manuel’s comments on the updated nature of the library as a gathering place.
Former UIndy President Beverley Pitts spoke about another new aspect of the library. For several years, she and a group of other individuals have been working on the Mayoral Archives. The Mayoral Archives contains documents and artifacts from all of the living mayors and former mayors of Indianapolis. One of these artifacts is William Hudnut’s desk, and many records from Greg Ballard’s tenure will be included soon after he leaves office in January.
The last speaker of the night was Director of the Krannert Memorial Library Matthew Shaw. Shaw focused on how students use of the library already increased.
He said that it has a modern space that can serve the needs of the university much better and that students have been using it regularly.
Senior mathematics and philosophy major Joe Krall said that the speakers’ anecdotes were his favorite part of the event.
“I love the fact that people brought stories into the ceremony,” Krall said. “You could really tell that the library is the intersection of so many narratives. All of them [the speakers] brought their perspectives. It was really wonderful to see the library become a treasury of knowledge.”
Assistant Professor of English Karen Newman said she was very happy to see the library update to a more modern form, despite her love of physical books.
“I think that the way that people interact with libraries are going through a lot of changes,” Newman said. “Our old library just wasn’t keeping pace with the changes. As someone who loves books, I never thought I’d be happy to see the day when libraries actually divested themselves of hard copies of books.”