Presidents of Indiana University


Andrew Wylie (1829-1851)

On October 19, 1829, the Reverend Andrew Wylie was inaugurated as the first president of Indiana College. Wylie was the third member of the faculty and taught classes in moral and mental philosophy and literature. He guided the school through an important time of transition as the state legislature rechartered the college as Indiana University in 1838. Wylie died in office from an injury sustained while chopping wood.


Alfred Ryors (1852-1853)

Alfred Ryors was appointed the second president of Indiana University on June 3, 1852. He had been a mathematics professor at IU from 1843 through 1848, but left Indiana to assume the presidency of Ohio University in 1848, a position he held for four years. Ryors resigned his IU presidency in 1853 to become president of Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, a position he held until his death in 1858.


William Mitchel Daily (1853-1859)

After serving one and a half days as a Trustee of Indiana University, the Reverend William Daily was elected IU's third president on August 2, 1853. He resigned under pressure on January 26, 1859.


John Hiram Lathrop (1859-1860)

After serving as the first president of the University of Missouri and the first chancellor of the University of Wisconsin, John Lathrop was named as Indiana University's fourth president in 1859. He held the post for one year before accepting a professorship at the University of Missouri, stating he preferred faculty life to that of an administrator. In 1865 he was again made president of the University of Missouri and died in office in 1866.


Cyrus Nutt (1860-1875)

Cyrus Nutt was elected to be Indiana University's fifth president in 1860 and was installed on June 27, 1861. IU became coeducational during Nutt's administration, admitting its first female student in 1867. Nutt led the university for 15 years before resigning in 1875. He died a few weeks after his resignation.


Lemuel Moss (1875-1884)

In September 1875, the Reverend Lemuel Moss, a Baptist minister, came to Indiana University as its sixth president. During his administration the curriculum was expanded and there was an attempt to reduce faculty teaching loads and increase professorial salaries. He resigned in November 1884 to become a lecturer on Christian sociology at Bucknell University. He died in New York on July 12, 1904.


David Starr Jordan (1885-1891)

On January 1, 1885, 34-year-old David Starr Jordan was inaugurated as the seventh president of Indiana University. Jordan was an outstanding scientist and the first layman to be named president of IU. He oversaw the university's move to the new campus at Dunn's Woods in 1885, secured money for new buildings from the legislature, introduced the major department system, lectured on the value of the university to the state of Indiana, and increased IU's enrollment and its number of faculty members. Jordan resigned in 1891 to become president of Stanford University, a post he held until 1913. He died on September 19, 1931.


John Merle Coulter (1891-1893)

John Merle Coulter accepted the position of president and professor of botany at Indiana University in 1891. Perhaps the heaviest responsibility during his administration was replacing the faculty members that followed past- president David Starr Jordan to Stanford University. Coulter was also instrumental in continuing IU's extension work, sending lecturers to the larger cities in the state. In 1893, Coulter resigned to accept the presidency of Lake Forest University, a position he held until 1896 when he accepted the appointment of professor and head of the botany department at the University of Chicago. He died December 23, 1928.


Joseph Swain (1893-1902)

Joseph Swain was IU's first Indiana-born president. A native of Pendleton, Indiana, he attended IU as an undergraduate and graduate student, and began his teaching career in IU's departments of mathematics and biology. He left his professorship at IU in 1891 to follow departing IU president David Starr Jordan to Stanford University. He then accepted the invitation to return to IU as president in 1893, a position he held for nine years. Swain was a member of the Quaker Church, and though successful at IU, he ultimately accepted the invitation to become president of Swarthmore College in 1902. He retired from Swarthmore in 1921 as president emeritus and died six years later.


William Lowe Bryan (1902-1937)

William Lowe Bryan, Indiana University's tenth president, was born on a farm near Bloomington, Indiana. After graduating from IU with degrees in ancient classics and philosophy, his interests shifted toward psychology and Bryan went on to earn his Ph.D. in psychology from Clark University in 1892. That same year Bryan helped organize the American Psychological Association and became one of its charter members. He returned to IU in 1893 to accept a professorship in the psychology department and the appointment to vice president of the university. He succeeded Joseph Swain as president in 1902 and led the institution for 35 years until 1937, at which time he retired as president emeritus at the age of 76. Bryan presided over the transformation of IU from a small, traditional liberal arts college into a modern research university. His most notable accomplishment was the expansion of graduate and professional training. During his administration, schools of medicine, education, nursing, business, music, and dentistry were established. He died in Bloomington in 1955.


Herman B Wells (1938-1962)

In 1938, Herman B Wells was named Indiana University's eleventh president, and at the age of 35, was the country's youngest state university president. He served as president for a quarter century and remained a vital contributor as IU chancellor for another 37 years. His association with the institution spanned eight decades, dating from when he was a student to his death. Wells was an educational visionary who helped transform IU into an internationally recognized center of research and scholarship. Under the Wells presidency, IU experienced its greatest growth and widened its scope to encompass the globe. To many people, Wells was an icon for Indiana University.


Elvis Jacob Stahr Jr. (1962-1968)

Elvis J. Stahr Jr. became Indiana University's twelfth president in 1962 after serving as the secretary of the Army during the first two years of the Kennedy administration. Stahr's presidency saw the Gary and Calumet campuses combined to form IU Northwest, the joint IU-Purdue University campus established in Fort Wayne, the founding of the School of Library and Information Science, and the affiliation of the Herron School of Art in Indianapolis with IU. Stahr resigned from IU in 1968 to accept the presidency of the National Audubon Society, a position he held until 1981. Between 1981 and his death in 1998, Stahr practiced law in Washington, D.C., and lobbied for environmental issues.


Joseph Lee Sutton (1968-1971)

Joseph Lee Sutton was an academic presence on the Indiana University Bloomington campus for 13 years before being named president in 1968. His tenure saw the dedication of the IU Main Library in 1970. Sutton resigned his position as president in 1971 but continued his work as a professor of political science at IU. He died on April 29, 1972, at the age of 48, as a result of injuries sustained in an automobile accident.


John William Ryan (1971-1987)

John William Ryan became Indiana University's fourteenth president on January 26, 1971. His 16 years of service to the university saw the establishment of IU campuses in New Albany and Richmond, the formation of various cultural centers on the Bloomington campus, and the journalism school became a system-wide entity. Ryan retired in 1987 and was immediately appointed president emeritus of Indiana University. He remained an active figure within the university, both as a professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs and as a member of several boards and committees until his death in 2011.


Thomas Ehrlich (1987-1994)

Thomas Ehrlich served seven years as the president of Indiana University after posts in government and the Ivy League. Though his academic background was in private institutions, he chose to lead a public university because of the responsibilities and challenges of providing both broad access and quality education. On retiring from IU, Ehrlich joined California State University as Distinguished University Scholar and held that position until 2000 when he became a senior scholar at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. He resides in Palo Alto, California.


Myles Brand (1994-2002)

Myles Brand became Indiana University's sixteenth president on August 1, 1994. He presided over a period of remarkable growth at IU, including record student enrollments and national leadership in information technology and the life sciences, while maintaining the university's traditional strengths in the arts and humanities. TIME Magazine named IU Bloomington "College of the Year" among research universities in September 2001, based on the quality of its programs to help incoming students adjust to college life. Under Brand's leadership, research grants and contracts more than doubled, and IU received the largest single private gift in its history, a $105 million grant from the Lilly Endowment to fund the Indiana Genomics Initiative. In 2001, IU was the leading public university in private-sector support. Dr. Brand served as president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.



Adam W. Herbert (2003-2007)

In his inaugural address, IUís 17th president noted that ďthe opportunity before us is to shape and lay the stones that will serve as the foundation for expansions and additions, new spires and buttresses of this magnificent cathedral of learning.Ē He did so by overseeing transformative initiatives in teaching, research, and public engagement. Under his direction, the faculty instituted a general education curriculum, and brought more than $1.7 billion to Indiana in research grants and contracts. He oversaw the development of the Indiana Life Sciences Initiative, designed to establish IU as one of the nationís leading centers of life sciences research and Indiana as a leader in the life sciences industry. He helped each of IUís eight campuses become more market smart and mission centered by launching the Mission Differentiation initiative and enhanced IUís relationships with Indianaís community colleges. He undertook the universityís first major administrative restructuring in 30 years, expanded IUís physical infrastructure through the construction or renovation of more than 3,000,000 square feet of university facilities, and significantly strengthened the universityís athletic programs. Throughout his presidency, Adam Herbert placed special emphasis on fund raising, particularly in the area of student financial aid. He also enthusiastically promoted diversity in IUís faculty staff, and student body, challenging each IU campus to develop concrete diversity goals.


Michael A. McRobbie (2007-present)

Michael McRobbie became Indiana Universityís 18th president on July 1, 2007. As a senior administrator at IU for the past decade, McRobbie has focused his attention on increasing external funding for IU programs with the goal of doubling such funding by 2010. He has been instrumental in securing multimillion dollar grants for life sciences initiatives such as the Indiana Metabolomics and Cytomics Initiative (METACyt) and the Indiana Genomics Initiative at IU (INGEN), as well as for the popular New Frontiers in the Arts and Humanities programs, which supports the creation of major new works of art in a variety of genres.

Source: History of IU Presidents, Indiana University Office of the President