August 11, 1970
On this day, a committee of medical students in the IU School of Medicine established a fund called the Louis B. Russell Scholarship Fund. The purpose of the scholarship fund was to recruit more African-American students to study in the medical school. The scholarship was named in honor of Louis B. Russell, Jr., an Indianapolis school teacher, who at the time was the world's longest surviving recipient of a transplanted heart.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, amid widespread student activism focused on United States involvement in the then-raging Vietnam War, many students also sought to address social-justice, civil-rights, and other pressing ills. Medical students in the IUSM rallied for a larger, louder voice in school affairs. Among other issues, they pressed for increased minority enrollments in the School of Medicine.
School administrators responded in 1970 by establishing an Office for Minority Student Affairs. According to a 1974 report, "its purpose is to identify, motivate, recruit, and assist in the admission and retention process of minority group students...in the Indiana University Medical Center." The report noted that the office was also tasked with "community involvement" to communicate the school's goals to recruit more minority students and produce more minority graduates.
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