On This Day in IUPUI History: June 23, 1988

June 23, 1988. 

On this day, Indiana University president Thomas Ehrlich announced at a press conference on the IUPUI campus that the Lilly Endowment, Inc., had committed $12 million to the construction of a new University Library building on the IUPUI campus. The total cost of the new structure would be $32 million, of which another $8 million would come from additional private gifts. "With the building of a new library," he said, "the single most important need of this campus is finally being met." 

IUPUI chancellor Gerald L. Bepko also spoke at the presser to say that the new library was "the most important project in the history of IUPUI." The proposed RED BRICK building would hold the collections then in the Blake Street Library and the library on IUPUI's 38th Street Campus, which held collections supporting the Schools of Science and Engineering and Technology. Beyond those volumes, the new building would have significant room for growth.  

The new University Library proposal was the cornerstone of Bepko and Dean of the Faculties William M. Plater's vision laid out in their IUPUI Development Plan: 1988-2000, which they released earlier in 1988. In it, they outlined the need for enhanced library resources to support strengthened academic programs across the campus. The current library holdings were woefully inadequate for what Bepko and Plater envisioned.

University officials announced at the press conference that the existing Blake Street Library would be a student center. In time, it became the home of University College and is now called Taylor Hall.

The University Library opened in the summer of 1993 and was dedicated in 1994. As it turned out, it was not walled in red brick.

Proposed red brick UL in Sagamore July 1988

To find out how university officials changed their minds and didn't construct University Library in red brick, consult records in IUPUI Special Collections and Archives. Email staff at speccoll@iupui.edu

Updated Jun 23, 2019 by Editor Name Missing