Indiana University was founded in 1820. The largest of its eight campuses is located in Bloomington, a city of 65,000 inhabitants approximately 50 miles southwest of the state capital of Indianapolis. The total student enrollment on the Bloomington campus in August 2009 was 42,347; of this number, 9,857 were students in the graduate and professional schools.
- IU was the first Big Ten university to grant degrees, graduating the first class in 1830.
- Indiana University Bloomington was named "College Of The Year Among Research Universities" by Time magazine in 2001.
- The campus features a major research library with more than 6 million volumes and 13 million other print and media items; 15 departmental libraries; 13 residence hall library centers; and the renowned Lilly Library collection of rare books and manuscripts.
- In 2000, Yahoo! ® Internet Life magazine ranked the IU Bloomington campus 4th among the 100 Most Wired Colleges. This honor was extended into modern day computing by Intel® Corporation, which in its 2005 “Most Unwired College Campuses" survey for wireless computing access ranked IU Bloomington as number one in the United States.
- The Musical Arts Center, the university's opera house, is ranked second nationally in acoustics and facilities, behind only the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.
- The IU Art Museum contains works by Claude Monet and Jackson Pollack as well as artifacts from Asia and Africa. It is ranked as one of the top five university art museums along with Stanford, Harvard, Princeton, and Yale.
- In 2004 Healthcare Traveler Magazine wrote, "nestled amongst the rolling hills of southern Indiana, Bloomington basks in the warmth of a community that takes pride in its quality of life. Recently named by USA Today as one of the country's top college towns, Bloomington proves that a small city with a big heart can have it all."
- Forbes.com ranked Bloomington 11th in the nation among the best small cities in which to do business in 2004. Forbes rates the cities in nine categories: advanced degrees; cost of doing business; cost of living; crime rate; culture and leisure; educational attainment; income growth; job growth and net migration.
- Men's Journal rated Bloomington number five on its list of The 50 Best (Healthiest, Safest, Sexiest) Places to Live in 2003. Bloomington was the top Midwestern city mentioned and also received the honor of being the Editor's Choice: ". . . the mix of youthful idealism, Hoosier unpretentiousness, and world-class sports and culture makes this a place where your opportunities are limited only by your time and interests - a place you can call home without giving up your soul."
- Bicycling Magazine ranked the Bloomington area as the seventh-best place in the country for cycling, while in 2000 The National Geographic Society’s Adventure Magazine ranked bicycling in Monroe and Lawrence counties as one of the 100 best adventures in the United States.
- The League of American Bicyclists named Bloomington one of only 13 bicycle-friendly communities in the nation in 2003. The communities were recognized for a "longstanding commitment to providing safe accommodation and facilities for bicyclists and for encouraging bicycle travel for both transportation and recreation."
- The 50 Healthiest Places to Live and Retire in the United States, a book by Norman D. Ford, ranked Bloomington 12th in the country. Ford cited Bloomington's low level of urban stress and ample sources of culture and social awareness. The area also is dedicated to fitness, nutrition and has lower than average costs of living and housing. The book describes Bloomington as a bike-friendly city with a highly articulate population located close to numerous state and federal recreation areas.
- In 2001, Travel & Leisure Magazine told its readers to " . . . look no further than Bloomington, Indiana. Its cobblestoned streets, limestone buildings and old-fashioned porches create a laid-back setting, while the outdoor markets and frequent concerts and lectures keep energy at a steady high….Bloomington has the soul of a big city but the heart of a small town . . . the cultural pulse of the Midwest."