1950s

IU's Pershing Rifles unit


IU's contributions to the war effort included accelerating degree programs for soon-to-be-drafted students, preparing a large military medical corps, and accommodating an endless stream of military trainees. IU's Pershing Rifles unit practices along the Jordan River.









trailer parks

After the war was over, G.I.'s eager to pursue long-deferred studies hit IU like a tidal wave. At Bloomington, students lived in trailer parks, in former barracks that had been trucked onto campus, and in hastily erected new dorm complexes. A dozen students even spent six cramped weeks in the IU trustees' elegant meeting room (below).



Students in trustees' meeting room


1951 A crowd of 7,000 cheers on contestants in IU's first Little 500 bicycle race, which will become the centerpiece of "the world's greatest college weekend."

1952 IU's director of housing, the unflappable Alice Nelson, puts a barrel of lingerie by her desk to hand out to would-be panty raiders.

1954 U.S. researchers develop first oral contraceptive for humans. IUB's "Green Feather" movement (named for Robin Hood) protests McCarthyism, stirring a heated campus discussion.

1956 Crest toothpaste, featuring a stannous fluoride compound patented by three IU re-searchers, hits the national market. Royalties will help build the future Oral Health Research Institute in Indianapolis.

1957 Ghana becomes this century's first new African nation. Dozens of others will follow, greatly stimulating work in African studies at IU. Wham-O introduces the Frisbee.

1960 Thomas A. Atkins '61 becomes the Big Ten's first black student body president. A new library at IUB houses Josiah Lilly's sumptuous collection of rare books and manuscripts, including a 500-year-old Gutenberg New Testament.

1961 New U.S. President John F. Kennedy starts Peace Corps; early volunteers include several IU graduates. IUB men's swimming team wins first of 20 consecutive Big Ten championships.

1962 Secretary of the Army Elvis J. Stahr Jr. becomes IU's president; Herman Wells becomes first university chancellor. James Watson '50 becomes the youngest Nobel laureate ever as he and two others are honored for discovering the structure of DNA.

1963 Martin Luther King Jr. gives "I Have a Dream" speech during March on Washington; JFK is assassinated; Betty Friedan's Feminine Mystique is published. At IU, early signs of a tumultuous decade lead trustees to designate IUB's Dunn Meadow as a campus site for open speech and debate.

1964 Closing of Studebaker-Packard at South Bend, as civic and academic leaders research ways to diversify the region's economic base. IU and Purdue establish a joint campus in Fort Wayne (IPFW)--a first for the two rival institutions.

1965 IU students express varying views of Vietnam War through teach-ins, blood drives, and mass cookie baking. General Assembly authorizes regional campuses to grant degrees; the Northwest and South Bend campuses will hold the first non-IUB commencements in 1967.

1967 Tight quarters in Jeffersonville has led IU Southeast to look for a bigger site. Citizens in New Albany pledge half a million dollars to help buy a new, spacious campus, which will open in 1973.

1968 King and Kennedy assassinations. At IUB, African American student protests targeting the Little 500 race force IU fraternities to ensure their national charters forbid discrimination. President Stahr resigns, wryly citing "presidential fatigue"; his successor is political scientist and veteran IU administrator Joseph Sutton.

1969 IU and Purdue programs in Indianapolis merge into IUPUI. Rising area enrollment stimulates formation of East Indiana Community College, Inc., which will raise $1 million toward an all-new IU campus in Richmond.