"From the beginning I fell in love with Indiana University," wrote Herman B Wells of his time as an undergraduate. "It was a simple place in those days, with not yet three thousand students, but it had great charm and appeal for me." The much loved and lauded Herman B Wells dedicated his life to service at Indiana University, serving as its president for 25 years and as its university chancellor for another 37 years.
Herman B Wells was born in Jamestown, Indiana, in 1902, the son of a banker and a former teacher. The family moved to Lebanon, Indiana, where Wells graduated from high school and worked for his father’s bank. After attending the University of Illinois, he transferred to Indiana University in 1922.
In 1924 Wells earned a bachelor of science degree in business administration from IU, followed by a master of arts degree in economics in 1927. In 1930 Wells accepted his first position at IU?an associate instructorship in economics; in 1933 he was promoted to assistant professor. While he was teaching, he worked with professional associations and governmental agencies to supervise and strengthen the state’s banks and improve laws governing Indiana’s financial institutions.
In 1935, Wells accepted the job of dean of the IU School of Business. In 1937 he was offered the position of acting president of the university, succeeding the retiring William Lowe Bryan. After a year he agreed to become IU’s 12th president; the institution was 112 years old, and Wells was thirty-six.
During his presidency, which ended in 1962, IU grew in many ways: student enrollment increased from 11,000 to 31,000; the faculty grew in number, scope, and breadth; new degree programs were created; and many of the campus’s major buildings were constructed, including 1941’s IU Auditorium and Theatre Building. The campus gained international recognition for its scholarship, research, and libraries. The driving force behind this transformation was Herman B Wells.
During his career at Indiana University, Wells received numerous awards, honorary degrees, and national and international recognition. After his retirement from the presidency, he became university chancellor and continued his vital, tireless work for the university. He was still working in that capacity when he died in Bloomington in 2000 at the age of 97.
Among his many accomplishments, Herman B Wells established an outstanding arts presence at Indiana University. In addition to his official contribution to arts curricula and programming, he was a faithful audience member and patron of theatre, music, dance, and fine arts events. The Wells-Metz Theatre is a fitting memorial to the life, work, and spirit of Chancellor Wells.
Dr. Arthur R. Metz was born near South Whitley, Indiana, in 1887, and came to IU in 1905. He later graduated from Rush Medical College and served as a captain in the Armed Forces during World War I. He subsequently became one of Chicago’s foremost physicians and surgeons. Dr. Metz was personal physician to Philip Wrigley, chairman of the Wrigley Company. He was also doctor, through Wrigley, to the Chicago Cubs and chief surgeon to several railroad companies.
For recreation, he enjoyed yacht racing, deep-sea fishing, and big-game hunting in North Africa.
He was a passionate believer in education and taught at several medical schools. He was a founding member of the Certified American Board of Surgery and belonged to numerous medical associations. Active in X-ray research and practice, Metz was, in 1924, a developer of the "barium meal," which was universally adopted as a means by which the gastrointestinal tract could be X-rayed.
He was a frequent visitor to Bloomington and funded the construction of a special apartment in the IMU for distinguished visitors. In 1953, Indiana University awarded him the Distinguished Alumni Service Award. In 1955 he funded the Metz Undergraduate Scholarships for an outstanding senior man and woman student. He served on the IU Foundation’s Board of Directors from 1960 until his death in 1963.
In 1965 his estate enabled the Metz Scholarships to expand. Founded in 1948, the Arthur Metz Foundation later funded the construction, in 1971, of the Arthur R. Metz Carillon, a familiar landmark on the IUB campus.
In recognition of the physician’s friendship with Herman B Wells, the Arthur Metz Foundation, under its president Bert Getz, generously funded a major portion of the cost of the Wells-Metz Theatre. The new theatre memorializes two of the university’s most energetic and spirited alumni, Herman B Wells and Arthur R. Metz.