Indiana University Bloomington

Herman B Wells


  1. Herman B Wells (1902-2000)
  2. IU facilities and programs named for him. e.g., Wells Library, Wells Scholars Program, Wells Center for Pediatric Research, etc.
  3. a lucky being


Through the interactive alchemy of genetic inheritance and the action of the environment, Wells was shaped through his childhood in Boone County and his adolescence in Lebanon, Indiana into an eager college student in the 1920s. As an Indiana University undergraduate he was involved in a myriad of activities and learned the pleasures and rewards of serving others. He parlayed his expertise in banking and institutional economics into a series of increasingly important positions in Indiana state government in the midst of the great national depression. His devotion to IU was evident as a junior faculty member in the 1930s, concurrent with his state service. Following his stellar career in the state government, he was selected as Dean of the School of Business Administration at Indiana in 1935. Two years later Wells started a 25-year tenure as President of Indiana University, guiding the university through World War II and the period of tremendous growth that followed. His winning charm and effective leadership were widely noted, on campus and in national and international educational circles, as he became a spokesman for the vast promise of the American university. Stepping down as president in 1962, at 60 years of age, he was appointed to a new rank, University Chancellor, which allowed him latitude to serve IU as its chief fundraiser, administrative mentor, and beloved icon for 38 years, until his death in 2000.