Indiana State University

Indiana State University

Indiana State University, main campus at Terre Haute; coeducational; est. 1865 as a normal school, became Indiana State Teachers College in 1929, gained university status in 1965. There is also a campus at Evansville (opened 1965).

Indiana State University (ISU) is a public university that is located in Terre Haute, Indiana, United States.


History at a glance
(Indiana) State Normal School Established 1865
Indiana State Teachers College Renamed 1929 Governance (Indiana) State Teachers College Board
Indiana State College Renamed 1960
Indiana State University Renamed 1965 Governance Indiana State University Board of Trustees

Indiana State University (ISU) was established by an Indiana statute on December 20, 1865 as the (Indiana) State Normal School. As the State Normal School, its core mission was to educate elementary and high school teachers. The school awarded its first baccalaureate degrees in 1908. Master's degrees were granted in 1928.


ISU is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Academic programs across the University are accredited by more than 30 different agencies. Additionally, the University holds institutional membership in ten major national associations. The current Carnegie classification for ISU is Doctoral/Research University-Intensive. The University offers more than 100 majors, notably education, business, criminology, nursing, music, athletic training, human resource development, and construction technology; the university's geography and clinical psychology programs are nationally recognized. ISU is consistently ranked by The Princeton Review as one of the 'Best of the Midwest.' The College of Education's Graduate Program was recently named as a 'Top 100' by U.S. News & World Report.


The Indiana State University main campus is located on the north side of Terre Haute’s downtown business district and covers more than in the heart of the city. More than 60 brick and limestone buildings, laboratories and plazas comprise the main campus. Starting in the 1960s and continuing through the 1990s, ISU lost many of its historic buildings, but efforts to beautify the campus continue: a section of Seventh Street that runs by the university has been converted into a boulevard with flower beds and antique lightposts; the old power plant was razed in 2002 and replaced with a modern facility; Stalker Hall reopened in fall 2005 after a major renovation; Normal Hall, an Italian Renaissance-style building dating from ca. 1900 that originally served as the library, is being renovated; and there are plans to raze the functional but unattractive Schools of Education and Business and house them in the renovated, historic University Hall (Education) and current Terre Haute Federal Building (Business). These improvements come at a time when the city government is pushing to revitalize downtown Terre Haute by rebuilding the Terre Haute House, a historic hotel which was demolished in December 2005.

The Indiana State University field campus is an outdoor teaching, learning, and research area designed to accommodate educational programs and services. The field campus is located on a scenic 93 acre plot of land approximately east of Terre Haute near Brazil, Indiana, and includes eight man-made lakes.

Student Publications

The first student publication, the Normal School Advance appeared in November 1895. In June 1915, an annual was first published. In 1924, the yearbook was renamed The Sycamore. In 1929, the newspaper was renamed The Indiana Statesman. The yearbook was discontinued in the spring of 1993. Two years later, IQ Magazine was established (quarterly) as a means of continuing a written and photographic history of the institution and its events. In 2006, an independent monthly student newspaper called the Watchman debuted that provided "a forum for free expression of conservative ideals and philosophy.

Former regional campuses

Eastern Division

The Eastern Division was created in 1918 in the building that was donated by the Ball family that formerly housed a sequence of private normal schools in Muncie, Indiana. The Eastern division became Ball State Teachers College in 1929 when Indiana State Normal School became Indiana State Teachers College. The Indiana State Teachers College Board of Trustees governed both colleges until 1961, when Ball State was made independent as Ball State Teachers College with its own board of trustees. As the ultimate milestone in their parallel transformation from normal school system to now separate universities, in 1965 the State of Indiana renamed both Indiana State and Ball State to be universities: Indiana State University and Ball State University.


Indiana State University–Evansville was created as a branch campus in 1965. But local leaders claimed that if the campus was to thrive it would need to gain independent status. Opposition came immediately from Indiana State University along with Indiana and Purdue universities, which were concerned that granting the campus independence would set a precedence for other small branch campuses around the state. After finally gaining the support of state legislators, business leaders, and local groups, it was granted independent standing as the University of Southern Indiana in 1985.


  • William Albert Jones, 1869-1879
  • George Pliny Brown, 1879-1885
  • William Wood Parsons, 1885-1921
  • Linnaeus Neal Hines, 1921-1933
  • Ralph Noble Tirey, 1934-1953
  • Raleigh Warren Holmstedt, 1953-1965
  • Alan Carson Rankin, 1965-1975
  • Richard George Landini, 1975-1992
  • John William Moore, 1992-2000
  • Lloyd William Benjamin, III, 2000-2008
  • Dr. Daniel Bradley, 2008-present


Colleges and School

Indiana State University is academically organized into five colleges and one school:

  • College of Arts and Sciences
    • containing the Departments of: African and African American Studies • Art • Chemistry • Communication • Criminology • Ecology and Organismal Biology • Economics • English • Family and Consumer Sciences • Geography, Geology, and Anthropology • History • Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics • Life Sciences • Mathematics and Computer Science • Music • Philosophy • Physics • Political Science • Psychology • Social Work • Sociology • Theater
    • also containing: Center for Biodiversity Studies • Criminology Institute • Center for Economic Education • Center for Governmental Studies • Sociology Research Lab (SRL) • Center for the Study of Health, Religion, and Spirituality • Science Education Center • Center for Urban and Environmental Change
  • College of Business
    • containing the Departments: Analytical • Organizational
    • also containing: Small Business Development Center • Gongaware Center for Insurance Management • NetWorks • Center for Public Service and Community Engagement • Center for Research, Enterprise and Economic Development (CREED) • Leadership Development Institute (LDI)
  • College of Education
    • containing the Departments of: Communication Disorders • Counseling • Curriculum, Instruction, and Media Technology • Educational Leadership, Administration, and Foundations • Educational and School Psychology • Elementary, Early, and Special Education
    • also containing: Professional Development Schools (PDS) • Blumberg Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Special Education • Indiana Special Education Administrators' Services (ISEAS) • North Central Association (NCA) • Upward Bound Program • Project PRE (Partnering to Reform Education)
  • School of Graduate Studies
  • College of Nursing, Health, and Human Services
    • containing the Departments of: Baccalaureate and Higher Degree Nursing • Athletic Training • Health and Safety • Physical Education • Recreation and Sport Management as well as The Landsbaum Center for Health Education • Richard G. Lugar Center for Rural Health • West Central Indiana Area Health Education Center (AHEC) (This College was created July 1, 2007, incorporating the former College of Nursing and the College of Health and Human Performance. The first Dean of the College is Dr. Richard Williams ).
  • College of Technology
    • containing the Departments of: Aerospace Technology • Electronics and Computer Technology • Industrial and Mechanical Engineering Technology • Industrial Technology Education • Manufacturing and Construction Technology
    • also containing: Indiana Packaging Research and Development Center • Technology Services Center • Workforce Development


  • Undergraduate baccalaureate degrees: Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.), Bachelor of Music (B.M.), Bachelor of Music Education (B.M.E), Bachelor of Science (B.S.), Bachelor of Social Work (B.S.W.),
  • Graduate degrees: Master of Arts (M.A.), Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.), Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.), Master of Science (M.S.), Master of Education (M.E.), Master of Music (M.M.), Doctor of Education (Ed.D.), Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.)


Indiana State University as a whole has been accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools continuously since 1915.

Notable Indiana State Initiatives

Laptop Initiative

Starting in fall 2007, Indiana State University will become the first public university in Indiana to require all incoming freshmen to have a laptop. In 2010, all undergraduate students will be required to own a laptop computer. The Lenovo ThinkPad was selected in 2006 as the preferred laptop for students and faculty as the university moves toward becoming a laptop institution.

Notable Indiana State Faculty

  • John Wooden, Basketball Coach, UCLA, Indiana State, South Bend Central
  • Benjamin Moulton, (Retired) Geography and Geology
  • Howard McMillen, (Retired) Creative Writing; author of The Ice Pick
  • Gale Christianson, (Emeriti) History; Europe, science, biography. author of The Last Posse: A Jailbreak, a Manhunt End of Hang-'Em High Justice Greenhouse: The 200-Year Story of Global Warming Isaac Newton and the Scientific Revolution Edwin Hubble: Mariner of the Nebulae Writing Lives is the Devil! Essays of a Biographer at Work Fox at the Wood's Edge: A Biography of Loren Eiseley In the Presence of the Creator: Isaac Newton and His Times This Wild Abyss: The Story of the Men Who Made Modern Astronomy (1978)

School Seal

The Seal of Indiana State University depicts a book with a torch. The book symbolizes knowledge and truth gained here and the torch symbolizes the light of inspiration that comes to students in these halls. It was approved as the seal in 1929.


In 1899, it was announced that Yale Blue and White would replace the colors of Salmon Pink and White. The colors are also applied to the Blue and White Parade and the Blue and White Dance held during Homecoming each fall.


Donaghy Day

Named after Fred Donaghy, graduate of the Normal School (1912) and a professor of life sciences, this campus tradition was initiated in 1976 as a day set aside for the community to celebrate the season and to work to help beautify the campus and surrounding community.


The term Homecoming was first used in print announcements for the Alumni-Varsity Basketball Game on December 9, 1916. By the year 1919, this event became known as Blue and White Day and featured dances and entertainment for alumni of the Normal School. In 1921 the events were organized around a football game scheduled earlier in the autumn. A bonfire and pep rally were added to the festivities in 1922; the Blue-and-White Parade in 1923; and in 1937, Bette Whitmore (Kappa Kappa) was elected ISU¹s first Homecoming Queen.

Founders Day

January 6 - Commemorates the opening of the institution in 1870 when 23 students presented themselves to a faculty of three on the first day of classes at the Indiana State Normal School.


Early on in the school's history, the athletes were referred to as the "Fighting Teachers", until the students chose the name "Sycamore Trees", from the abundance of the trees in Indiana and the Wabash River Valley. In 1969, a committee created the concept of "Chief Quabachi" of the fictional Sycamore tribe as a representative for the school. He was accompanied by the Indiana Princess. This remarkable Native American chief (and accompanying "legend") was used as a mascot until 1989. In 1995, the university welcomed Sycamore Sam, a blue and white fox-like creature, to the ISU family. Sycamore Sam can be spotted at many sporting events and around campus during orientation or other major events.


This student-organized race was first run as part of Spring Week activities in 1970. Teams are coed mixed pairs, which compete on tandem bicycles.


The Indiana State Tricycle Derby was first run in 1963 as a 10-lap race around the sidewalks of the Quadrangle on children's tricycles. The races featured a men's and women's division (the Powder Puff Derby). The races now feature men's and women's teams racing on specially built tricycles at the new Recreation East complex at Ninth and Sycamore streets. In October 2005, the Michael Simmons Student Activity Center opened at Rec East, containing bleacher seating, an all-purpose room, restrooms, an observation deck, and storage.

The Walk

The unofficial tradition during homecoming is known as "The Walk." A large number of students, typically reaching in the thousands, make the two mile (3 km) walk east on Wabash Avenue towards the Football Stadium (approximately two miles) stopping and having a drink at each bar along the way. This tradition has met with great resistance throughout the years by the university faculty, Terre Haute residents and the Terre Haute Police Department. However, every bar on Wabash opens at 7am and welcomes students, alumni, and everyone else who wants to experience "The Walk".

The Walk can be traced back to the early 1980s when students walked from Saturday night football games back to campus, stopping for a beer at every establishment that served beer, including the Pizza Hut, on Wabash and ending up at the "Ballyhoo" also referred to as "The Bally". In its original form the "Walk" was called the "Stag-a-thon" since each participant stopped in at about 13 to 15 bars before reaching the Bally for the final celebration of the night.


School Song

March On (You Fighting Sycamores), the university’s fight song, was authored and arranged by Joseph A. Gramelspacher, an ISU professor of music, as a pep song. It was first performed at a homecoming-eve pep rally on October 20, 1939.

Alma Mater

Charles M. Curry, Professor of English and Literature authored The Alma Mater. It was originally entitled, "Indiana’s Normal" and first printed in a June 1912 issue of the Normal Advance.



Hulman Center, originally named Hulman Civic-University Center (now Hulman Center), is a multi-purpose arena opened in December 1973. It seats 10,200 people for basketball and is home to the Indiana State University Sycamores men's and women's basketball teams of the Missouri Valley Conference. It has hosted multiple concerts and the Missouri Valley Conference men's basketball tournament title game in 1979, the year legendary Larry Bird helped the undefeated Sycamores reach the final game of the NCAA tournament.

The Varsity soccer and baseball fields are located within a mile of the main campus along the scenic Wabash River. Memorial Stadium, the home field for Indiana State's NCAA Football Championship Subdivision football team of the Missouri Valley Football Conference, is located on Wabash Avenue, two miles (3 km) east of the main campus. The Duane Klueh Tennis Complex, Walter E. Marks Field for track and field and the Ferne Price Field for softball are among the many athletic facilities located on campus.

Indiana State University has hosted three NCAA Division I cross country championships at the spectacular LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course at the Wabash Valley Sports Center, three miles (5 km) east of Terre Haute. The facility is ranked among the finest cross country courses in the world.



The school's athletic teams are known as the Sycamores. They participate in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Missouri Valley Football Conference for football only and the Division I Missouri Valley Conference in all other sports. Athletically, it is best known as the alma mater of basketball legend Larry Bird; World Champion gymnast Kurt Thomas; and World and Olympic Champion wrestler, Bruce Baumgartner. The legendary basketball coach John Wooden coached the Sycamores before accepting the Head Coaching position at UCLA. The Men's Basketball team finished as the NAIB National Champions in 1950 and as National Runner-Up in 1946 and 1948. They were also the NCAA College Division (Div II) National Runner-Up in 1968 and the Division I National Runner-Up in 1979. The 1950 team comprised the core of the 1950 Pan-American Gold Medal Team. Kurt Thomas led the Men's Gymnastics Team to the 1977 NCAA National Championship.

Notable Indiana State alumni

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