President McRobbie, Provost Robel celebrate 75th year of IU Auditorium at gala

  • April 12, 2016


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- IU President Michael A. McRobbie and Provost Lauren Robel served as hosts of the IU Auditorium 75th Anniversary Gala on April 9.

The event celebrated the role IU Auditorium has played for both Indiana University and the surrounding community over the past 75 years. Festivities included dinner, music by surprise guest Chris Botti, and remarks by the president, provost and IU Auditorium Director Doug Booher.

McRobbie spoke of IU's longstanding tradition of excellence and the auditorium's role in that tradition.

"IU's reputation for excellence in the arts and humanities is also based, in part, on its superb facilities, iconic buildings like the IU Auditorium where members of the IU community and the general public have unparalleled opportunities to engage with the arts," McRobbie said. He also referred to the IU Auditorium as "a hub of cultural vibrancy and a major part of Indiana University's glorious tradition in the arts."

Robel highlighted how important the IU Auditorium is to campus life today, particularly for students and the wider Bloomington community.

"The impact of the auditorium goes far beyond bringing world-class performers and prominent public figures to Bloomington," she said. "The auditorium is a cultural hub that offers community members incredible opportunities for engagement and firsthand experiences in the arts and humanities."

The provost added that these immersive educational and professional development opportunities are invaluable to IU Bloomington students, particularly those in the performing arts.

Guests were seated on the IU Auditorium stage for a dinner prepared by Traditions by David Tallent, an IU catering company led by the nationally recognized executive chef.

The special guest performer was jazz trumpeter Chris Botti, an IU Jacobs School of Music alumnus. Since the release of his critically acclaimed album "When I Fall In Love" in 2004, Botti has become one of the largest-selling American instrumental artists. His latest release, "Impressions," won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Album in 2013.

Over the past three decades, Botti has recorded and performed with Barbra Streisand, Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Yo-Yo Ma, Michael Bublé, Sting, Paul Simon, John Mayer and Lady Gaga at some of the world’s most prestigious venues, from Carnegie Hall to the Sydney Opera House.

Botti was joined on stage by Lee Pearson on drums, Richie Goods on bass, Ben Butler on guitar, Taylor Eigsti on piano, Ben Stivers on keyboards and Sandy Cameron on violin, with vocals by Vivian Sessoms. During his visit to IU, Botti also engaged jazz students from the Jacobs School in a master class Saturday afternoon. These jazz students also were invited to attend the performance by Botti and his ensemble at the evening gala.

Event attendees received the newly published book "Indiana University Auditorium: 1941-2016," written by Kenneth L. Turchi, assistant dean of the IU Maurer School of Law. Published by IU Press, the volume is also available for sale to the public.

"It is an honor that we at the auditorium have the privilege of carrying on the legacy of excellence that IU Auditorium has stood for over the past 75 years," Booher said. “We greatly value the role the auditorium has played, and continues to play, within this community, and within the venerable institution that is Indiana University. It is with great pride that we continue to honor our past, celebrate our present and move boldly into the future."

About IU Auditorium

IU Auditorium was the vision of Herman B Wells and the first building completely planned and constructed during his tenure as IU president. A Federal Works Agency project, it was built from locally quarried Indiana limestone using a combination of state and federal funding. The auditorium was placed at what would become the center of the Bloomington campus, with the idea that it should be a crossroads for the performing arts, cultural interchange and community engagement.

Today, IU Auditorium remains a premier cultural center in the Midwest, with many great entertainers performing in its opulent 3,200-seat theater. The auditorium also houses the Dailey Family Memorial Collection of Hoosier Art, the Roosevelt Organ and the Thomas Hart Benton murals -- a series of dramatic pieces of art depicting Indiana history he painted for the 1933 Chicago World's Fair.

Michael A. McRobbie toasts the IU Auditorium at its 75th Anniversary gala.

Michael A. McRobbie toasts the IU Auditorium at its 75th Anniversary gala. | Photo by Chaz Mottinger

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Chris Botti at IU Auditorium

Chris Botti performed at the IU Auditorium gala April 9, 2016. | Photo by Chaz Mottinger

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Chris Botti at IU Auditorium

Chris Botti performed at the IU Auditorium gala. | Photo by Chaz Mottinger

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