1987-2002: Remodeling the Idea

Leadership: Daniel Cohen, Chancellor (1987-1995); Lester Lamon, Interim Chancellor (1995-1997); Kenneth Perrin, Chancellor (1997-2002)


Activist and writer Gloria Steinem (at center) visits IU South Bend campus in 2003.

By the early 1990s, IU South Bend achieved the image of a traditional campus. The library was completed, and it formed the anchor to a central landscaped pedestrian mall. People in spirit wear sat under trees and watched the many squirrels. Student-athletes were recruited from area schools to play intercollegiate sports (starting with men’s and women’s basketball). Extracurricular groups formed to accommodate nearly every interest, from the Accounting Club to the Women’s Student Union.


In addition to Gloria Steinem in 2003, other prominent visitors who came to IU South Bend campus to discuss issues facing the nation and the world included Cornel West in 1997 (top) and Ralph Nader in 2001.

The period was not without controversy, however. The 1990 national economic recession led to funding battles between the university administration and the state legislature. The firing of IU Men’s Basketball coach Bobby Knight in 2000 made people overlook the accomplishments of others in the university. Locally, Daniel Cohen was ousted in 1995 as chancellor of IU South Bend amid allegations of sexual harassment. Although he remained as a tenured faculty member, Cohen was dismissed from the university entirely in 2001.


Delivery of information has changed formats frequently over the past 200 years, but students at IU have always had access to the most cutting-edge technology. From lantern slides in the 1920s, to personal video playback in 1987 (top) and personal computers, to access to the nation’s fastest university-owned supercomputer in 2020.

Student and faculty protests did not cease after the Vietnam War. The HIV/AIDS crisis, “War on Drugs,” and international democracy movements were echoed by social activism on campus. Feminist author Gloria Steinem and consumer advocate Ralph Nader spoke to large crowds. Social critic Cornel West was part of the Conversations on Race project in 1997. The campus was engaged with issues faced by the larger community of which it is part.

1987-2002: Remodeling the Idea