Pack the House amped up the celebration in 2020

Greyhounds filled Nicoson Hall in support of the UIndy Women’s and Men’s basketball teams as they competed against the Truman State University Bulldogs for a conference matchup on Saturday, February 15.

Women’s tip-off was at 1 p.m. and the men’s team tip-off was at 3 p.m. for a back-to-back showdown. In addition to cheering on the basketball teams, UIndy celebrated all fall athletes for their record-breaking 2019 seasons.

The fun began with a pre-game block party at 11:30 a.m. in Ruth Lilly Health & Fitness Center with tasty snacks, inflatables, life-size Jenga, face painting, and a guest appearance by UIndy’s Live Mascot, Grady.

Back this year was the chance for one lucky student to take a half-court shot for a chance at free tuition for one semester. Students could also enter to win Billie Eilish concert tickets, which were given away during the men’s basketball game.

A post-game celebration at UIndy’s neighbor, Books & Brews at 3308 Shelby St., followed, featuring live band Shift Bit Duo. 

Go Hounds!

2020 Black History Month events continue

(Anita Thomas keynote). Second annual Legacy of Excellence dinner in UIndy Hall on Thursday, February 28, 2019. The program was sponsored by the Black Student Association and Campus Program Board. (Photo: D. Todd Moore, University of Indianapolis)

The University of Indianapolis celebrates Black History Month 2020 this February, including spirit week, a poetry slam, and a formal dinner. Organized by the Black Student Association, events throughout the month are designed to increase awareness of the  achievements of African-Americans and their pivotal role in United States history.

Schedule of events:

1. Spirit Week 2/3/20-2/7/20
Monday: Rep your class (freshmen wear red, sophomores black, juniors green, seniors yellow)
Tuesday: T-Shirt Tuesday (black history shirt)
Wednesday: Dress for Success (Business Professional/Business Casual dress)
Thursday: Throwback Thursday (90’s/80’s dress)
Friday: For the Culture (cultural dress day)

2. Poetry Slam 2/11/20 Uindy Hall A 8pm-10pm: a night for anyone to express themselves through any form of poetry.

3.Movie Monday 2/17/20 Uindy Hall A 8pm-10pm: showcase a movie in remembrance of black history.

4. Black History Trivia Night 2/19/20 Uindy Hall B/C 8pm-9:30pm: trivia night with black history questions.

5. Legacy of Excellence Dinner 2/26/20 Uindy Hall A 6pm-8:30pm: an elegant dinner to celebrate the entirety of black history month as well as the students and staff at the school who identify as African American or of African decent. Many RSO’s come like Project Regalia, SOL, and more.All are welcome!

Seventh Annual Fairbanks Symposium at the University of Indianapolis explores women in civic leadership 


Fairbanks Symposium 2020 graphic

As the nation marks the centennial of women’s suffrage, the Seventh Annual Richard M. Fairbanks Symposium on Civic Leadership, hosted by the University of Indianapolis on March 6, will explore the impact of women in civic leadership both regionally and across the country.

“At the Crossroads: Women in Civic Leadership” features top female leaders from Indianapolis and also includes keynote speaker Jennifer Lawless, Commonwealth Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia and author of “It Still Takes a Candidate: Why Women Don’t Run for Office” and “Women on the Run: Gender, Media, and Political Campaigns in a Polarized Era.” The symposium is open to the public and registration is required. The $10 event fee includes a buffet lunch. Students may register at no charge and must produce a current university ID card upon entry. Register here.

Moderators for the symposium’s panel discussions include Laura Wilson, University of Indianapolis assistant professor of political science, and Anne Hathaway, President of Hathaway Strategies and Director of the Richard G. Lugar Excellence in Public Service Series. Wilson is a frequent contributor to regional and national news media on political matters. Hathaway is a 2013 Indiana Commission for Women Torchbearer Award recipient who has devoted her career to advocating for women seeking or serving in office.

The annual symposium, organized by the University of Indianapolis Institute for Civic Leadership & Mayoral Archives in partnership with Indiana Humanities, is made possible through the generous support of the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation. This year’s event brings together women from the corporate, political and nonprofit worlds to delve into achievements made and the milestones yet to be reached.

“The 100th anniversary of women winning the right to vote seems an appropriate time to take stock of the current state of women in civic leadership in Indiana and across the nation,” said Keira Amstutz, president and CEO of Indiana Humanities. “It gives us an opportunity to reflect on the courage, perseverance and organized activism it took to bring change, and we are pleased to play a role in providing an opportunity for assessment and reflection.”

“While Hoosier women have provided strong and often unacknowledged leadership in a number of sectors, the political realm is ripe with ample opportunities for improvement. Drawing on lessons from the past to inform the present and better the future, we hope the symposium will empower current and future generations of women to seek civic leadership roles,” said Edward Frantz, professor of history and symposium organizer.

The program includes morning and afternoon panel discussions and an INconversation with Jennifer Lawless. The schedule is as follows:

9:30 a.m.: Registration

10:15 a.m.: Panel Discussion: Women and Civic Leadership in Indianapolis Today
Moderator: Laura Wilson, University of Indianapolis assistant professor of political science
Panelists: Mel Raines, Indiana Pacers Senior VP of Facilities Operations, Pacers Sports & Entertainment; former Chief of Staff for Congresswoman Susan Brooks
Angela Smith Jones, Deputy Mayor Deputy Mayor of Economic Development at City of Indianapolis
Deborah Daniels, former U.S. Attorney and U.S. Assistant Attorney General, University of Indianapolis Board of Trustees member
Kathy Cabello, Cabello Associates, Indiana State University Board Trustee, Indy 500 Festival Board Director, Indiana Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commissioner and is past President of the National Association of Women Business Owners and the National Society of Hispanic MBAs – Indianapolis Chapter (now Prospanica).

11:30 a.m.: Buffet lunch (included with registration)

Noon: Keynote INconversation with Jennifer Lawless and Rima Shahid

Jennifer L. Lawless is the Commonwealth Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia. Prior to joining the UVA faculty, she was a Professor of Government at American University and the Director of the Women & Politics Institute. Before that, she was an assistant and then associate professor at Brown. She is author of “It Still Takes a Candidate: Why Women Don’t Run for Office” and “Women on the Run: Gender, Media, and Political Campaigns in a Polarized Era.”

Rima Shahid has served as the first Executive Director of Women4Change since 2017. Shahid is mandated to lead the implementation of Women4Change’s mission to equip and mobilize women to engage effectively in political and civic affairs in order to strengthen our democracy and to advocate for the leadership, health, safety and dignity of all women in Indiana. Before her service at Women4Change, she served as the Executive Director of the Muslim Alliance of Indiana for two years.

1:15 p.m.: Panel Discussion: Building a Pipeline for the Future
Moderator: Anne Hathaway, President, Hathaway Strategies; Director of Lugar Series
Panelists: Kristin Jones, Indianapolis City Council District 16
Adrianne Slash, Senior Instructional Designer, Community Health Network; Exchange for Urban League; Forefront Columnist, IBJ.
Amy Levander, Executive Director, Hoosier Women Forward


International student spotlight: Ghaida Abdelrahman ’21

The campus community celebrates International Education Month in October with a variety of performing arts, film, lectures and interactive events designed to showcase the rich benefits of intercultural exchange.

The University of Indianapolis is a ‘home away from home’ for international students from more than 55 countries, including Ghaida Abdelrahman ’21 (MA, Applied Sociology), who is a Fulbright Scholar from Palestine. 

Ghaida AbdelrahmanLearn about her path to the United States and what she found upon her arrival:

Q: How did you become a Fulbright Scholar?

A: As long as I can remember I wanted to be a Fulbrighter. In 9th grade, I applied for the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program and was the only student from my school who passed all the stages and exams to be selected. I was unable to send my official paper to finalize the procedure and since then my main goal was to be a Fulbrighter and study in the United States. I applied last year (in 2018) and the selection procedure took a whole year. It was full of stress, waiting, fear, and concern, but when I got their acceptance email on the 29th of May 2019 all those feelings turned into joy and happiness.

Q: Why did you decide to study at UIndy?

A: UIndy was one of my top choices since the very beginning. It has one of the best Applied Sociology graduate programs and staff in the United States, so it was an opportunity to learn from the best. What else would I ask for? 

Q: What’s your experience in the Applied Sociology program been like so far? 

A: I could describe my experience so far as new, great, joyful and interesting in a good way. Every day I learn new things that are expected and unexpected. Being a graduate student will open a lot of opportunities for me to be able to make a difference in my society back home as a Palestinian and as a female.

Q: What’s something you miss from home and something from the U.S. that you enjoy?

A: This may sound weird for some, but from home (besides missing my family and friends), I miss the food. My mother is the best cook ever, while I am not! I enjoy quite a lot of things in the U.S., but the most I enjoy here is freedom. I have never been that much free in moving from one place to another without being scared or jeopardized. I enjoy the feeling of doing whatever I wish, whenever I wish. It is priceless.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: I would like to continue living the dream by obtaining a Ph.D. then get back home to apply what I have learned to make my country and society better by founding a research group that cares about what social problems we are facing and focused on how we can work to solve them and enhance the lives of our communities.  

Q: What advice would you have for other people considering an international education?

A: My advice would be, try to enjoy the experience as much as you can because the amount of knowledge and experience a person could get from being an international student is limitless. Be open to what you hear and see. It will be a lot different from what you learned or are used to, but take my word, it is your chance, maybe your only chance, to grow up in mind and soul. 

Are you an international student who is interested in studying at UIndy? Click to get started.

UIndy alum Kermit Berg returns for solo retrospective at Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center Gallery

Kermit Berg

Kermit Berg in Berlin

For Kermit Berg ’73, a solo retrospective exhibition at the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center Gallery will be a true homecoming. With a reception scheduled for 3-6 p.m., Friday, Sept. 27, and the exhibition through Oct. 25, the event traces the creative evolution of a world-renowned artist who began his remarkable journey at the University of Indianapolis.

Berg, who has displayed his work at galleries in Berlin, Munich, New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago and other cities around the world, said the exhibition is an overview of his work since 2000. Curating for the event turned out to be a task which naturally prompted a certain amount of reflection.

“I’m working with the concept of fluidity within the context of a career,” Berg explained. “I’ve found it important to not produce the same five photographs (more or less) for thirty years in a row. That hasn’t made some of the exhibiting that easy in terms of building an audience that will give new work serious examination and cross bridges with me. But I’ve had the extreme good fortune of finding an enthusiastic and loyal audience.”

"Lumiere Rouge" by Kermit Berg

“Lumiere Rouge” by Kermit Berg

Along with evolving creatively throughout his career, an international perspective informs Berg’s work. While he primarily operates from his studio in San Francisco, Berg has lived all over the world—most recently in Shanghai, China, and in Berlin for many years. His life in Berlin is the subject of a documentary being filmed by Iranian-born film producer Sahand Samani.

Capturing opportunities from his surroundings in a formal, intentional way is a hallmark of Berg’s approach. His portfolio of Shanghai, for example, explores historic two- and three-story buildings from the 1900s that are in critical danger of being destroyed.

“Just being able to photograph safely at night, that was quite a new option for me,” Berg said.

Berg began experimental digital printmaking in 1985 while a guest instructor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His prints are the result of the highest technology available for fine art photography. To quote the New York critic and author Laura Gilbert, “In his sparsely populated and dramatically lit facades, métro stations, passages and interiors, Berg creates exquisite urban atmospheres.” His series featuring Tokyo, Japan, layers graphics over photographic images for a dreamlike effect. 

The dominant grouping of photographs for the retrospective will be Berg’s work from “Nuclear Family/Wohlstandstraum,” a friendship story between a German and an American during World War Two, with some of the narrative taking place in Berg’s hometown of Bremen, Indiana. Other pieces will be selections from Berg’s journey as an artist, including two pieces from his German parliament project, which he was commissioned to create for the parliament’s permanent collection.

His work, “Epilogue,” which features photographs displayed in a grid of square frames, will serve as an exhibition anchor. “Frieze,” which will be displayed in a similar format to “Epilogue,” uses 25 photographs of domestic objects from mid-20th century Germany, such as white porcelain vases, shot in monochrome.

“I’m making them look more like artifacts from Egypt in terms of the photography,” Berg said.

The opportunity to exhibit at his alma mater took Berg by surprise, but he quickly began to get inspired by the idea of exhibiting in a university setting, where his work can be used as a teaching tool. He encourages viewers to look for themes in his work.

"Eames Coffee Table" by Kermit Berg

“Eames Coffee Table” by Kermit Berg

“The great thing about it is because it’s such a nice, large space, it let me think in terms of—for the first time in a long time—looking at some of my own work,” Berg said. “Where did something from 2000 show up again in 2017? It makes perfect sense for that observation to happen in a university setting.”

Berg said his leaving the German immigrant farmland community of Bremen to attend what was then known as Indiana Central College was his “first step on a world journey of discovery.” Berg’s experience of living in an international culture in a capital city “began my progress toward understanding what inclusiveness means in everyday life and help ground me as I later lived in New York, Berlin, and recently Shanghai. And now decades later we are still learning, or failing to learn, what is demanded of us to create a just and inclusive society.”


Solo Gallery Show: 2019 “The Photography of Kermit Berg”
Reception: Friday, September 27, 3 – 6 p.m.
Exhibition: September 27 – October 25
Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center Gallery
Free admission

Public health alumna leading drug-free coalition in Beech Grove

By the time Diana Hendricks enrolled in the Community Health Education undergraduate program at the University of Indianapolis in 2013, she had already raised a son, spent many years as an office administrator, and had been a wellness consultant and personal trainer for more than two decades.

Diana Hendricks“I enjoy my profession – it’s certainly gratifying, but something was missing,” Hendricks explained. “I wanted to make a difference in the health and wellbeing of my community, but I lacked the knowledge and credentials necessary to develop and implement quality public health programs.”

When Hendricks came across UIndy’s Community Health Education program, now called Public Health Promotion and Education, she knew she had found the right fit. After transferring credits from another institution, Hendricks was able to complete her degree in two years and later pass the exam to earn the national Community Health Education Specialist (CHES) certification. And just in time, because the Beech Grove Mayor’s Faith-Based Round Table asked Hendricks to develop a community substance misuse prevention program.

Hendricks took up the challenge and now serves as the executive director of the Beech Grove Comprehensive Drug-Free Coalition (BGCDFC). In that role, Hendricks has seen the coalition grow from eight to nearly 45 members and has been invited to sit on the Healthy Southside Initiative committee, INSTEP INDY initiative, and Drug-Free Marion County’s grant planning committee.

She credits her UIndy education, and Dr. Heidi Hancher-Rauch, direcor of the UIndy public health programs, with providing her the education and skills needed to successfully launch BGCDFC.

“I’ve led the coalition to conduct a needs assessment, make recommendations for programming, implement interventions and programs, and evaluate our efforts to fine-tune what we are doing to promote a substance-free community,” Hendricks said. “Along the way, I’ve valued being able to touch base with Dr. Rauch for her insights.”

Since BGCDFC began, it has been instrumental in the implementation of prevention curriculum for Beech Grove Community Schools fourth through ninth grades, dissemination of prevention resources at community festivals and health fairs, and offers community events on youth substance misuse and overdose awareness.

“The BGCDFC motto is ‘It takes a community, to keep a community healthy…together, we make a difference,’” Hendricks said. “In addition to our substance misuse prevention efforts, we are working to remove the stigma surrounding mental illness and addiction so those who need help will seek it without feeling shamed.”

The Indianapolis Quartet Celebrates Music of Latin America in May 5 performance

The Indianapolis Quartet

The Indianapolis Quartet

INDIANAPOLIS—The University of Indianapolis’ ensemble-in-residence, The Indianapolis Quartet, will be presenting an afternoon of music in celebration of Latin America. Violinists Zachary DePue and Joana Genova, violist Michael Isaac Strauss, and cellist Austin Huntington will perform in concert with guest artist and guitarist Nemanja Ostojić on Sunday, May 5 at Fountain Square’s event space, Grove Haus. This will be an afternoon of music, drinks and food with festivities beginning at 2:30 p.m. The concert of music by Latin composers begins at 3:00 p.m. Grove Haus is located at 1001 Hosbrook Avenue in Indianapolis.

For this family-friendly event, the Quartet and guest guitarist will perform a program for various groupings of small ensemble music for string instruments and guitar, from trios through quintets. The music is a mix of classical compositions and charming arrangements of traditional music, tangos, and familiar songs like “The Girl from Ipanema.” Classical selections feature music by prominent Mexican and South American composers, as well as composers of Latin heritage, including Alberto Ginastera, Manuel Ponce, Silvestre Revueltas, Gabriela Lena Frank, and Eduardo Angulo.

Tickets for adults are $15; students with ID: $10. Free entry for children six and under. A cash bar will be available. Tickets can be purchased online at Brown Paper Tickets and at the door.

Proceeds from ticket sales will benefit a Central Indiana Latin community organization.

More information about the event is available at and by contacting Joana Genova.

About The Indianapolis Quartet

The Indianapolis Quartet (TIQ) is ensemble-in-residence at the University of Indianapolis. Now approaching the end of their third season, violinists Zach DePue and Joana Genova, violist Michael Isaac Strauss, and cellist Austin Huntington continue to reach audiences through their moving and well-defined performance style, and earn critical praise for their interpretive skill. Their performances before capacity crowds in the University of Indianapolis’ 500-seat Ruth Lilly Hall at the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center have earned the quartet accolades for their unshakeable musical rapport. TIQ’s Chicago debut was in March 2018 and is planning its New York debut for March 2020. The quartet regularly collaborates with premier chamber musicians including such artists as pianist Orli Shaham, cellist Mark Kosower, and clarinetist Todd Palmer. This spring they record works by composer Frank Felice and the coming season will see a new quartet written for them by award-winning composer Robert Paterson. This season, TIQ has been heard on stages in Cincinnati, at the Indiana Landmarks Center, Butler University, Illinois Wesleyan University, and the Tippecanoe Chamber Music Society in Lafayette, Indiana, as well as in live performances on WISH-TV 8 and the National Public Radio station, WBAA 101.3 FM. This summer they perform on the Taconic Music Festival in Vermont and live on Vermont Public Radio. The Indianapolis Quartet is grateful for support from the Christel DeHaan Family Foundation.

About Nemanja Ostojić

Serbian guitarist Nemanja Ostojić is a highly decorated performer with numerous international competition wins including top prizes at the Niccolo Paganini Competition (Parma, Italy), Sinaya Guitar Competition (Sinaya, Romania), Volos Guitar Festival (Greece), Guitar Competition Anna Amalia (Weimar, Germany), Texas Guitar Competition (Dallas, TX), Schadt String Competition (Allentown, PA), South West Guitar Festival & International Competition (San Antonio, TX), Boston Guitar Fest, and the JoAnn Falleta International Guitar Concerto Competition (Buffalo, NY). He has since performed on four continents and, as a soloist, he has performed with the Bilkent Symphony Orchestra (Ankara, Turkey), Buffalo Philharmonic, Athens (Greece) Chamber Orchestra, Belgrade Philharmonic, and the Allentown Symphony. Ostojić received his Bachelor’s Degree in music from the University of Belgrade where he studied with Professor Srdjan Tosic. Ostojić then completed a Master’s Degree, Artist Diploma, and Doctorate in Musical Arts at the Jacobs School of Music of Indiana University under the guidance of Ernesto Bitetti. He currently serves on the faculties of Franklin University and the University of Indianapolis.


Judge James Osborn speaks at PLSA Judicial Lecture Series

Judge James Osborn

Judge James Osborn

Marion County Superior Court Judge James Osborn will speak at the University of Indianapolis as a featured guest of the Pre-Law Student Association (PLSA) Judicial Lecture Series, 7 p.m., April 9, 2019, in UIndy Hall C in the Schwitzer Student Center. L/P credit is available and registration is encouraged.

Judge Osborn’s professional experiences have lent him extensive knowledge about the jury trial process. He has served on the Marion County Superior Court for over ten years. During this time, he has sat for many years on the Judicial Conference of Indiana Jury Committee and currently serves as the Judicial Supervisor of the Court’s Jury Services Department. Prior to joining the bench, Judge Osborn served as a prosecutor and public defender in Marion County as well as worked in the Indiana Office of Attorney General.  

“Jury trials are the cornerstone of the judicial system in the United States and a hallmark of self-government,” Judge Osborn said. “A jury of one’s peers is, literally, the people governing the people.  Consequently, the jury trial process plays a fundamental role in the delivery of justice and maintaining a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

The PLSA Judicial Lecture Series benefits students interested in law and government and offers the University community a venue to learn more about Indiana state government. David Root, assistant professor of political science and pre-law advisor, said hearing from judges brings the law to life for students so that they can understand the workings of the real world.

“Additionally, because judges handle so many different kinds of cases on the bench, they refer to a wide range of situations as they explain what they do. In this respect, I’m excited for students to hear some of the factual scenarios Judge Osborn has encountered as he describes his expertise of the jury trial process,” Root said.

Previous speakers in the PLSA Judicial Lecture Series include Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Loretta Rush, who provided the inaugural lecture in 2018, and Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Michael Shurn ’71. Topics included the important role that University of Indianapolis students will play in shaping Indiana’s future in the coming years, in particular those looking to enter the legal field.

National and state health leaders visit University of Indianapolis for Public Health Day event

INDIANAPOLIS—As the nation observes National Public Health Week during the first week of April, the University of Indianapolis will host the inaugural Public Health Day Expo and Celebration on Friday, April 5, 2019, featuring a public health fair and discussions with thought leaders from the public health sector.

Dr. Judith Monroe

Dr. Judith Monroe

Dr. Judith Monroe, president and CEO of the CDC Foundation, and Dr. Kristina Box, Indiana State Health Commissioner, will provide remarks and participate in question-and-answer sessions. The event will be held from 9:00 a.m. to noon in the main lobby and the R.B. Annis Theatre, Room 138, of the Health Pavilion at 1643 Hanna Ave., University of Indianapolis. The event is free of charge and registration is encouraged.

Organizing the event is Dr. Heidi Hancher-Rauch, associate professor and director of the Public Health Program. She said the theme of the discussions will focus on the collective impact of partnerships to reduce health inequities.

“One of the great things about public health, but also one of the biggest challenges is that public health specialists are working under so many different job titles and for so many different organizations. If we work in our silos as professionals, we miss out on the types of community collaborations that could help move us forward in addressing health equity and other health needs,” Hancher-Rauch said.

As leader of the CDC Foundation, Dr. Monroe works with philanthropic organizations, private entities and individuals to help CDC have greater impact protecting the health, safety and security of America and the world. Her lecture, “Improving health equity through public-private partnerships,” will explain the importance of those partnerships and how to achieve collective impact. Dr. Monroe, who served as Indiana State Health Commissioner from 2005 to 2010, will also discuss health equity and health disparities especially in Indiana and touch on the importance of workforce development.

“We must start any and all conversation around public health with the knowledge that progress does not occur in a silo or without collaboration, whether it be through conducting research, implementing education programs, recommending policies or administering public health services,” said Dr. Monroe. “Individuals, groups and organizations can have greater positive impact and can accomplish more collectively than individually.”

Another theme that speakers will explore is that health is not just an individual issue, but a community issue. Through programs such as the 500 Cities project, a first-of-its-kind health data analysis, the CDC Foundation works with the CDC and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to determine estimates for chronic disease risk factors. That type of data allows cities and health departments to understand the healthcare needs of the population.

Dr. Kristina Box

Dr. Kristina Box

Making the most out of collaborative initiatives is a key goal for Dr. Kristina Box, who has served in her role as Indiana State Health Commissioner since 2017. Her work includes building the first multi-disciplinary women’s center in the Community Health Network and developing critical partnerships with area children’s hospitals to improve care and decrease health care costs.

“Indiana faces a number of pressing health challenges, such as the opioid epidemic, infant mortality, tobacco use and obesity. No one entity can solve these problems alone, but by working together at the state, federal and local level, we can improve outcomes and achieve better physical, mental and financial health for our entire state,” said Dr. Box.

Learn more about the Public Health Day Expo and Celebration.

Robert Edsel shares story of Monuments Men in Penrod Lecture at University of Indianapolis

PRES_19_MonumentsMen_FacebookSharedImage_1200x630A small group of men and women were tasked with saving precious works of art from certain destruction in the waning months of the Second World War. By 1951, they had located and returned more than 4 million cultural objects stolen by Hitler and the Nazis. Their story had nearly been forgotten when it caught the attention of author and researcher Robert Edsel more than twenty years ago.

After the publication of four books and a Hollywood film adaptation starring George Clooney, Edsel continues to tell the story of “The Monuments Men,” and their painstaking and dangerous work to preserve thousands of years of culture. He will discuss their efforts, as well the work to document and recover lost works of art through the organization he founded in 2007, Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art, during a 7:30 p.m. lecture, Thursday, March 28, 2019, at the Ruth Lilly Performance Hall in the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center, University of Indianapolis. Admission is free of charge and registration is encouraged.

The lecture, titled, “The Monuments Men: Anthropological Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History,” describes the race against time as a special force of museum curators, art historians and architects from fourteen countries scoured Europe looking for works of art that Nazi forces had confiscated from private citizens and museums.

One of Edsel’s goals is to expand awareness of “who the Monuments men and women were and what their roles were during World War II, and the truly epic achievements they had during the most destructive conflict in history,” he explained.

From questions about who we are as Americans to the role of art and culture in defining civilization, Edsel said, “there are so many lessons in what took place 70 years ago that have an opportunity to be reminded of who we are today.”

Robert Edsel's research has resulted in four book publications and a Hollywood film adaptation.

Robert Edsel’s research has resulted in four book publications and a Hollywood film adaptation.

Questions from the audience are welcome. “I’m always extremely interested in hearing questions and observations from those in the audience about the story historically, but also about what’s going on today and what their thoughts and concerns are about the future,” Edsel said.

Initially driven by curiosity, Edsel spent 15 years tracking down the surviving Monuments men and women. While some of them had been interviewed before, Edsel said up until that point, the focus tended to be on the crimes of the Nazis and not the good work of the Monuments group.

“The fullness of what they’d accomplished had not been shared,” Edsel said. “My focus was talking about what the good guys did. They were willing to put on military uniforms and go into harm’s way to do something they thought was a noble endeavor and important to the future of civilization.”

Edsel interviewed 20 Monuments men and women and went on to develop friendships with them. He also interviewed their family members as part of his research.

Those interviews, he said, “were beyond insightful. They were really the epiphany that got me further engaged because I realized their story hadn’t been told to a broad audience. It’s resulted in relationships that continue to this day.”

The final part of the story has yet to be written, Edsel noted, with hundreds of thousands of objects still missing. The Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art, which received the National Humanities Medal from President George W. Bush in 2007, has led the effort to locate items and return them to their rightful owners. Edsel’s presentations, books and television programs have resulted in more than 100 leads now being pursued by Foundation staff.

The Foundation’s high-profile discoveries include the “Hitler Albums,” four brown leather albums that the Nazis used to catalog stolen works of art, adding to the 39 albums that were already known to researchers.

“Research is at the core of what we do and it’s a critical part of the success we’ve had,” Edsel said, adding, “We know that these issues of protecting cultural property are not just stories of the past. They’re very real issues we face today and we’ll continue to face them in the future.”

This University Series event is presented with support from the Blanche E. Penrod Lecture Series.

Learn more about the Monuments Men Foundation here.

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