Indiana State University Newsroom

ISU formally dedicates Bayh College of Education

April 16, 2010

Indiana State University on Friday (April 16) formally dedicated the Bayh College of Education that is named in honor of the university's long-standing connection with the Bayh family.

"I speak for multiple generations of my family when I say we're honored, but most of all we're humbled," Sen. Evan Bayh said.

Ron Carpenter, president of the Indiana State Board of Trustees and the Children's Bureau of Indianapolis, said he sees daily the impact education makes in a child's life and the consequences if a child is deprived.

"We look forward to continuing to partner with you and your family for generations to come as we continue to promote education," he told Evan Bayh.

During the dedication, Indiana State University President Dan Bradley presented an honorary doctorate of laws to Evan Bayh in honor of his mother, Marvella Hern Bayh, who attended Indiana State Teachers College from 1952 to 1958. She died in 1979.

"Sen. Bayh, while many are aware of the commitment both you and your father, Sen. Birch Bayh, made to advancing education for the students of our country, your mother was also a tireless advocate for the citizens of our state, including its children," Bradley said.

"This would mean the world to my mom," Evan Bayh said. "This means the world to me. It will allow me to go home and tell my kids that her memory lives on in some significant way."

Evan Bayh's family connection to Indiana State goes back to the university's founding. His great grandmother, Kate Ward, attended Indiana State Normal School in the 1800s. Sen. Evan Bayh's grandfather, Birch Evans Bayh, attended Indiana State Normal School in the early 1900s. He also founded the school's Student Athletic Association. His wife, Leah Hollingsworth, graduated in 1918 from Indiana State Normal School. Birch Bayh attended Indiana State Teachers College in 1951 and 1952. In addition to attending Indiana State, Marvella Bayh was instrumental in moving Hoosier Girls State to Indiana State.

As governor of Indiana, Evan Bayh launched the 21st Century Scholars Program. Currently, ISU has 658 of the program's scholars enrolled at the university, making it the largest in the state. The scholars sign a pledge to, and, stay drug, alcohol and crime free. In return, the state pays for the students' higher education.

Evan Bayh called the program one of his proudest achievements.

"Those who sign the pledge are four times more likely to go on to get a higher education degree than those who did not," he said.

The program also helped to move the state of Indiana from 40th to ninth in the nation in students pursuing higher education.

"Those are just statistics," he said. "It's really told in the dedication to education in the lives of young people who teach others, search for a cure for diseases and fight for our country."

Harmony Linder, a junior early education major from Terre Haute, is one of those success stories. Linder spoke Friday on behalf of the 21st Century Scholars and thanked Evan Bayh for creating the program.

"This program has provided me the opportunity of staying near my family while I have worked on my college degree," she said. "It has also allowed me to learn in the best quality of classes, and it is the reason why I am where I am today."

As a senator, Evan Bayh has continued to champion education issues, and he did so during a special presentation to education faculty, staff and students Friday morning.

"We have a responsibility to make education accessible to all," he said. "Not only because it's good for them, but because it's good for us."

Education, he said, will keep the United States competitive in the global marketplace as it moves from a telecommunication economy into an innovation economy.

"It all starts in the classroom," he said, and yet what occurs in the classroom needs to change.

"Our academic calendar is still based on an agrarian model," he said. "In China, the average student goes to school 40 days more than the average child in America."

Studies have shown that summer breaks cause children to lose 2.6 months academic progress.

"Maybe there are more efficient ways to teach our kids," he said. "Maybe it's through time on task or through restricting the academic year."

He also advocated creating charter schools to bring a "robust competitiveness" to school districts.

"We need to rededicate ourselves to the cause for which this school was founded in the first place," he said.

Of the more than 10,500 students attending Indiana State, more than 2,000 of the graduate and undergraduates are pursuing degrees in education programs under the instruction of 125 faculty members in the recently renovated University Hall. Students can choose among 43 different programs that prepare teachers, administrators, and human service professionals.

Brad Balch, dean of the Bayh College of Education, reflected on the university's history and the Bayh family's dedication to education.

"We hope that the work of our college will continue to make you and your family proud as we continue the family's legacy of service and dedication to the students of our state, the nation and the world," he said.

To view, the dedication and Bayh's speech, click on these links:


Writer: Jennifer Sicking, Indiana State University, assistant director of media relations, at 812-237-7972 or


Cutline: Sen. Evan Bayh speaks at the dedication of Indiana State University's Bayh College of Education, which was named in honor of his family. ISU Photo/Kara Berchem


Cutline: Dean of the Bayh College of Education Brad Balch, Indiana State University President Daniel J. Bradley, Sen. Evan Bayh, and Indiana State Board of Trustees President Ron Carpenter pose with the honorary doctorate for Sen. Bayh's mother, Marvella Hern Bayh. ISU Photo/Kara Berchem


Cutline: Sen. Evan Bayh speaks at the dedication of Indiana State University's Bayh College of Education, which was named in honor of his family. ISU Photo/Kara Berchem