Indiana State’s story is best told through its graduates and faculty. Here is one of a dozen people who exemplifies the university’s key qualities.
The Bayh name has become synonymous with education and public service in Indiana. Four generations of the Bayh family have had a significant impact on the state and the nation, beginning with patriarch Birch Bayh Sr.
Born in 1893 in Quincy, Ind., Birch Bayh Sr. graduated from Indiana State in 1917, a second-generation alumnus where, as a student, he originated the Blue and White Day activities. Bayh went on to become the first athletic director and a physical education professor for five years. He also co-authored one of the first physical education manuals for American schools and served as director of physical education, athletics and safety for Washington, D.C. schools until his retirement in 1966. He was the father of former U.S. Senator Birch Bayh and the grandfather of former Indiana Senator Evan Bayh. He died Aug. 26, 1971 at the age of 77.
Serving as U.S. senator, 1963-1981, Birch Bayh Jr. is the only non-founding father to author two amendments to the U.S. Construction. He also authored Title IX of the Higher Education Act of 1972 and was an early champion of ensuring that women had the same educational opportunities as men.
“These education bills made educational opportunity in Indiana available to more kids at a higher quality,” Senator Birch Bayh has said. “As I look back on my life, I get a greater sense of satisfaction out of that than from amending the Constitution.”
In his two terms as governor of Indiana, Evan Bayh instituted the 21st Century Scholars program to guarantee every Indiana student has an opportunity to receive a college education. The program guarantees that income-eligible middle school students who fulfill a pledge of good citizenship and graduate from high school qualify for a full tuition scholarship to a public Indiana institution. The 21st Century Scholars program has inspired countless students from across the socio-economic spectrum to earn their degrees.
The family’s deep and enduring commitment to the professional practice of education and to students is a testament to why the Bayh College of Education, dedicated in 2009, carries the family name.