Friday, March 30, 2012

Hodge Hall: A fitting honor for a humble man

James R. Hodge, flanked by IU President Michael McRobbie (left) and Interim Provost Lauren Robel and Kelley School of Business Dean Dan Smith during the naming ceremony for the Hodge Hall Undergraduate Center.

James R. Hodge is a man of few words. He's humble, quiet, thoughtful, reserved, and he doesn't seem very comfortable being the center of attention. 

Somehow that made today's official naming ceremony for the Hodge Hall Undergraduate Center even more special.

Kelley School Dean Dan Smith said Hodge's story is based on kindness and generosity and reaching out to help others.

"Jim, you embody all of the values that we hold dear at the Kelley School," Smith said. "Your story is a story about an amazing work ethic. Our students will learn that success never comes easy and demands focused commitment. Your story is about integrity. Our students will learn that there are no short cuts and that success can be acheived without compromising sound values."

Indiana University President Michael McRobbie presided over the naming ceremony, which recognized Hodge's $15 million gift for the $60 million renovation and expansion of the building that opened in 1966.

"Forty years later, after the first time I set foot on this campus in fact, both the building and I are due for a facelift," Hodge said with a smile, adding later, "It makes me feel really good to do something with the goodness that's fallen on me, for the institution that's done so much for me."

Hodge graduated with highest distinction from the Kelley School in 1974. The native of Marion, Ind., went on to earn an MBA from Harvard and become president of Permal Asset Management in New York.

Hodge's gift was originally made anonymously, but he agreed to come forward to encourage others to give to the building campaign.

Smith said without Hodge's "game-changing" gift, the Kelley School might not have gotten a $33 million grant from the Lilly Endowment. Along with other private and corporate gifts, the grant means not one dollar of taxpayer support or student tuition will be used in the expansion and renovation of the existing building. Construction is scheduled to begin shortly after graduation in May.

IU Bloomington Interim Provost Lauren Robel observed that the building and the Kelley School are integral to the life of the university.

"Hodge Hall will be rocket fuel for our wonderful faculty and student body and give them the space they need to strengthen and expand their partnerships with other units around the campus, and the technology to collaborate in real time with other scholars and corporate partners overseas," she said.

Hodge serves on the board of directors of the IU Foundation and on the Kelley School of Business Dean's Council. A lifetime member of the IU Alumni Association, he also is a member of the IU Foundation President's Circle and 1820 Society.

Also speaking today were Kelley Undergraduate Faculty Chair Tom Lenz, Bloomington Mayor Mark Kruzan and Sav Pillay, a senior from Zionsville, Ind., and president of the Kelley Student  Government.

-- Media Manager George Vlahakis of the IU Communications office contributed to this post.

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