50th Anniversary

Celebrating 50 years

On the afternoon of January 14, 1972, a press release from Indiana University announced the establishment of a force that would change the world. It read:

“A School of Public and Environmental Affairs for Indiana University was approved here today by the Indiana Commission on Higher Education. It will have primarily a problem-solving, public service, and interdisciplinary character.”

The announcement was the culmination of years of work to reorganize activities on campus to better serve the state and prepare students for a future that was changing.

One of the most respected institutions of its kind

During our 50 years, the O’Neill School has become one of the most respected institutions in the nation and the world. The school reached number three in the U.S. News & World Report’s rankings of “America’s Top Graduate Schools” in 1998, rose to the number two overall spot with Harvard’s Kennedy School in 2011, and reached a major milestone in 2016 when we were ranked number one, the ranking we share in 2022 with Syracuse University’s Maxwell School.

Description of the video:

Hi! I'm Sian Mooney, and on behalf of the O'Neill School I'd like to invite you to join us as we celebrate 50 years of the School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

Charles Bonser: We started the School of Public and Environmental Affairs because we saw a need. It was 1972. The nation was in an era of social and political turmoil. We needed civic leaders and public servants who could be entrusted to make sound decisions. We needed champions for the environment who understood both science and people interacting with it. SPEA was
the right idea at the right time and it still is.

Mooney: Today as we celebrate the O'Neill School's 50th anniversary, we're training the next generation of leaders on both our Bloomington and Indianapolis campuses.

Paul H. O'Neill: A real leader starts with a proposition that says you don't seek or accept a leadership designation because you get more fame out of it, but because you hunger for the responsibility of making a difference.

Bonser: We have alumni around the world and they're doing big things. Our current students are going to do the same. They'll be financial managers and policy makers in the U.S. and internationally. They'll run not-for-profits to change people's live. They'll manage museums and festivals impacting cultural policy. They'll be environmental advocates
changing the way that we approach sustainability and energy. They're
preparing for careers they can't even imagine yet at a school that's focused
on tomorrow.

Mooney: The foundation of the O'Neill School is our faculty. For 50 years they've shaped the world around us through their research and they're
recognized globally as leading experts in their fields.

O'Neill: This was--in those days and i think now, as much as ever-- a thriving community of intellectual pursuit and journey and discovery.

Mooney: During the past 50 years our relentless drive to improve society and ourselves has served the O'neill School and its students well. We will continue to uphold these values for the next 50 years and beyond. In a way we're all just getting started.