A transformative moment
A historic $60 million gift begins a new chapter for the School
What an exciting time for our school.
I was tremendously honored when I was tapped in 2016 to become the fourth dean in the history of then-School of Informatics and Computing. With an already rich tradition of innovation in our past and the exciting addition of the intelligent systems engineering program—the first engineering program in Indiana University history—on the horizon, I could only imagine the possibilitiesthat awaited our students, faculty, and alumni.
As the ISE program expanded, it became appropriate to recognize the importance of engineering in our vision of the school, and the decision was made to change our school’s name to the School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering. It was not a decision made in haste. Instead, it was a measured response that put a clear spotlight on a critical field of research and education that will lead technology into tomorrow.
I was also fortunate to be dean of our School when spectacular Luddy Hall opened in 2018, thanks in no small part to the generosity of IU alumnus Fred Luddy. His willingness to provide support for that project was an example of how one person can make an enormous impact in the lives our students. We were humbled by Fred’s belief in our mission, and it has been our goal to prove his belief worthy.
The latest partnership between Fred Luddy and our School, however, will truly be transformative for our future.
In mid-October, Indiana University president Michael McRobbie announced a $60 million gift bestowed by Fred Luddy to our school. It is the second-largest private gift in IU history, and the impact of his continued generosity will be felt for generations to come.
The most immediate path to honoring Fred’s commitment was to once again rename our School the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering. The Luddy name carries a lot of weight, and as someone who has been recognized as one of the foremost innovators in the tech world by no less an authority than Forbes Magazine, Fred’s willingness to provide backing for a host of enterprises is proof positive that the Luddy School is a leader for innovation in its own right.
The most important investment will be in the people of the Luddy School.
Fred's generosity will establish multiple endowments for chairs, professorships, and faculty fellowships that will provide support for research, and graduate students will be supported through another fellowship program. Undergraduates will be impacted in a major way through the Luddy Scholars program. This scholarship will be made available to high-achieving students from the state of Indiana. The Luddy Scholars program will provide exclusive programs for recipients, and it is design to attract the best and brightest young tech minds from the area. The gift also will help build and establish the $22.8 million Luddy Center for Artificial Intelligence, a new building that will house our AI initiative, which will initially focus on digital health.
The facility will feature state-of-the-art teaching, research, and learning spaces that will be dedicated to supporting IU faculty and students who are pursuing pioneering work into AI and machine learning. The center will focus on an interdisciplinary approach to AI that will blend algorithmic and statistical AI, cognitive sciences, and brain sciences.
I believe we’re on the brink of an AI revolution, and the Luddy Center for Artificial Intelligence will allow the Luddy School to establish itself as a leader in this critical area. It also will give us the opportunity to collaborate with IU’s existing strengths in the health and life sciences. Making a positive real-world impact is at the heart of why our School was founded 20 years ago, and this investment in AI will make a powerful difference.
The Luddy School has a proud history of being a leader on campus, and Fred Luddy’s gift marks the pivotal beginning of our next chapter. We couldn’t be more appreciative for his support, and we will be driven daily to live up to the high standards expected of our alumni.
But his gift isn’t the only exciting development. We recently began offering two new degrees that will help Luddy students prepare themselves for the world to come.
Through a partnership with the College of Arts and Sciences and the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies, our Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity and Global Policy will provide an in-depth understanding of the technology behind cyber and networked systems along with a greater grasp of the range of privacy, cultural, economic, legal, and diplomacy issues that surround the field of cybersecurity around the world.
In recognition of another critical and growing area that will shape the future, we’ve also established a new Bachelor of Science that will offer a broad, blended curriculum that will provide the foundation to build the knowledge and experience necessary to thrive in the field. With five specialization tracks, including foundational data science, data systems, network and applied data science, data science design, and biological and health science, our program will prepare data scientists who can be leaders. The program is a collaboration with IU’s College of Arts and Sciences and the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs.
Technology is ever-changing, and the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering continues to be a dynamic institution with an eye on tomorrow.