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INDIANA UNIVERSITY MEDIA CONFERENCE
April 28, 2017
PRESIDENT McROBBIE: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, and I'm delighted to welcome you to this ground breaking ceremony for the Excellence Academy and the related renovations of the South End Zone of this historic and beloved landmark, Memorial Stadium. I will note later that this is a purely symbolic groundbreaking; as if that isn't obvious.
But the project that we celebrate today includes the construction of a new building addition that will have exterior concourse connections to the existing structure of Memorial Stadium. This will provide an array of wonderful new facilities for our student athletes and for all of our guests here.
The centerpiece of this project will be the Excellence Academy, which will be a key component of Indiana University's Student Athlete Development Program, as well as a facility for new multi-purpose events. It will include a kitchen and it will include a large event terrace.
In addition, there will be refurbishing of the sports medicine facilities, accessibility accommodations, seating platforms, concession areas and other features, present features, of Memorial Stadium. Really it is quite a massive project.
I'm very glad to see that we have been joined here today by so many friends of Indiana University, and it is always a pleasure in gatherings such as this one to recognize those individuals who contribute so much to this campus and to the university community.
I'd like to start by introducing four members of the IU Board of Trustees who joined us today and ask them to stand as I call their names, and could you please hold your applause until all are standing.
With us today are MaryEllen K. Bishop of Carmel, vice chair of the trustees, W. Quinn Buckner of Bloomington; Philip N. Eskew, Jr., of North Webster, and Anna M. Williams of Indianapolis, our student trustee. Please join me in welcoming our trustees (applause).
And it would be remiss of me not to also note that today is Trustee Bishop's birthday. And of course it would be ungallant for a gentleman to reveal her age, but let me just say it is a very, very significant birthday for her, so congratulations, MaryEllen. (Laughter).
I'd also like to welcome another colleague who plays a very important and central role in the development and construction of new and renovated IU facilities, and that is Indiana University vice president for capital planning and facilities, Tom Morrison. Tom, would you stand for our greeting, too, please.
And I'd like to welcome all the other members of our facilities' design and construction teams, who were able to join us today, quite a few of those are here today. Please join me in welcoming all of them, as well.
And also with us today is Kenneth Gros Lewis, University Chancellor Emeritus, longtime Chancellor of the Bloomington Campus. Please join me in welcoming Ken, as well.
Today's groundbreaking, once again, emphatically underscores IU's deep commitment to a comprehensive approach to student athlete development, and one that equips student athletes for success in college and for successful lives and careers in the knowledge-based economy of the 21st century.
As today's celebration demonstrates, Indiana University has been a national leader in this regard, having achieved acclaimed success in recent years in many areas that are models for other intuitions. In 2014, for example, IU unveiled a groundbreaking Student Athlete Bill of rights, which outlines the university's commitment to student athletes during their time at IU and beyond.
And in 2010, IU Athletics established the IU Excellence Academy, one of the most comprehensive innovative and effective personal development programs in all of intercollegiate athletics; a program that will have its home right here in the South End Zone complex.
Indiana University's impressive athletics traditions began 150 years ago in 1867, with a formation of IU's basketball team. IU's first intercollegiate competition took place in 1883, which the baseball team played what is now DePaul University. Over more than a century of competition, IU student athletes have won 24 NCAA Team National Championships, 145 NCAA individual titles, 172 Big Ten Team Championships, and IU's student athletes and alumni have earned 96 Olympic Medals, including, of course, the eight medals won at last summer's Rio Olympics.
In practice and competition, and in the classroom, IU student athletes learned to embody the Hoosier values of hard work, dignity and respect for others. They build character as they develop self-discipline, personal integrity and the skills and argument and reasoning that is instilled through an excellent liberal education.
They are supported in this growth through the IU Excellence Academy, through which they develop leadership and life skills and through which they receive academic support, career support and sports performance assessment and support.
The IU Excellence Academy, which I have mentioned has been the centerpiece of the project that we celebrate today, integrates all of the resources of the IU Athletics Department, in addition to the cutting-edge resources of a number of IU schools to ensure that IU student athletes achieve their academic, athletic and personal development goals.
The enclosed South End Zone will also be of course, the latest in a series of new generation, state-of-the-art resources for IU student athletes and fans. In 2009, we dedicated the Memorial Stadium North End Zone, which includes a student athlete development center, which has been greatly enhanced -- which has greatly enhanced the game-day experience for all IU football fans.
The North End Zone is, of course, home to the W. Jay and Nancy Wilkinson Performance Center, known as the Wilk, one of the nation's largest strength and conditioning centers for student athletes, and is also home to the Henke Hall of champions, which, of course, honors the remarkable accomplishments of all of our student athletes over many, many decades.
And I should mention, too, that Jay Wilkinson is here with us today and I'd like to welcome such a generous benefactor of athletics such as Jay, as well, so welcome.
Seven years ago this month in 2010, I also had the great pleasure of dedicating Cook Hall, the magnificent basketball development facility made possible primarily through the remarkable generation of the late Bill Cook and his wife, Gayle. And Gayle is here today, as well, so also please join me in welcoming Gayle.
And of course we are gathered today in the lobby of the D. Ames Shuel Academic Center, which we dedicated in 2011. And this splendid facility took IU from having one of the smallest academic centers for student athletes in the Big Ten to having one of the largest in the conference and one of the most impressive in the nation.
Four years ago this month in 2013, we dedicated IU's splendid new softball stadium, Andy Mohr Field, which was named in honor of a major gift from Andy Mohr, who is now a member of the IU Board of Trustees.
Just a few days after the dedication of Andy Mohr Field, we also dedicated Bart Kaufman Field, IU's splendid new baseball stadium named in honor of a generous gift from IU alumnus, Bart Kaufman.
Kaufman and Mohr fields are now showpieces at the front door of IU Athletics for first-time visitors entering Bloomington along the 45/46 bypass. Last year of course we dedicated a truly magnificently renovated Simon Scott Assembly Hall, one of basketball's most iconic venues. The renovation was made possible in large part thanks to the extraordinary generosity of IU alumni, Cindy Simon Skjodt.
And Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall is also now home to Mark Cuban Center For Sports Media and Technology, a first of its kind video, broadcasting and technology center that makes IU Athletics the national leader in 3D broadcast, replay, virtual reality and 3D virtual studio technologies.
Early this month, IU's trustees approved the construction of a new multi-purpose indoor arena that will move the volleyball and wrestling teams from their less-than-adequate facilities at 10th and the bypass to the athletics complex next to Cook Hall. In accordance with the master plan for the Bloomington Campus, this move will then consolidate all of IU's major athletic facilities into one neighborhood. Finally, it will be done.
And the new arena will not only greatly enhance the experience for fans of IU volleyball and wrestling. It will also give student athletes in these sports better access to the services right here of the Excellence Academy, closer proximity to student housing, and for the wrestling team, much improved access to the team's current access space in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.
A common thread among this long and impressive list of new and renovated athletic facilities is the enormous generosity of Indiana University alumni and friends, whose philanthropic gifts have helped make these buildings possible.
So, too, is the generosity of alumni and friends making possible the project for which we break ground today. In the last few weeks we have announced major gifts in support of the Excellence Center from IU alumni Kalen Jackson and other members of the Irsay family, the owners, of course, of the Indianapolis Colts, and from alumna Dena Rae Hancock and Rob Caito. And these will establish the Irsay Family Wellness Clinic and the Hancock Hiltunen Caito Center for Leadership and Life Skills within the Excellence Academy.
I also want to thank and commend athletics director and vice president Fred Glass and his wife, Barbara, for their generous gift that will establish the student athletes family leadership suite in the Excellence Academy. Thank you for that generous gift, as well.
Just this week we announced a major gift from an anonymous donor that will result in the establishment of the Lawrence D. Rink Center for Sports Medicine and Technology in the Excellence Academy to be named in honor of Dr. Larry Rink, who is here today.
Dr. Rink, who practices cardiology in sports medicine in Bloomington, just concluded his 37th year as team physician for the IU men's basketball program, which means he'll complete his 40th year in the bicentenary of the university. Please join me in welcoming Larry Rink, as well.
And the Rink Center will be home to the Irsay Family Wellness Clinic, the Center For Elite Athlete Development, as well as the Rehabilitation and Treatment Center.
We also announced this week a major gift to IU Athletics from ambassador Randy Tobias, the former chair of the IU Board of Trustees and his wife, Deborah. In recognition of their contribution, the new state-of-the-art nutrition facility and dining space in the Excellence Academy will be named the Tobias Nutrition Center, and the new courtside hospitality area in the Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall has been named the Tobias Champions Locker Room. So please join me in welcoming Randy and Deborah, as well.
I believe that Dena Rae Hancock and Rob Caito are with us today, too. Thank you, both, too, very much for your generous gift, as well.
So since the beginning of intercollegiate athletics over a century ago, participating in college sports has helped give student athletes the discipline and the skills they need to succeed in college and in life. Indiana University student athletes are ambassadors for this great university. Like all student athletes, they face very high expectations and must balance many responsibilities in their lives.
The facility we celebrate today will not only enhance the experience for IU football fans and players, it will also embody Indiana University's deeply held commitment to foster the intellectual, emotional, social and physical development of the university's outstanding student athletes.
Now it is my pleasure to introduce Indiana University Vice President Director of Intercollegiate Athletic, Fred Glass. Please join me in welcoming Fred to the podium.
G. FREDRICK GLASS: Good afternoon, everyone. On behalf of everyone associated with Indiana University Athletics, I would like to add our welcome to each of you, as well as our thanks for taking the time to be part of this very special day.
I'm thrilled that this day has come. The Excellence Academy building will set in concrete literally and figuratively, Indiana University's commitment to the health and wellness and holistic personal development of our student athletes who participate in intercollegiate athletics.
As the permanent home for one of the most innovative and effective personal development programs in all of intercollegiate athletics -- you can see we kind of like that phrase, I kind of like the tone of that. The Excellence Academy will be completely dedicated to promoting an outstanding experience for our student athletes. The Lawrence D. Rink Center For Sports Medicine and Technology will be comprised of the Irsay Wellness Center Clinic, the Irsay Wellness Clinic, the Rehabilitation and Treatment Center, the Center for Elite Athlete Development.
These facilities will provide comprehensive physical mental healthcare for IU student athletes with physician offices, exam rooms, psychologist, nutritionist offices, diagnostic equipment and the like; all-inclusive space and equipment to help prevent, diagnose, rehabilitate and treat injuries to our student athletes, and research and technology to apply science to the development of student athletes as champions.
The Hancock Hiltunen Caito Center For Leadership and Life Skills will also include the Glass Family Student Athlete Leadership Suite and the Career Counseling Center, and these facilities will offer multi-purpose space and offices dedicated to leadership development, life skills training, service learning and career development for our student athletes.
Again the Tobias Nutrition Center will be home to one of the premiere nutrition facilities and dining spaces in all of intercollegiate athletics, and a very prominent entry plaza and green space that will create a new front door, not only for IU Athletics, but Memorial Stadium, and the balance of the athletics campus will be known as Miller Plaza.
The Excellence Academy will also feature, as the President mentioned, a multi-purpose ceiling terrace and provide for renovations to the football locker room complex. Finally, the Excellence Academy will complete what we like to call the Circle of Excellence in Memorial Stadium complementing this stadium, the D. Ames Shuel Academic Center, as well as the W. Jay and Nancy Wilkinson Performance Center.
And now I'd like to add some of the thank-yous from athletics. To President Michael McRobbie and the Board of Trustees, without whose vision and steed fast support, this project simply would not have been possible.
To all of our amazing donors who are making the Excellence Academy a reality for our student athletes, not only for their treasure, but also for their faith and leadership, especially Kalen Jackson and the entire Irsay family, Dena Rae Hancock and Rob Caito, Randy and Deborah Tobias, Pat and Mike Miller, and Frank and Linda Hancock.
To Dr. Larry Rink, whose substantial long-time contributions to IU Athletics inspired a critical lead gift by an appreciative anonymous donor.
To Vice President Tom Morrison and his cadre of professionals and craftsmen, who I am confident will bring this project in on time and on budget, including especially Jim Stewart, Bob Richardson, Horatio Architects (ph), the Smith Group and Shiel Sexton.
And finally, to our secret weapon, the Senior Associate Athletic Director leading the Excellence Academy, Mattie White, from whom we'll hear in just a couple minutes.
Thanks to all of you for being here and for everyone involved in making this glorious day possible. Go IU.
PRESIDENT McROBBIE: Thank you very much, Fred.
As Fred has already introduced, our next speaker is Mattie White.
Let me say just a few words about Mattie. She is the Senior Associate Athletic Director For Academic Services and for the Excellence Academy. She oversees all academic services and also she oversees all welfare and development programs that serve our student athletes.
It's a considerable responsibility, one of the most important functions of intercollegiate athletics here. She is also the sports administrator for women's basketball, volleyball and rowing programs. So please join me in welcoming Ms. White to the podium.
MATTIE WHITE: Good afternoon. Thank you. It's much more than an honor to be here today. Instead it's more like a dream come true.
When I arrived at IU in 2005 as an academic advisor and CHAMPS/life skills coordinator, I had such dreams for what student athlete development programming would look like. But similar to Langston Hughes' infamous program, Harlem, what happens to a dream deferred, I would often wonder if the dream of actually having a comprehensive student development program was going to dry up like a raisin in the sun or explode. I can confidently say today our dream never dried up.
Instead, we have been able to nurture this idea into what has become our Excellence Academy, touching all 650 of our student athletes and surrounding community.
Words are important and I find that the word
"groundbreaking" is not only fitting for today's activity and celebration, but is also descriptive of our efforts related to the Excellence Academy. I remember back in the day when I was a student, I would say, "Webster defines," but I do work in the Academic Center. So like our student athletes, Google said, that groundbreaking is defined as pioneering, fresh and unprecedented. Those words are how I would characterize our approach in developing the entire student who participates in intercollegiate athletics at IU.
Previously our efforts were isolated, academics did their thing, sports medicine did their thing, life skills their thing and now we work collaboratively for the betterment of all of our students. This South End Zone complex will putus in closer proximity with each other and allow us to work together in a completely different way.
Most importantly, space matters both physically and symbolically. I remember the days when the academic center was what we now have as our ticket office. This space that we are sitting in today transformed the way we deliver academic support to our students. I know the same is going to happen when the South End Zone opens. It will revolutionize our efforts.
When we talk about high-impact educational experiences for students, we will now have the space to engage them in these practices in ways that we have never been able to do before.
I would be remiss to say that we aren't doing a great job now. I know this will allow our -- but I know this will allow our department to be the kind of leaders in our industry that we are encouraging our students to be in life.
Let's face it, in intercollegiate athletics, our product is not merely competitions. Our true outcome should be focused on how we impact people, namely our students. Athletics provides a tremendous platform to develop young men and women, like Sarah and Rashard, that you will hear from later today, to phenomenal leaders of agents of change that our world so desperately needs.
To be able to do this at the highest level is a blessing and duty that we take seriously at IU. This work does not happen by happenstance, but instead through intentionally-designed efforts to work together for the good of the students that we recruit to and graduate from this fine institution.
When I talk about symbolic importance, I strongly believe people need to not only hear what we are saying, but also see what we are saying. This facility speaks loudly and clearly to our dedication to the development and well being of our students. The strategic placement of the South End Zone being the final piece to the puzzle, to finish what Fred affectionately calls our Circle of Excellence, is significant, as well.
Today student development is being physically interwoven into the fabric that we all IU Athletics, and the dream that I had in 2005 has exploded into so much more than I could have ever imagined. Before I sit back down, I, too, want to thank some significant weavers in this process: To President and Mrs. McRobbie, your support has been of paramount importance to all that we do.
To the Board of Trustees and our donors, thank you for approving and believing in this project and the impact that it will have on our students.
To the staff of the varsity club, I like to do shout-outs internally, right -- I see y'all every day; I eat with them in the Hoosier Room, so I want everybody to be nice. To the varsity club, thank you for the tireless hours you have spent in raising the money for this project.
To those staff members who work directly with our students on a daily basis, Kurt Zorn, our faculty athletics representative, senior staff, compliance, leadership and life skills, sports and medicine, strength and conditioning, academic services, our coaches, and those other supportive staff members, I hope you know you are that village for our students.
Thank you to all of our campus partners because we don't do this work alone. Thank you in advance to the facility and capital planning project staff, please make sure that gets done, and as Fred said -- I just want to be done on time, I'm excited.
To our students, thank you for both embracing and embodying the spirit of Indiana and for simply being worth it.
Lastly, to Fred Glass. I will forever be grateful for your visionary leadership. One of my favorite quotes says that "vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others." In a world where there are so many distractions and issues to keep sight of, you never let us become invisible. You never lost sight of what is important and allowed us to keep our students development and their well being at the forefront of all we do here.
Thank you all, I look forward to seeing you at the dedication of this fine facility, and go Hoosiers.
PRESIDENT McROBBIE: Thanks, Mattie, that was terrific. All of us are very grateful for all that you do for our student athletes every day, as well.
We will now hear from two of those very student athletes. With us today, Sarah L'Hommedieu, who is a freshman and the starting goalkeeper in the IU woman's soccer team. She is from Hudson, Ohio where she played for the Ohio Premiere club's National League team. Ms. L'Hommedieu was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week last season, as well as earning two designations as Big Ten freshmen of the week.
And then Rashard Fant is a junior from Atlanta, Georgia and a cornerback on the Hoosier football team. He is the NCAA active career leader and IU's all-time leader with 48 passes defended and 44 pass breakups in 38 games. Extremely impressive.
He chose to attend IU even though he received offers from Kentucky, Mississippi, Florida State, Utah, Washington, South Florida and other universities and he was one of the private profile members of his recruiting class.
Mr. Fant was one of the two recipients of the Director's Award of the Athletics Department's Spirit of Indiana Showcase. In fact, just earlier this week and the Director's Award is given to two student athletes who best remember the spirit of Indiana, and that is 24 sports, one team. Each then will speak without further introduction.
Please welcome to the podium Ms. L'Hommedieu.
SARAH L'HOMMEDIEU: Like most athletes here at IU, I started looking at colleges not long into my high school career.
At 14 I wasn't quite sure what I was looking for in a school or what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. What I saw in IU was a beautiful campus, a school with world-class academic opportunities, and first-rate athletics. When I began to make my decision, people told me that I would just know what school is right for me. It would just be a feeling that you get, like you're home.
For me, this moment of clarity came as I walked down those very stairs and looked at the wall at the words right behind us: We are part of something bigger than ourselves. I may not have known what I wanted to do with the rest of my life but I knew that I wanted it to be in service of something greater than just myself.
I'm a freshman here on the IU women's soccer team, and first let me say what an honor it is to represent IU every fall on the field. It is truly a dream come true.
One of the things that I love about soccer is that when you step on the field, you're no longer an individual. No matter how good of a player you are, you cannot win or lose a game alone. Everything you do is in service of your team, of each other. When we focus and when we really play together, we become an extension of one another. I think that's why they call it the beautiful game.
This is a special experience, and I feel a great privilege in having the opportunity to cultivate that connectivity with such wonderful teammates. The Excellence Academy has made that beautiful connectivity an aspirational goal for all of our athletes, a chance for all 24 sports to become an extension of one another, one team.
Our athletics director, Fred Glass, has been a leader and role model for this philosophy. He has always been willing to listen, truly listen, to the issues facing his athletes. As a freshman, I sat in meetings where Fred Glass would personally review a SAC (ph) group proposal. He would ask us questions, listen to our concerns and challenge our conclusions. He helped us work with each other and without fanfare, we knew that he believed in us in our abilities.
He helped to strengthen our arguments and our policy, and later empowered us to reach out and present that same proposal that IU Athletics lifeline policy at the Apple Conference in Virginia last winter. I truly grew from this experience and I am so thankful for the opportunity to present an idea that can benefit athletes here at IU and across the country.
As an athlete, we are given a gift. Our athletic ability gives us a platform from which we are able to reach out and affect change on a greater level than others. The Excellence Academy has been there to give us support to learn and grow so that we can use that platform in the future.
This summer the Excellence Academy has given me wonderful opportunity to travel to Vietnam with a program called coach for college. This program is one that teaches English, math and science, as well as a variety of sports in a rural village that lacks the resources to maintain regular year-round school for their children.
I am very excited for the opportunity to teach, but more importantly, for the opportunity to experience a culture and an environment that is so unlikely my own. We come here as students, but for all of us there will be a final whistle, a final game. The Excellence Academy allows us to develop as people and as leaders, and when we leave this school, we will leave as ambassadors representing Indiana University with our best selves, forging our connections with each other as students, athletes and Hoosiers.
I am so very thankful to so many of our leaders here for the opportunities I've had here. I thank President McRobbie for his continued commitment to excellence and his tireless work for the athletes and all students here at IU. I think Fred Glass once again for supporting the Excellence Academy and giving me the chance to talk to you all today about its impact on me. We are thankful for all the work you do improving your athletes on and off the field.
I am forever grateful to my coach, Amy Berbary and Sergio Gonzalez for pushing us as players on the field and supporting us as young women off. I would also like to thank senior assistant athletic director, Mattie White and Ms. Lisa Franz for the unbelievable support that they have showed not only me but my teammates from all 24 sports.
Finally, I would like to thank you all of you, the Indiana Board of Trustees and all the donors here today for building us a home where we learn our subject and our sport, but more importantly, how we can be a positive force in this world once we step off the field and out of this classroom for the last time. It is because of people like you that we learn to be a part of something bigger than just ourselves. Thank you.
RASHARD FANT: Good afternoon. It's an honor to be here today. On behalf of the Indiana University football team and all the students here at IU, as 24 sports, one team, I would like to thank President McRobbie, Vice President Glass, assistant athletic director Matte White, valued donors, the Board of Trustees and Miss Lisa for making today possible, and anybody else that I may have missed.
Growing up, my parents, they put me into sports early. That was their thing, both athletes, but both great students. They also told me, always taught me that if you didn't get your grades there wouldn't be any athletics or extracurricular. So athletics was always a big thing to me.
Growing up I remember diving into school and then at night, practice at night, practice in the morning, and school during the day. So it was the same thing every day for 18 years.
I remember coming to IU in 2013 as a true freshman. To me, at that time, although school was very important to my family and I, the only thing I really had on my mind was graduating in three years, declaring for the draft, changing my family's life. I have to say it's a little funny now that this is my fifth year here (laughter) and I graduated in three years, and now I'm working on my master's.
Like I said, coming to IU at first, all football players, the first thing we think of is we have to get what we call, "the league." Now with the Excellence Academy and all the great people here at IU, I have expanded just beyond that opportunity with aspirations to one day pursue a Ph.D and become a college professor, or even work as an NFL executive after my times. And just recently, I was talking with some of my coaches about being a college football coach and maybe even being an athletic director after that.
During my time here, I have truly grown as a young man. I have to truly say that the Excellence Academy and all of the IU staff is a big reason for that. Last summer I got to be a leadership and life skills intern through the Excellence Academy, and my teammates usually call me the loner of the group, kind of quiet. But I think during that internship they kind of saw how outgoing I actually am.
I got to work with many of the students, attend a lot of different events, sit in on meetings, interviews, and just see how life outside of football goes, and it was actually a great experience for me, just because usually just it's football day and night, so we can perform for you all and the things that you do for us.
Coming to IU first, being from down south as you know, we call it football country. I received a lot of backlash; why would you go up north; why would you choose IU. It's not a football school. But that's the same reason I chose to come to IU because of everything it offered outside of football.
I came to visit December 8 and committing before even taking a visit, and after my visit, I realized that this was the place for me, because it would better me not only as a football player but as a man.
All of the aspects that IU shares with us and brings to us and the commitment to not only athletics but to academics and to bettering you mentally, physically and spiritually, are the reasons why I'm so honored and privileged to be standing up here before you all.
IU means a lot to me and it's truly special and seeing these words my first worked in behind us, "We are part of something bigger than ourselves," actually kind of goes to a life motto that I have and I have had since ninth grade which is: Positively affect as many lives as you can, whether it's bringing a smile to somebody's face, doing that kind gesture that nobody else sees, but just leaving a place better than you received it, which is what Coach Shelby, my position coach, always teach us in our position room.
With all this being said today, we share this excitement for the Excellence Academy ground breaking. As athletes we are always very grateful and excited when IU and those close to IU donate to the athletic program for us to have the most advanced, current, best educational, medical and athletic resources and facilities. That support allows us not only to perform at our highest ability athletically, but more importantly, it allows us athletes to find opportunities outside of athletics and better us as a whole person.
To close, I would just like to thank the fans, as well, because without their passion and unconditional support at IU Athletics, we are able to continue strive for greatness and push to be the very best version of ourselves and in all aspects for Hoosier Nation.
Lastly, thanks to the coaches and administrators because each day you push us to be better than we even think we can be. You take us to our limits. You allow us to be able to grow into great young men and young women and you show us the ropes. There's no secret that IU has some of the best and greatest facilities here to help us be as successful as possible and is one of the most prestigious universities in the country.
I would like to also thank football and my coaches, just for allowing me to be myself and for pushing me, and to Ms. Mattie White and Lisa Franz for allowing me and listening to me all the time when I said, "You know, I may not be here too much longer." (Laughter).
Obviously you can tell I love this place. I'm going on five years, and looking back on it, I always get asked the question: Would you have done it different? Would you have went to Florida State? And I always say the same thing: No, because this is the right place for me, and it fits everything that I believe in and that I wanted for myself. And I continue to make all of you proud, as you know, my teammates and all of the other student athletes.
So in closing I would like to thank everyone for coming out today and celebrating the Excellence Academy groundbreaking. God bless, go IU and thank you.
PRESIDENT McROBBIE: It was remiss of me not to add that Mr. Fant is in Speer (ph), and as everyone knows that's the No. 1 school of its kind in the country ranked ahead of Harvard. We look forward to welcoming you back to spear as a faculty member when you get that Ph.D.
And thanks to both of you, too, for those excellent remarks, and I'm sure you really do serve as inspirations to your fellow student athletes.
Now we come to the central moment of this ceremony, the breaking of ground. And for those of you who have already forgotten, it is a symbolic breaking of ground that we will do today (groundbreaking performed).
Thanks to everyone for their participation the groundbreaking. We now come to the close of this memorable occasion. I would like to thank all of you for joining us here today for such an important day for Indiana University, and I would also like to thank the people who, as usual, have worked behind the scenes to play in this event. All of these events take a lot of work to organize, and we're always grateful to our crack team that's responsible for organizing these events, as well.
I'd like to invite everybody to remain with us for a reception and then I encourage you to take a closer look at the progress that has already been made on the South End Zone. Once again, thanks to everybody for being here, and good afternoon.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports