Category: Our Town

Doug Bauder: LGBTQ+ Educator

Following his retirement at the end of 2019, Doug Bauder, founding director of the Indiana University LGBTQ+ Culture Center, is ready to start work on a book reflecting on that experience.

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IU Digitizing Early Recordings Made on Antique Instruments

Artists, historians, and ordinary folks have been recording sounds—music, speeches, religious rituals, and banal conversations—since the late 19th century. One of the world’s largest repositories of archaic but unique recordings is located at the Scholarly Data Archive at Indiana University.

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John McCluskey: Author, Athlete, Teacher

Back in 1964, when he was a junior at Harvard University, John McCluskey was the first African American to start at quarterback for an Ivy League team. He also started his senior year, and it tickles him now to think that George W. Bush was a cheerleader on the sidelines and that John Kerry watched from the stands while McCluskey led Harvard to victories over Yale.

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William Vance: Local NAACP President

In 1909, a multi-racial group of activists formed the NAACP, the nation’s oldest civil rights organization. Today, the local branch of the organization maintains that tradition of diversity, with as many white members as African American members.

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Rish Naran: From Zimbabwe To Bloomington

At 18, Rishel “Rish” Naran traveled from his home country of Zimbabwe to Texas, his heart set on a career as a professional golfer. Unfortunately, he suffered a back injury during a soccer game, making a golf career unattainable. Changing paths is what eventually landed him in Bloomington where, at 29, he works as the general manager of Andy Mohr Honda.

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Kathleen McLean: Bassoonist Professor

When she joined the school band in her hometown of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, 11-year-old Kathleen McLean wasn’t really interested in playing the bassoon. Her first choice was the trumpet. But she was assigned the tall, thin woodwind and, she says, “Then I fell in love with the sound, so akin to the human voice.”

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Sammy L. Davis: War Hero

Sammy Lee Davis enlisted in the Army during the Vietnam era while a senior at Mooresville High School, south of Indianapolis. He was sent into battle and had been in Vietnam just eight months when, on the night of November 18, 1967, his artillery regiment of 42 was overrun by about 1,500 North Vietnamese soldiers.

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Don Griffin Jr.: Realtor and Civic Activist

Fifteen years ago, Don Griffin Jr. had a thriving real estate brokerage but was disillusioned with the business. He stopped advertising, closed his office, and planned to become a chaplain. Then he made a resolution that would change everything. “I decided I would just work with people I like, and it’s not going to be about money but about helping people get to the next chapter in their lives,” Griffin says. “And it was funny. People started coming to me more.”

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Lillian Casillas: Latino Community Advocate

When Lillian Casillas moved to Bloomington from northwestern Indiana in 1985, she joined thousands of other young adults who left home to attend Indiana University. It was a common experience, but Casillas, a native of Mexico, says her Latino heritage and its emphasis on family made the move more significant for her, both geographically and culturally.

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William Ramos: Water-Safety Expert

William Ramos has devoted his career to reducing the incidence of drowning. The director of the Indiana University Aquatic Institute and an assistant professor in the Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Studies in the IU School of Public Health, Ramos received IU’s 2019 Latino Faculty and Staff Distinguished Faculty Award for his work educating the public on water safety.

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John Thiel: Disabled Veteran Activist

Disabled by a leg injury he received in Vietnam, John Thiel retired from the U.S. Army and enrolled at Indiana University in 1971, almost 20 years before the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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Barbara Salisbury: Advocate for Blind

Barbara Salisbury probably thinks about getting from point A to point B more often than most people. “For people with disabilities, it doesn’t really matter how accessible the housing, the businesses, and educational settings in the community are if you don’t have a way to get to them,” she says. “Transportation is the glue that holds it all together.”

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Tyron Cooper: Musical Polymath

When Tyron Cooper was named director of the Indiana University Archives of African American Music and Culture last year, he set a goal: “To bring our collection alive.”

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John McCluskey: Author, Athlete, Teacher

Back in 1964, when he was a junior at Harvard University, John McCluskey was the first African American to start at quarterback for an Ivy League team. He also started his senior year, and it tickles him now to think that George W. Bush was a cheerleader on the sidelines and that John Kerry watched from the stands while McCluskey led Harvard to victories over Yale.

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