Indiana University exceeds all engagement goals with first IU Day celebration

  • April 13, 2016


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- IU Day was a resounding success, reaching 9.4 million people on social media with the hashtag #IUday and attracting nearly 17,000 unique visitors to the IU Day website in 24 hours.

Final results for IU Day -- Indiana University's first-ever, 24-hour event promoting participation, university pride and giving -- are still being tabulated, but more than 5,500 IU alumni and friends gave approximately $11.2 million in support of IU system-wide. 

"IU Day surpassed our expectations," said Dan Smith, IU Foundation president and CEO. "Whether you were physically on one of IU's eight campuses or tuning in from another continent, we were united in our support for IU. We watched fun and educational programming, learned about and from the incredible breadth of IU, and showed gratitude and school spirit on social media. Alumni and friends who shared a favorite IU memory or story of how IU impacted their lives provided real-time proof that every single gift to IU makes a tremendous difference."

The focus of IU Day was community building for all who love IU around the world. The hashtag #IUday trended nationally on Twitter and was used approximately 10,326 times. More than 400 people on four continents gathered in person at IU Alumni Association events.

Alumni, faculty, staff, fans, students and parents contributed to IU Day's success. Students in particular played an important role in planning for and participating in IU Day. Starting in January and through the completion of IU Day, the IU Student Foundation Philanthropy Committee helped plan and promote events hosted on various campuses.

Students also participated in giving. For example, members of the IU School of Optometry's student association pledged a total of $25,000 to endow a fund that will support student scholarships, travel grants and campus enhancement projects. Students raised the funds and were inspired to donate on IU Day.

Other students used social media to express gratitude to those whose previous support has enhanced or made their current IU experience possible. IU Bloomington student Coumba Kebe's appreciation for IU was shared on Twitter.

Moved by IU Day's mission to unite all who love IU, alumnus John Gibbs committed a planned gift of $5 million from his estate on IU Day. Gibbs is a graduate of the Kelley School of Business. He earned his bachelor's degree in 1972, later pursuing his entrepreneurial ventures in the realm of life sciences. His gift will establish endowed student scholarships and faculty positions, as well as provide unrestricted operating support in equal parts to the Kelley School of Business, the School of Informatics and Computing, the School of Medicine and the IU Office of the President. 

"I want to do something significant -- I simply want to lead by example," said Gibbs, founder and CEO of Life Sciences Technologies. "I ask others to look in their heart and think about what Indiana University has done for you. For me the answer is simple: IU changed my life. I'm thrilled that I can give something back."

IU Day showcased the wide range of insights, art and experiences made possible with the help of private support. More than 40 IU programs hosted IU Crowdfunding campaigns that directly support student scholarships, programming and more.

The most popular aspects of IU Day were the viral giving challenges on social media, drawing nearly 15,000 likes, re-tweets and hashtag uses, each of which resulted in a $1 contribution to student scholarships at IU.

The No. 1 most popular video on IU Day was a behind-the-scenes look at Cook Hall and Assembly Hall, which had 4,800 views. The second most popular was IU's Cake Boss, about IU alumna and pastry chef Makenzie Kus, who made a special cake in honor of IU Day.

Taking a step back into the IU limelight were well-known alumni, including Orlando Magic player Victor Oladipo, ESPN anchor Sage Steele and Ben Higgins of ABC's hit reality TV series "The Bachelor." 

The IU Day website featured a lineup of famous IU alumni, an IU-themed trivia game and personality quiz, an IU basketball-themed crossword puzzle and entertaining videos covering a variety of topics such as cybersecurity tips and the likelihood of a zombie apocalypse. Due to overwhelming popularity, the crowdfunding campaigns, special announcements of gifts to IU and more can still be found online at and via social media (#IUday). To learn more, visit the IU Day results page.

Contributions received on IU Day count toward the $2.5 billion campaign, For All: The Indiana University Bicentennial Campaign. The For All campaign is taking place on all IU-administered campuses: IU Bloomington, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, IU East, IU Kokomo, IU Northwest, IU South Bend and IU Southeast. The campaign will conclude in December 2019 to coincide with IU's bicentennial year celebration in 2020. To learn more about the campaign, its impact and how to participate, visit

Founded in 1936, the Indiana University Foundation maximizes private support for Indiana University by fostering lifelong relationships with key stakeholders and providing advancement leadership and fundraising services for campuses and units across the university. Today, the IU Foundation oversees one of the largest public university endowments in the country, with a market value of $1.9 billion. In fiscal year 2015, IU received $359.3 million in support from the private sector. IU is consistently ranked among the top four of Big Ten universities in annual voluntary support.

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Media Contacts

Mark Land

Associate vice president, IU Communications