IU Bloomington's new SPEA graduate center will honor former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill

  • April 17, 2015


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Indiana University Bloomington School of Public and Environmental Affairs will name a new center for graduate students after alumnus Paul O’Neill, former U.S. secretary of the treasury and chairman and CEO of Alcoa.

The IU Board of Trustees gave final approval to the design of the building at a meeting in Bloomington today and previously had approved the naming.

The 34,000-square-foot facility will be known as the Paul H. O’Neill Graduate Center and will house SPEA’s top-ranked graduate programs. It will adjoin the front of the existing SPEA building, extending out to 10th Street where it will be adjacent to the newly constructed Hodge Hall at the Kelley School of Business.

"I am honored that the graduate center will bear my name, providing a place to carry on the tradition of intellectual curiosity and excellence that I found at IU 50 years ago,” O’Neill said.

O’Neill earned his Master of Public Affairs degree in 1966 from IU and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree in 2014. In 1967, he joined the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, serving as deputy director from 1974 to 1977. In addition to serving as secretary of the treasury under President George W. Bush, O’Neill held leadership positions in the business and nonprofit sectors. He was president of International Paper, chairman of the RAND Corp. and CEO of Alcoa.

“The O'Neill Center is a place where the next generation of leaders can come together to exchange ideas, challenge one another and collaboratively generate solutions that make the world a better place,” O’Neill said.

The building project is expected to cost $12 million and will be partially funded by a $3 million gift from O’Neill, the largest private donation in SPEA’s history.

“We are grateful to Paul for all he has done for IU and for SPEA, and we are immensely proud that his name will be on this graduate center,” SPEA Dean John D. Graham said. “The O’Neill Center will be one of the jewels on the IU campus. It will attract bright scholars and students intent on following in Paul’s footsteps to careers serving the greater good.”

Construction on the O’Neill Center will begin in August and is expected to be completed in early 2017. The building will house a 2,300-square-foot student commons as well as classrooms, meeting areas and faculty offices. The design will incorporate IU’s traditional limestone building materials and feature a multi-story glass curtain wall facing 10th Street.

“It will be a beautiful and functional building,” SPEA Bloomington Executive Associate Dean Michael McGuire said. “Secretary O’Neill makes annual trips to Bloomington to speak with SPEA students. We eagerly await the day in 2017 when those visits take place in the O’Neill Center.”

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