Politics in Indiana: Governors of Indiana (Part 2)

After Robert Orr left office in 1989, the next three governors were Democrats: Evan Bayh (1989-1997), Frank O’Bannon (1997-2003), and Joe Kernan (2003-2005).


Evan Bayh was born in Terre Haute, Indiana in 1955. He attended Indiana University and graduated in 1978 with his degree in business economics; however, he graduated in 1981 with his law degree from the University of Virginia. Bayh worked as a clerk for the federal appeals court and his private law practice from 1981 to 1986; however, he was elected as Indiana’s Secretary of State in 1986.

In 1989, Bayh was elected the governor of Indiana in 1988 and was reelected in 1992. During his tenure as governor, he created the Department of Workforce Development (providing vocational and technical education, literacy programs, and many more), initiating the Buddy Project and Access Indiana (providing Internet to citizens in schools, libraries, and community centers by 2000), and supervised Indiana’s largest tax cuts and surplus in state history. After he left office, he was elected as Indiana Senator in 1998 and 2004.

Frank O’Bannon grew up in Corydon, Indiana. He graduated from Corydon High School in 1948. O’Bannon attended Indiana University and graduated in 1952 with a bachelor’s degree in government. Afterwards, he would serve in the United State Air Force for two years; however, he would return to Indiana University and gained a law degree in 1957.  O’Bannon served as a state senator from 1970 to 1989 and served as Evan Bayh’s lieutenant governor from 1989 to 1997. O’Bannon finally got his chance as governor in 1997, as he was elected as the next governor of Indiana.

During his tenure as governor, he created multiple programs in Indiana. The first was Hoosier Healthwise: a program that provided healthcare to children who do not have health insurance. The second was joining the Education Roundtable: this created new standards and accountability system for Indiana public schools. O’Bannon restructured Indiana’s tax system providing many benefits: property tax relief, job creation, and method of assessing property. He was known during his tenure for thinking about children. At his 1997 and 2001 inaugurations, O’Bannon invited fourth grade students from around Indiana to watch him be sworn in as governor at Indiana Statehouse in 1997 and the RCA Dome in 2001. Sadly, O’Bannon passed away due to a stroke at an international trade conference in Chicago, Illinois on September 8, 2003. His lieutenant governor, Joe Kernan, was sworn into office as the next governor.





Politics in Indiana: Governors of Indiana (Part 1)

Since Indiana became a state in 1816, there have been fifty governors; however, there has been only forty-eight men have held the position. Only two men have held the position twice but non-consecutive terms: Isaac Gray (1880-1881; 1885-1889) and Henry Schricker (1941-1945; 1949-1953).

From 1969 to 1989, Indiana was controlled by the Republicans by the following:

Edgar Whitcomb (1969-1973)

Otis Bowen (1973-1981)

Robert Orr (1981-1989)


Edgar Whitcomb was born in Hayden, Indiana, located in Jennings County. He attended Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana; however, he served in World War 2 in the Philippines. He returned to Indiana University and received a law degree. He practiced law for fourteen years in North Vernon, Indianapolis, and Seymour, Indiana. He ran for Congress in 1954 and 1956; however, he was elected as Indiana’s Secretary of State in 1966 and then as Governor of Indiana in 1968. Whitcomb defeated Robert L. Rock, 53% to 47% in the 1968 election. After he left office in 1973 and continued his law practice in Indianapolis and served as the director of the Mid-American World Trade Association; however, he attempted to win the Republican nomination for United States Senator but was defeated by Richard Lugar.


Governor Edgar D. Whitcomb

After Whitcomb left office in 1973, Otis Bowen became the next governor. Bowen was born Richland Center, Indiana, located in Fulton County. He attended Indiana University and graduated with his M.D. He served in World War 2 in the army medical corps; however, after he left the service, he began his own practice. Bowen served as a state representative in 1956 and became the first state Speaker of the House to serve three conservative terms (1967-1971). In 1968, he ran for as the Republican nominee for Indiana Governor; however, he lost to Edgar Whitcomb, who soon became the governor. Bowen would become governor in 1972, defeating Matthew Welsh, 57% to 43%. He would also become Indiana’s first governor to serve conservative terms since 1851, due to the passage of Indiana’s constitution. In the 1976 election, Bowen defeated Larry Conrad, 57% to 43%. After he left office, he became a professor of medicine and director of undergraduate family practice education at Indiana University. From 1985 to 1989, he served as the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources under then-president, Ronald Reagan.


Governor Otis Bowen & Lt. Governor Robert Orr


Robert Orr was born in Evansville, Indiana, located in Vanderburgh County. He graduated from Yale University in 1940 and later attended Harvard Graduate School of Business; however, World War 2 occurred just before he started at Harvard and served in the United States Army in the Pacific. In 1968, he was elected to serve in the Indiana Senate. In 1972, he served under Otis Bowen as his lieutenant governor until he was elected as Indiana’s governor in 1980, by defeating John Hillenbrand, 58% to 42%. Orr was re-elected as governor of Indiana in 1984, by defeating Wayne Townsend 53% to 47%. He served on many committees and served as the Ambassador of Singapore in 1989 to 1992.


Governor Robert Orr & Lt. Governor John Mutz









Politics in Indiana Series: 1992 Presidential Election

In the 1992 Presidential Election, things are different unlike previous years: there was a visible third party on stage during the presidential debates. The nominees were:

Incumbent President and Republican candidate: George W. Bush (TX) & Dan Quayle (IN)


Left to Right: George H. W. Bush & Dan Quayle

Democratic candidate: Bill Clinton (AR) & Al Gore (TN)


Left to Right: Bill Clinton & Al Gore

Independent candidate: Ross Perot (TX) & James Stockdale (IL)


Center: Ross Perot

Bush was running for reelection; however, campaign promises (i.e. – no tax increases and maintaining the budget deficit) from 1988 were unfilled and led to some supporters distrusting Bush.  His main opponent for the nomination was Pat Buchanan; however, Bush defeated Buchanan in the primary.

On the Democratic side, there were multiple individuals running: Tom Harkin (IA), Jerry Brown (CA), Paul Tsongas (MA), and Bill Clinton (AR). Right before the New Hampshire primary, Clinton had a scandal hit the press: an “alleged” twelve year affair with Gennifer Flowers. Clinton confessed there were marital issues; yet, this did not stop Clinton from regaining popularity. Towards the end, Clinton won a large majority of states during the Super Tuesday primaries. By June 1992, he gained enough delegates to clinch the Democratic nomination.

According the Commission of Presidential Debates, “… candidates must appear on a sufficient number of state ballots to have a mathematical chance of winning a majority vote in the Electoral College, and have a level of support of at least 15 percent of the national electorate as determined by five selected national public opinion polling organizations, using the average of those organizations’ most recently publicly-reported results at the time of the determination”.

Similar standards were in place during the 1992 Presidential Election. In February 1992. Perot announced he would run for president on Larry King Live, if his supporters petitioned his name to be on the ballot in all 50 states. He became extremely popular: Ross Perot exceed the requirement and at one time, led in the polls with 40% of the vote.


The 1992 Presidential Candidates (Bottom to Top): Bottom: George H.W. Bush & Dan Quayle: Middle: Bill Clinton & Al Gore: Top: Ross Perot:

The results of the 1992 presidential election was:

  • Bill Clinton & Al Gore: 370 Electoral Votes (44 Million Popular Votes / 43%)
  • George H.W. Bush & Dan Quayle: 168 Electoral Votes (39 Million Popular Votes / 37%)
  • Ross Perot:0 Electoral Votes (19 Million Popular Votes / 19%

Works Cited:

“The Commission on Presidential Debates: An Overview.” The Commission on Presidential Debates: An Overview. N.p., 2015. Web. 29 Sept. 2016.

Levy, Michael. United States presidential election of 1992. 2016, https://www.britannica.com/event/United-States-presidential-election-of-1992. Accessed 29 Sep. 2016.



Politics in Indiana: Toilet Paper Edition

November is creeping up among us, which means people will be going out to the polls to vote on everything from our next president to county coroner this year! Recently, UASC created their fall display case, dedicated to politics in Indiana. Inside of the display, there are buttons, election results from 1828 from Vanderburgh County, Indiana, T-shirts, socks, and toilet paper. Yes, you read it correctly … there is toilet paper; but, not just any ordinary toilet paper. It is presidential toilet paper!

Right to Left: Gerald Ford (R) and Jimmy Carter (D)

On loan from a private donor, the toilet paper is from the 1976 presidential election between Republican nominee and then-incumbent president , Gerald Ford of Michigan against Democratic nominee, Jimmy Carter, of Georgia. As you tell from the packaging, you can identify whose is who by the color: blue for Jimmy Carter and red for Gerald Ford. Those colors are the identifying marks of their respective parties. For the low price of $2.99, anyone could purchase one of the candidates and show their support or make them kiss their derriere.

The results of the 1976 election was Jimmy Carter defeating Gerald Ford with electoral vote count of 297-240.

Stay tuned for more political-related memorabilia!

Works Cited:

The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. United States presidential election of 1976. Encyclopædia Britannica, 2016, https://www.britannica.com/event/United-States-presidential-election-of-1976. Accessed 23 Sep. 2016

Dr. Donald Pitzer: Soaring into “New Harmony”

Professor Emeritus, Dr. Donald Pitzer, received an honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Southern Indiana on April 29th, 2016.  Some would ask, why is this important? He is another gentleman receiving an honorary degree; however, Dr. Pitzer is not just another gentleman. He has an extensive history with the University of Southern Indiana. He taught history at USI from 1967 to 2007.


April 29th, 2016: USI President, Dr. Linda Bennett (left) giving Dr. Donald Pitzer (left) his honorary degree. [Photo Credit: Tonya Pitzer]

Dr. Pitzer’s academic career began at Wittenberg University.  He graduated in 1958 with a bachelor’s degree in humanities.  He continued his education by receiving his master’s degree in 1962 and doctoral degree in 1966 in history from Ohio State University.  Dr. Pitzer joined USI, then known as Indiana State University Evansville (ISUE) at the Centennial School in 1967.  He became the History Department’s first chair in 1976 until 1998. While teaching, Dr. Pitzer was active in the bowling club, chess clubs, and supported the USI basketball teams.  During his tenure, he taught a variety of history courses from basic American History to Millennialism and Communal Studies from 1967 to 2007.


Dr. Donald Pitzer (center) at the groundbreaking ceremony of the future site of Indiana State University-Evansville, now as USI, in June 1967. [Photo Credits: University Archives and Special Collections]

Communal studies is the investigation of intentional communities around the world. Dr. Pitzer researched about the Harmonist and Owenite communities in New Harmony, Indiana for forty years. He became known as an expert in communal history and his theory of “developmental communalism”.  He’s traveled across the United States and overseas visiting countless religious and secular groups.  He was one of the original founders of the Communal Studies Association in 1975 and served as the first president until 1993.  Under his direction the Center for Communal Studies opened and he was director until his retirement in 2007.  Dr. Pitzer has left as everlasting legacy through his hard work and dedication on the University of Southern Indiana.

Today, the Communal Studies (CS) collection in the University Archives and Special Collection, in cooperation with the Center for Communal Studies, focuses on modern communes and cooperative living. Dr. Pitzer is still contributing to the collections as well as writing and presenting on communal topics. He helped the shape the future of education in Evansville and work in communal studies will stand the test of time.


“Unofficial” naming of the University Archives and Special Collection’s Communal Reading Room on April 29th, 2016. [Photo Credits: James Wethington]

Shelby Gillam: Student Assistant Highlight


Shelby Gillam during our 2016 March Madness Promo

It is far too often that people use the term “library” as a blanket term for any place where one rents their books for free. Libraries actually exist in varieties, and despite what people may think, they are quite different from each other. This is especially true in the distinction between public and academic libraries. They share many similarities such as the opportunity for individuals to rent books, movies, and access to the Internet. These two forms of library have qualities that separates them from each other.

I have had a unique opportunity with my four years of working experience. I have had the experience of working at both a public and an academic library. For a few months, I was actually working at both at the same time. During this time, I was shocked by how different the two libraries were from each other. There are obvious differences: Rice Library is far bigger than almost all of the local libraries and it has more floors. The public library where I previously worked did not have multiple floors and it did not have an archives section like USI. Because of its academic nature, Rice Library has more resources to give students the best experience as possible while conducting research. Contrastingly, public libraries are usually more entertainment-oriented. Although the public libraries do not contain as many resources, the amount of leisure materials such as DVD’s, fiction books, and CD’s far outnumbers those of the academic library.

The work environment in each library is unique. Work in a public library is aimed towards developing their employees’ customer service skills. Schedules are strictly adhered to with no alterations allowed. This gives students experience with the working world which they will soon encounter upon their graduation. The emphasis at the public library is on development of skills that will benefit the patrons. Employees are rigorously evaluated by qualities such as promptness, politeness, knowledge of databases, and work-ethic. The public library’s strong points lie in the upholding of quality customer service.

The academic library work environment places value in the components of positive interactions between information seekers and information providers; however, the emphasis is on learning. Issues such as promptness and work-ethic are important to the academic library, but education takes priority. Academic libraries value knowledge above all other things. As a student assistant at Rice Library, I have learned copious amounts on varying topics. This enhances my experience as an employee, but it enhances the experience of any person who comes to the academic library in search of information. Academic libraries genuinely enjoy providing knowledge, and attaining their own knowledge through the assistance of patrons. It is because of this that both the patron and the employee have equally enjoyable experiences at the academic library.

Student Assistant Highlight: Mary Cravens

What is an archive and what is it for? An archive is defined as a collection of historical documents or records providing information about a place, institution, or group of people. The University of Southern Indiana has its’ very own archive on the third floor of the David L Rice Library, but many students do not know we have one or know what an archive is.

History is not an enjoyable topic for many people, because many find it boring or useless to learn about the past.  What many people do not know is that the past is our future and it often repeats itself. With an archive being set up, it helps preserve artifacts such as: clothing, newspapers, books, documents, etc. This artifacts can be used for research or just for interest. Being able to look at or touch something from the past, can make history all the more special and enjoyable, for those who may not enjoy it as much as a historian.

The University Archives and Special Collections began at USI in 1972 and is the latest repository to be established in the Evansville area. Its’ mission has been collecting material on local and regional history, with special emphasis on the African-American, German, and Jewish communities. Some specific collection groups include: local authors, African American history, local businesses, local organizations and government, Indiana labor history, communal studies groups, and oral history.

One thing that sets USI’s archives apart from other archives in Indiana is our section on our history as a university. When the university went from Indiana State University – Evansville (ISUE) to University of Southern Indiana (USI), we store documentation from both of the university names. As new as the university is, the documentation is stored within the university archives.

Working in the archives has been a great experience for me as a history major; however, not all the student assistants here are history majors. There have been student assistants who are undecided in a major but that enjoy working with artifacts and collections. The archives has many interesting artifacts, but the staff is what makes it special. Working in the archives does not feel like a job because the staff are fun and open-minded.

Being a part of this team has made me appreciate being a history major. With history being learned constantly, there is more than you might not have known, and this is what the archives has taught me. The archives is more than a collection of historical documents or records providing information about a place, institution, or group of people: it is a home for those who are outcast to other majors. Many people feel as if history is not a big part of life. They are wrong and history is what you make it and that is why I am here.

Mary C.

Mary Cravens