IU Fun Facts For Your Birthday Month


Indiana University's official seal.

On January 20, 1820, Indiana University was “born” in Bloomington, Indiana.

Today, IU has nearly 765,000 living alumni—one of the largest alumni bodies in the country. IU alumni can be found on every continent and in countries including China, India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Japan, and more. In the US, the top 10 states home to IU graduates are Indiana, Illinois, California, Florida, Ohio, Texas, Kentucky, Michigan, New York, and Colorado.


A diamond princess crown lays atop pink lace fabric

Meg Cabot, BA’91, was born on February 1, 1967.

Cabot has authored over 50 novels, including the hit classic The Princess Diaries, which Walt Disney Pictures later adapted into two feature films: The Princess Diaries and The Princess Diaries 2: The Royal Engagement (both of which star Anne Hathaway and Julia Andrews). The Princess Diaries series spent 48 weeks on the New York Times Best Sellers list. And in 2021, Time Magazine named The Princess Diaries one of the “100 Best Young Adult Books of All Time.”


IU alum and first Black student body president, Thomas Irving Atkins, sits at his desk, writing on a notepad.

Thomas Irving Atkins, BA’61, was born on March 2, 1939.

In 1960, Atkins was elected student body president at IU Bloomington. He was the first Black student to hold the role at IU and in the Big Ten. He later became an attorney and politician who served as general counsel for the NAACP. Later, as an independent lawyer in Brooklyn, New York, his country-wide caseload dealt exclusively with civil rights, school desegregation, employee discrimination, and voting rights.


On April 9, 1979, Breaking Away won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

Written by Steve Tesich, BA’65, the comedy-drama was shot in and around Bloomington and on the IU campus. The main characters—Dave, Mike, Cyril, and Moocher, who are working-class friends in Bloomington—clash with the more affluent IU students in their hometown. The film’s budget was $2.3 million, and it made over $20 million at the box office.


IU alum and billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban smiles as he exits a car onto Bloomington’s campus.

In May 1981, renowned entrepreneur Mark Cuban graduated from the Kelley School of Business with a BS in management.

After one year at the University of Pittsburgh, Cuban transferred to IU Bloomington without even visiting the campus. He said it was because “IU had the least expensive tuition of all the business schools on the top 10 list.” Cuban still considers himself a “major fan of Hoosier basketball.”

IU president Herman B. Wells blows birthday candles atop a cake surrounded by family and friends.


Beloved former IU president Herman B Wells, BS’24, MA’27, LLD’62, was born on June 7, 1902.

Wells served as the eleventh president of IU Bloomington and its first university chancellor. He is credited with elevating the university’s stature in research, the arts, and international studies. Among his lasting achievements are advancing the rights of Black students, supporting groundbreaking research from the Kinsey Institute, protecting our campus green spaces, and establishing the Lilly Library.


IU alum and first black female graduate, Frances Marshall Eagleson, sits as a photographer takes her picture.

Frances Marshall Eagleson, BA 1919, was born on July 17, 1898.

Eagleson would go on to become the first Black woman to graduate from Indiana University. In 1969, The Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center at IU Bloomington was named in honor of Eagleson and Marcellus Neal (the first Black man to graduate from IU). The naming honors their scholastic accomplishments, social achievements, and trailblazing spirit through formidable odds.


Journalist Ernie Pyle stands in aviation gear as the photographer snaps a candid photo.

IU alum and award-winning journalist Ernie Pyle was born on August 3, 1900.

Pyle, LHD’44, won the Pulitzer Prize for Correspondence in 1944 for his extraordinary reporting on World War II. His writings illustrated the everyday struggles of ordinary soldiers, with whom he traveled on the front lines in various countries. Pyle was published in more than 400 daily newspapers nationwide.


IU's first female faculty member, Sarah Parke Morrison, sits as a photographer takes her picture.

Sarah Parke Morrison, AB 1869, was born on September 7, 1833.

Morrison became the first woman admitted to Indiana University in 1867, completing her four-year degree in just two years. In 1874, she became IU’s first female faculty member when she was named adjunct professor of English literature. In 1942, IU renamed part of the Wells Quad “Morrison Hall” in her honor. And in 2005, the Sarah Parke Morrison Society Scholarship was created to recognize her groundbreaking achievements.


IU coach Robert “Bobby” Knight stands inside the IU basketball stadium as a photographer snaps a candid photo.

Former IU basketball coach Robert “Bob” Knight was born on October 25, 1940.

Knight was named National Coach of the Year four times and Big Ten Coach of the Year eight times. In 2006, he was recognized for his impact on college basketball as a member of the founding class of the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. When it came to basketball, Knight believed, “You don’t play against opponents; you play against the game.”


Famous jazz musician and IU alum Hoagy Carmichael sits as a photographer takes his photo.

Renowned jazz musician Hoagy Carmichael, BS’26, DM Hon’72, was born on November 22, 1899.

As a student at IU, Carmichael established his own small jazz band, “Carmichael’s Collegiates,” making him a campus celebrity. He later met jazz great Louis Armstrong, and they began their lifelong friendship and musical collaboration. Carmichael composed several hundred songs, including 50 that achieved hit record status. He is best known for composing the music for “Stardust,” “Georgia on My Mind,” and “Heart and Soul.”


IU alum and Crest founder Joseph Charles Muhler hands children toothpaste at his dentistry office.

Joseph Charles Muhler, BS’47, DDS’48, was born on December 22, 1923.

Muhler became a biochemist and dentist who developed the first formula for fluoridated toothpaste. Muhler, along with IU chemists William Nebergall and Harry Day, filed a patent for the formula’s compounds and applications, which were then licensed to Procter & Gamble. P&G released the product as Crest® toothpaste in 1956, revolutionizing dental care.

Written By
Brittany King
Brittany Talissa King is a graduate of IU (BA'14), New York University (MA'19), and a writer for the IU Foundation.