- Honorary Degree (2022)
- Doctor of Humane Letters
- South Bend
- Bicentennial Medal (2019)
- Chancellor and Provost Medallion (1998)
- IU South Bend Chancellor's Medallion
- South Bend, Indiana
An Indiana lawmaker for half a century and a distinguished lifelong educator, B. Patrick Bauer has helped to transform Indiana University South Bend and, overall, has made historic contributions to the life of the state.
Bauer was born in La Porte, and his lengthy list of accomplishments exemplify Hoosier values. Well known and respected as a person of integrity, honesty, courage, and intellectual curiosity, he has been a visible advocate for the pursuit of knowledge and the enhancement of higher education. Bauer earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Notre Dame and a master’s degree at Indiana University Bloomington. In addition to his government service, he spent his career as an English teacher, and then as an administrator in the South Bend Community School Corporation and later at Ivy Tech Community College.
During his tenure in the Indiana House of Representatives that began in 1970 and ended in 2020, Bauer rose to the highest levels of leadership. When he concluded his service, he held the distinction of being the longest-serving member of the House of Representatives and the first member of the Indiana General Assembly to serve for 50 years. During his terms as Speaker of the House (from 2002 to 2004 and 2006 to 2010), Bauer demonstrated an ability to achieve consensus on many of the most important and controversial issues facing Indiana residents.
Both as Speaker and as Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, he headed a drive to increase funding for higher education in Indiana. His strong support and advocacy led to the inclusion of major allocations in state budgets for Indiana public universities and colleges, including IU and especially IU South Bend. During his time in office, he worked to secure nearly $100 million in state funding for IU South Bend and has often been credited by community leaders with making IU South Bend the campus that it is today. Features of the campus that Bauer’s leadership helped to realize include the Franklin D. Schurz Library, Wiekamp Hall (the primary classroom building), River Crossing student housing, the Student Activities Center, the Education and Arts Building, and the IU School of Medicine—South Bend facility.
Bauer’s legislative efforts, however, far exceeded his contributions to public higher education. Among other initiatives, he championed legislation for early childhood and K–12 programs, for home health care for seniors, for the HoosierRx prescription drug program, for banning phosphates in detergents, for expanding the collection of DNA samples from criminal suspects, and for creating a state earned income tax credit. While fulfilling demanding roles both in public service and in his own career, Bauer has been active in community endeavors. He served as a member of the IU South Bend Advisory Board for 25 years and continues to lend his counsel as an emeritus member of the board.
He has also volunteered his time on the board of the Urban Enterprise Association of South Bend, the Independent College Board, and the Commission on State Tax and Financing Policy. His colleague John Gregg, who served as Speaker of the Indiana House of Representatives from 1996 to 2002, remarks that Bauer “was and continues to be a man who is brim full of compassion, energy, thoughts, ideas, emotions, and commitment to public service.”
Bauer has received recognition from a wide range of prominent organizations, including the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council, which presented him with its Legislative Excellence Award in 2017, and the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, which named him Government Leader of the Year in 2003. Honors from Indiana University include the IU South Bend Chancellor’s Medallion in 1998, the Welsh-Bowen Distinguished Public Official Award from Hoosiers for Higher Education in 2001, and an IU Bicentennial Medal in 2019.