Rarely awarded and honoring only the truly exceptional, the University Medal is presented to those who have made extraordinary contributions to Indiana University or humanity at large. Honorees include Nobel Prize winners, senators, and university leaders. The first medal was awarded in 1982 to Thomas Solley, the director of the IU Art Museum, in recognition of his distinguished contributions in the development of a world-class museum. The impacts made by these awardees is immeasurable and greatly treasured.
The medal is awarded only by the authority and action of the Board of Trustees on the recommendation of the president of the university. It is made of gold and depicts the university seal. It hangs from a red and white ribbon and is accompanied by a rosette. The medal is presented with a formal parchment.