William Lowe Bryan


IUB Athletics Hall of Fame (2013)
Honorary Degree (1937)
Doctor of Laws
Location: Bloomington
American Association for the Advancement of Science (1900)
American Association for the Advancement of Science
Indiana University Bloomington
College of Arts and Sciences
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences


William Lowe Bryan, Indiana University's tenth president, was born on a farm near Bloomington, Indiana. After graduating from IU with degrees in ancient classics and philosophy, his interests shifted toward psychology and Bryan went on to earn his Ph.D. in psychology from Clark University in 1892. That same year Bryan helped organize the American Psychological Association and became one of its charter members. He returned to IU in 1893 to accept a professorship in the psychology department and the appointment to vice president of the university. He succeeded Joseph Swain as president in 1902 and led the institution for 35 years until 1937, at which time he retired as president emeritus at the age of 76. Bryan presided over the transformation of IU from a small, traditional liberal arts college into a modern research university. His most notable accomplishment was the expansion of graduate and professional training. During his administration, schools of medicine, education, nursing, business, music, and dentistry were established.

There would be no Hoosier Big Ten champions without the effort and drive of William Lowe Bryan. Bryan served as the president of Indiana University from 1902-1937 after serving earlier as vice-president from 1893-1902. He is widely credited for pushing for IU's membership in the Big Ten conference, leading the university and athletic department through a period of tremendous growth. He was also a baseball letterman in 1884, the only I-Man to serve as IU's president.

He died in Bloomington in 1955.