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Remembering IU Vice President Patrick O'Meara

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MARK CHILLA: Welcome to Profiles on WFIU. I'm Mark Chilla. On Profiles, we talk to notable artists and scholars to get to know the stories behind them and behind their work, and we have a special memorial program this week. Recently, we lost someone close to Indiana University, WFIU and this program in particular, Dr. Patrick O'Meara. Dr. O'Meara was an author, political science scholar and a vice president emeritus and professor emeritus at Indiana University. Originally from South Africa, Dr. O'Meara worked for years as dean of international programs at IU and helped shape IU's international strategic plan, which increased opportunities for students to study abroad and recruited international students to Bloomington's campus. He passed away on Tuesday, March 30, at age 83. Dr O'Meara also graced our airwaves here at WFIU on many occasions, most frequently as a host of this program, Profiles. He interviewed luminaries from many different fields, including former Indiana Congressman Lee Hamilton, singer Sylvia McNair, Indiana University President Michael McRobbie before he was president, and many, many more. We'll hear an excerpt of an interview he conducted at the end of this program. But first, Dr Patrick O'Meara was also once a guest on this program. So as a tribute to Dr O'Meara, we thought we would rebroadcast that interview to learn more about his life and career as it was 16 years ago. This interview was first broadcast in May 2005, and the host was former WFIU station manager Christina Kuzmych.

CHRISTINA KUZMYCH: Welcome to PROFILES, a weekly program focusing on people in the WFIU listening area. I'm Christina Kuzmych, and it's my pleasure to introduce to you our special PROFILES guest Patrick O'Meara. Dr. O'Meara serves as dean for international programs at Indiana University, and he's also professor of political science and professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs. He's published an extensive body of works, many of them about life, education and politics on the African continent. His knowledge of southern Africa and South Africa make him a prime candidate for expert testimony before congressional committees, as well as appearances on national media such as the PBS Lehrer Hour, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Voice of America and our own National Public Radio. Professor O'Meara is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Cross of St. George awarded in Spain, the Warsaw University Medal, the Amicus Poloniae from the embassy in Poland, and recently an honorary doctorate from the university in Thailand. Other awards also include the Thomas Hart Benton Medal, the IU Ryan Award and the IU Distinguished Service Award. And this is only the tip of the iceberg and, if I continue listing all of Patrick's honors awards and publications, he won't be able to get a word in edgewise. So I'll stop right there and say welcome to profiles, Patrick.

PATRICK O'MEARA: Thank you so much, Christina. I'm delighted to be here.

CHRISTINA KUZMYCH: Patrick, you were born in South Africa and you lived there at a critical time, when Apartheid was first challenged and later dismantled. What was it like growing up in this ultra-segregated environment?

PATRICK O'MEARA: I grew up in Cape Town, which was a very interesting city. It was a cosmopolitan city, but a city of enormous contrasts. In fact, I was there when the Apartheid regime was at its height. So not only was I interested in the disintegration of Apartheid, but also in its implementation, because when I was a graduate student at the University of Cape Town, I was very interested in politics. This was still a multiracial university and I had the opportunity to interact with people from different races in South Africa. It was a time when we were protesting - many of the students were protesting, many of the faculty were protesting the legislation, the very conscious implementation of race laws - everything from where people could live, where people could work, which people could marry. Race lines were clearly drawn. And so, in many ways, this etched my consciousness about all kinds of issues - issues of democracy, issues of social justice. Wasn't always easy, but it was a very interesting time for me to have studied at a major university where I had the privilege of also being taught by one of the great professors who had been banned by the South African government but who was allowed to teach classes. So it was an incredible window for me to watch transition and to watch implementation of Apartheid.

CHRISTINA KUZMYCH: Patrick, looking over the vast array of events that were taking place in South Africa at that time, are there any that stand out as pivotal or watershed events that in your mind changed history?

PATRICK O'MEARA: Well, I think there were many, because even when I left South Africa and came to Indiana University I continued to go back and to be very interested in South African politics. And the build-up of tension in South Africa was so clear. It was clear on many levels. The African National Congress, which was, in essence, a liberation movement, became very much a part of the struggle in South Africa, both internally and externally. But also young people - and I remember being in South Africa in 1976 when there was an uprising in Soweto, one of the big townships outside of Johannesburg. And who were the people who were involved in this big protest? The youth. These were the people in the schools. And so that was an important watershed - and there were others along the way - culminating in the awareness on the part of the South African government that it was a checkmate situation, that they had to negotiate, and that ultimately led to the release of Nelson Mandela and other members of different nationalist movements like the African National Congress. And this was a remarkable thing because I had actually believed that it could have been a chronic situation - a chronic political situation that would not even have changed in my lifetime. But it was amazing for me to see that there was this awareness - that things did reach a point where they could no longer continue. And the release of Mandela, for me, was a major event.

CHRISTINA KUZMYCH: How was South Africa different at face value, so to speak? In other words, if a person traveled through South Africa today, what would he or she see that is different in the everyday lives of people?

PATRICK O'MEARA: It's really tangible. There's still problems, let's face facts, but it is a remarkable transition. All of the race legislation has been removed from the statute books. Every effort is being made to implement affirmative action to enable Black South Africans to have a fairer participation in the society. There used to be censorship laws. All of these have been removed. Residential restrictions - all of this has been removed. The debate and the dialogue is exciting and interesting. There are problems, but there are great changes. Problems, of course, are, in many ways, a legacy of the past - of the injustices of the past. But it's still a very important, powerful nation on the African continent that is engaged in a major democratic experiment.

CHRISTINA KUZMYCH: Our guest is Dean Patrick O'Meara, dean of international programs and professor of political science at Indiana University. Patrick, let's look at this comparatively for a second. Both South Africa and the United States have struggled through major racial upheavals. How would you compare these two movements?

PATRICK O'MEARA: I think there were great similarities between the civil rights movement, segregation in the South - in fact, there were many scholars who compared these two societies. I think the big difference in some ways is that South Africa is still trying to bring about change and in many ways in the United States - I think we've reached a point where the race issue is not center stage any longer in the political spectrum. And so I think that's one of the big issues that I would see. The debate in South Africa, the discussions - the freedom of the press in South Africa is important and there are big issues that are brought forward. There are concerns, though. I mean, there are big concerns. There are concerns about potential corruption, which is true of any society. There are concerns among some of the white population that the pendulum has swung too far towards readdressing the wrongs of the past. But the debates, as I say, are what characterize the society - the high level of discussion, the important freedom of expression which is so different from what I encountered when I was a student.

CHRISTINA KUZMYCH: Are there any ideas about South Africa that you would like to dispel?

PATRICK O'MEARA: Oh, I think that the big problem is how we regard the African continent rather than how we regard South Africa. And there are big problems in many of the African countries. The problem of debt, the problems of ethnicity and the problems of constant changes in governments. I would like many Americans to realize that South Africa has actually been quite conservative in its fiscal policies - that the ANC, African National Congress, government has not implemented nationalization of the mines or other resources. It is a very middle of the road economic policy and we ought to be aware of that now. We ought to also be aware that there's crime in South Africa - there's a lot of crime. But there are very positive things, like the economic situation, like the freedom of the press that is there that we ought to be conscious of, and the kind of spirit that is in South Africa today. I don't think you can capture that easily by reading newspaper stories or looking at the news.

CHRISTINA KUZMYCH: We're talking to Dean Patrick O'Meara, dean of international programs at Indiana University, professor of political science and professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs. Patrick, let's take a break here and then move on to your work as dean of international programs. What would you like to share with our WFIU listeners?

PATRICK O'MEARA: I'd like you to hear a piece by a Black South African musician, a pianist. I heard him when I was quite young, performing in the city hall, Cape Town. And there's a wonderful disc of his called "Mantra Mode." Why do I want to play it? Because I really think there's a special sound to South African jazz, and Ibrahim Abdullah is the personification of that sound. So come back with me to my years as a student in Cape Town and listen to the kind of music that we used to listen to.

CHRISTINA KUZMYCH: So this is "Bayi Lam," which translates into the red blanket.


CHRISTINA KUZMYCH: "Bayi Lam," and the performer is Abdullah Ibrahim and his jazz group.


CHRISTINA KUZMYCH: That was "Bayi Lam" from Abdullah Ibrahim's CD titled "Mantra Mode." It was a special selection of our Profiles guest Dean Patrick O'Meara. And you're listening to Profiles, which is a weekly WFIU program where we meet people who make a difference in our lives and in our communities. I'm Christina Kuzmych and our special guest is Patrick O'Meara, dean of international programs at IU, Professor of Political Science and professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs. Patrick, how did you get from Cape Town, South Africa, to Bloomington, Indiana?

PATRICK O'MEARA: It's an interesting story. I had contacts here. My brother left South Africa and went to Princeton, where he did a Ph.D. and he taught at Princeton. And then he was invited by Father Hesburgh, who was president of Notre Dame, to come to Notre Dame to help develop a mathematics department. My parents had both died in quick succession. And I came on a visit after they died to South Bend, Indiana. While I was there, I heard more and more about the new African studies program at Indiana University and I was intrigued by it and it was a wonderful opportunity. So I came to Bloomington, where I proceeded to do a Ph.D. with Gus Liebenow, who was the founding father of African studies at IU and a professor of political science.

CHRISTINA KUZMYCH: At the time you came to IU, the university was still very much under the mentorship and under the philosophy of Herman B. Wells, who was a great proponent of international studies, international relations and anything having to do with world affairs. To what extent did he influence your thinking and the university's thinking?

PATRICK O'MEARA: I think Herman Wells was a tremendous influence on this university. He had a very, very specific vision for international, and that vision was that Indiana University students would be part of the wider world. That students from the small towns in Indiana would come on to this campus and would encounter international students, would encounter international art and music. And at the same time, Herman Wells believed that Indiana University should serve the wider world. Now, he was a great influence because this university could very easily have been yet another Midwestern university without the kinds of international array of opportunities. But just think of what we have here today. And that was part of Herman Wells' thinking. Indiana then as part of the world and our students drawn into it. Just think of the number of languages our students can now take at this university. It's mind-boggling. Think of the courage of Herman Wells in defending the right for Indiana University to have a Russian and East European center during the McCarthy era. There are wonderful stories of how Wells evaded the whole McCarthy investigation with our faculty. There's wonderful stories in how he held firm to the belief that a great university would teach topics that were unpopular at the time. And look at this remarkable center that we have here today. So everywhere we turn on this campus, there's Herman Wells' legacy in terms of international. He went to Afghanistan and helped set up a university. He went to Thailand. He was all over the place. He brought interesting people here. Herman Wells, I don't know if you're aware, was also on the staff of General Clay at the end of World War Two in Berlin, and helped to found the free university in Berlin, which is a great university and one with which we continue today to have a very special relationship. So it shows you one man with a vision can have a lasting impact on the lives of future generations.

CHRISTINA KUZMYCH: When it comes to international programs and international influence, Indiana University seems to have a finger in many pies and is all over the world. Can you give us some idea of the scope of IU's relationship in foreign countries?

PATRICK O'MEARA: We've been involved, even in - during my deanship, in a number of key international institution-building projects. When I first became dean, we were at the end of a significant project in Malaysia where we were helping to build a new university. Subsequently, we've been involved with Burmese refugees. We've been involved in a project that brought over 250 South Africans, after the transition, to the United States. And these people were mid-career lawyers, cabinet ministers, doctors, nurses, policemen. And these people went to different towns where they had hands-on experience - it was a remarkable opportunity. Currently, we're involved with two big projects and I'll be visiting them shortly, one in Macedonia, which is in the former Yugoslavia, where we're assisting with the development of Southeast Europe University. Five years ago, this was a hole in the ground. Now there are buildings and nearly 5,000 students and it's an important catalyst in the ethnic problems of Macedonia, where there are great tensions between the Albanian population and the Macedonian population, and it's to the credit of this university that the country is relatively stable. We're also involved in a significant project in Central Asia, in Kyrgyzstan, where we have spent several years assisting with the development of the American University of Central Asia. You know, Christina, it's a remarkable thing to visit that university. The language of instruction is English. You walk into the main lobby and CNN is on. There's a great library that's being part of our project. And the students from that university are learning new skills, new ways of teaching are being implemented. There is very little corruption at all in this university in a country where there are problems with corruption. So it's quite remarkable. And I would say it reminds me very much of our youth involvement during Herman Wells' era in Thailand where, 50 years ago, we helped to establish NIDA, the National Institute of Development Administration. And I was recently there and it was quite moving for me as I saw several thousand graduates receiving degrees, many of them going into the public sector. And I reflected on 50 years of these commencements and at these people going into the small towns and cities of Thailand where they influenced and changed, for the better, millions of lives. And I have that same feeling as I look at what's going on in Kyrgyzstan and what is going on today in Macedonia. The ripple effect of these students is enormous and we've played a small role in it, but an important formative role.

PATRICK O'MEARA: When you look back at some of these students who have come to Indiana University, are there some that perhaps stand out?

CHRISTINA KUZMYCH: Well, there's one or one or two. And, I mean, I keep referring to Herman Wells, but I must also say there have been other great presidents who have been committed. But I think he's so colorful and so formative that it's worth referring to. There's one in particular, and I think it's a marvelous story. And this was a man who came to Indiana University in the 1940s from Turkey - Kudzi Bedish. Kudzi Bedish was here and Wells, of course, was living in the Woodbourn house on the other side of campus. And he was invited by Wells and his mother to come for coffee one Saturday and Kudzi went had a very nice visit. And as he was leaving, Mrs. Wells said, we hope to see you soon again. And he said, yes, and he left. The next week he put on his suit and returned for another visit. And Wells and his mother seemed a little surprised, but welcomed him. And as he was leaving, Mrs. Wells said, hurry back. The third week as he was getting dressed an American said to him, you know, when people say things like hurry back and see you soon, they don't really mean it. You mustn't go back. So Kudzi didn't go back and two weeks went by and the phone rang and Mrs. Wells was saying, where are you? Are you sick? We haven't seen you. Well, it shows a lot of things. It shows the openness of Wells and the university at that time to international students. But it also is an indication of the welcoming spirit, as I've been talk - that I've been talking about.


MARK CHILLA: You're listening to Profiles on WFIU. Our spotlight today is on Dr. Patrick O'Meara, former vice president emeritus and professor emeritus of political science at Indiana University. Dr O'Meara passed away this week at age 83. Dr. O'Meara's work dealt with promoting the recruitment of international students to IU. And this interview with him, conducted by former WFIU station manager Christina Kuzmych, took place in 2005.

CHRISTINA KUZMYCH: Patrick, how has 9/11 and the subsequent homeland security related sanctions affected the international program here at IU?

PATRICK O'MEARA: It's a very serious issue that we have to all deal with. Immediately following 9/11, we saw many changes in terms of the issuance of visas. We saw homeland security issues coming to the fore that made it much more complicated for international students to get to the United States, especially from countries in the Middle East and countries with a population that was seen as potentially a problem. A lot of that has fallen into place. We've learned to cope with the requirements of the documentation through new technology, a program called CIVIS. But there are constraints now that remain, and I think we are facing a serious crisis throughout the United States in terms of our international student population. What's happening? Students have the impression that the United States is no longer as welcoming as it once was - that it's difficult to get into the U.S.. On a recent visit to Bangkok, it was clear to me as I spoke to everyone from Thai officials to people at the American embassy that the problem is actually much more to do with the perception than the reality. Now, what else has happened? We've seen Australians, Canadians, New Zealanders, and Britons - different universities in these countries actively attempting to recruit students. We're seeing a loss across the United States in international students. Why does that matter? It matters first and foremost because of this very diversity on our campuses. It's a crucial question. It also matters because a lot of these students perform valuable functions in teaching, in bringing new ideas. It's of great interest to me to see the medical school, even, where international students, doctors and others come and go, and we're going to lose so much if we don't find a way to address this. One of the ways we could address it is, of course, through more aggressive marketing, which we have to do - through more aggressive attempts to create websites and other kinds of marketing things. But we also have to use our alums. The alums of all of our universities are a particular gift to us. I'm always moved when I'm able to visit with our alums. I'm moved by the nostalgia and depth of feeling for this university. I'm moved by their loyalty, by their eagerness to help, and by their willingness to reach out to prospective students and guide them to come to the United States. So I do think it's a serious moment in the history of this country. The president of Indiana University, Adam Herbert, testified eloquently before the Foreign Relations Committee - Senator Lugar's committee on this important problem and made it clear that we would be significantly diminished as a university if this trend were not stemmed.

CHRISTINA KUZMYCH: How can it be stemmed?

PATRICK O'MEARA: I think we have to find many ways of doing it. I'm talking about ways of marketing. But I also think, on an official level, we've got to get more and more prominence to the fact that the United States is a welcoming place. Let me be specific about this. Press conferences when cabinet leaders, secretary of state and others are abroad, when the president's abroad - it's important to reaffirm that this is a place in which international visitors - and let's not only think of them as students, but international visitors, because these are as important - these are the scientists and the specialists on everything from language to culture to medicine we need to come here. And we need to reaffirm that they should come and we would be welcome if they came. See, I still believe that there is an edge to - in regard to a U.S. education. It still has great significance in people's minds. It is still the pinnacle for many people. Now, we've got to try and recapture that, and that's what I see as perhaps one of my key missions as dean.

CHRISTINA KUZMYCH: Technology's making a huge difference in education in general. How is it affecting you in your international program?

PATRICK O'MEARA: That's a wonderful question, because technology is transforming the international world. President Herbert, in his commencement address a few - for the May commencement referred to "The World Is Flat," Thomas Friedman's new book. And it is a remarkable book in many ways because the world is flat. And what does he mean by that? He means the kind of global interaction that is taking place. We are living in a world in which communication is incredibly quick, direct and immediate. I've been writing a speech of my own for a commencement address and part of my speech I'm referring to, when I was a student, what I didn't have. I didn't have cell phones. I didn't have the Internet. I didn't have color television. I was barely aware of jet travel because I was traveling in - with other kinds of airplanes. Jets really have come into their own in many ways in the very recent times. Our lives have been transformed. And Friedman is correct in "The World Is Flat" - that it's transformed on so many levels. Now, what about technology and what I do and what my colleagues do? How has that changed us? Well, think of the classes that our Global Center, for example, is organizing in Scandinavia, where the students are sitting in a university in Bloomington and at a university in Scandinavia and the instructor is teaching them at the same time. I think also of the potential with the music school where I heard a choir in Stockholm singing with a choir in Bloomington.

CHRISTINA KUZMYCH: Were they together?

PATRICK O'MEARA: They were together, Christina. Or of the inauguration of a new program with Sao Paulo and the music school where we had students at each end performing for each other. What a remarkable moment. Or a faculty member teaching a seminar for the university in Johannesburg, South Africa. Or technology now in my office where we can communicate with our partner institutions. We're really only at the beginning of this. Or think of technology even when I'm hiring someone and my staff and I will say, can you do an interview for a position? And the candidate is in London and we have the interview through interactive video and we can tell whether we want to hire that person or not. Now, we might want to bring them here, but sometimes it's enough just to use the technology. And then there's the whole question of the transferring of data on broadband research materials. Also, there's this incredible ability for us to share information. One of the big problems with African universities is the absence of library materials because it's so expensive. But do we have to send books now? Probably not. We're going to have virtual libraries of one sort or another. There is a facility on the Bloomington campus called The Cave, which has been funded through federal money. It's virtual reality. You can do all kinds of things in The Cave. You can explore the human body. It's all done in three-dimension large screens. You put on these three-dimensional glasses and you use a wand and you can explore all kinds of things. You can walk around the campus. Well, we had a visit from Mikhail Gorbachev, who we thought might enjoy seeing The Cave. We asked him if he would like to see something special and he said, yes, I would like to see the Mir space station. So on the Bloomington campus here was the last president - head of the USSR walking in outer space around the Mir station. Well, that in itself was remarkable. But a couple of weeks later, there was a delegation of rectors of America - of Russian universities who were visiting America. And I was asked to meet with them and I thought - to break the ice, I said, well, President Gorbachev was here a few weeks ago and they sort of stonily nodded. And then I said we took him through the wonders of new technology to outer space to visit the Mir station. A long silence followed until one of the rectors said, why didn't you leave him there? You know, it's a sign of a prophet without honor, but it was remarkable. And it also shows in many ways the reach of this university, both with Gorbachev, the rectors, and new technology.

CHRISTINA KUZMYCH: That's a wonderful story and a perfect opportunity for us to take a very short break and listen to some music. This is Profiles on WFIU and our guest is Patrick O'Mera, dean of International Programs at IU, professor of political science and professor at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs. Patrick, what would you like us to hear?

PATRICK O'MEARA: Well, since this is a bit of a nostalgic visit for me over time and space, when I was nine or 10, Virginia Zeani, who is one of the great singers, of course...


PATRICK O'MEARA: ...On the IU faculty, who was a prima donna at La Scala, came to South Africa with some great opera singers, and at the Alhambra Theater in Cape Town, my parents took me to hear her sing. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would get to know Virginia, who became a very good friend and a wonderful colleague at this university who, of course, is of Romanian ancestry. And so here we are with another international contact. But what was remarkable for me was to think of that early experience of mine and to think of her here as a colleague. So what I'd like to hear is a great aria from Verdi's "La Traviata" in which she sings "Fors' e Lui."

KRISTINA KUZMIC: So here is Virginia Zeani in her trademark role of Violetta.


KRISTINA KUZMIC: That was an excerpt from the Violetta's aria "Ah, Fors' e Lui" from Verdi's opera "La Traviata," and it was sung by one of the most famous Violettas of her time, IU's own Virginia Zeani. And you're listening to Profiles - our special guest, Dr. Patrick O'Meara, dean of international programs at Indiana University. Patrick, we talked a lot about your role as dean of the international programs here for Indiana University, but you're also on the faculty of the School of Public and Environmental Affairs. And can you tell us a little bit about your role in that capacity?

PATRICK O'MEARA: I think every administrator ought to teach.

KRISTINA KUZMIC: That's a famous saying (laughter).

PATRICK O'MEARA: Yes, because that's, after all, our primary mission. I cannot describe adequately the great joy of a class that's successful. Now, there are classes that are not successful, but when a class really works, there's a wonderful adrenaline rush. And so I love teaching, and I've had the good fortune to teach on several levels at this university. Before I became dean, I taught large introductory courses, sometimes with three or 400 students. Obviously, I can't do that now, but what I do do is teach a course on international development. I've just finished teaching it, and it's been a great joy for me because the students represent a geographic distribution. It's amazing when I look at these students from Azerbaijan, from Turkey, from Kenya who are gifted and who, in many cases are going to go back to their homelands changed by their experiences in the United States. In addition, I've had the good fortune to have in classes maturer students who have either been in the Peace Corps or have worked abroad. And so for me, teaching about international has been a significant part of my life. The growth that I've undergone every semester that I've taught has been remarkable, and I try to bring in - because it's both a political science and SPEA course - theory but also very practical things like the United Nations reports on such things as technology and development or a special UNDP report on the Arab world or human rights and human development. So for me, teaching is a very central part of the fabric of my academic life. By the way, I would be remiss to say that I also teach about ethics on occasions, and one of the last times I taught about ethics was to the Wells scholars. And this is not international ethics, but contemporary ethical questions. And what a remarkable group of students those were, where not only did they come prepared, but in the previous week, they had read things I had never read and they often assumed that I had read. And they never had to be urged to speak. In fact, we had to fight for space so that everyone could be heard in the class. What a great thing to have these students in our midst as well. In addition, I do continue to work with doctoral students, and I have a number of them, and I've chaired a number of doctoral committees as a faculty member. And that's important because they go back, in different ways, to different parts of the world and influence their countries in addition to those who remain in the United States. I can think of students of mine who have gone back, one in particular who is who was part of a constitutional commission. Another student was vice president of a university. And I also think of the women students, remarkable women who've studied at Indiana University, international women. Recently in Thailand, one of the students who had attended IU is now a leader in terms of women's rights and a remarkable woman in terms of the parliamentary opposition in Thailand. I'd like to share one other reminiscence with you of a great judge from the Philippines, Judge Romero, who attended Indiana University and who, when she first came here, was at the law school. And she told me when she was receiving an award how difficult it was for her to speak up in class because she wasn't expected to do that in the Philippines. But she said she soon learned and she got a taste for it and she enjoyed the give and take of discussion in the American classroom. And she said this held her in very good stead when she became a judge and she had to take on the Marcos regime in the Philippines.

KRISTINA KUZMIC: Patrick, we talked about your life in South Africa, your work as dean and professor. But what about Patrick O'Meara outside of these capacities? What interests you?

PATRICK O'MEARA: Oh, a lot of things interest me. The cultural life of Bloomington interests me. I said to you, I grew up in Cape Town at the cross currents of so many cultures and so many different beliefs and cultural activities from a symphony orchestra to great theater - and it was political theater, and I enjoyed going to many places in Cape Town - to interesting art, which was very much a part - painting and sculpture. Many of my friends were artists in South Africa. All of these were very formative parts of my life, and they remain such. I remain deeply interested in music. I remain deeply interested in art and in literature. And I'm particularly pleased that the Lilly Library, for example, has materials of some of the really important South African writers. Nobel Prize winner Nadine Gordimer's papers are here and others. And I see that as a very exciting connection, both with my past, my present and my future.

KRISTINA KUZMIC: Patrick, it seems we've only just started, and we're already at the end of the hour. What would you like to leave us with? What music in particular would you like us to hear?

PATRICK O'MEARA: Well, your last question was about me, and I'm going to choose a piece of music that I think is both cerebral and beautiful and also that the soloist is someone who is connected to IU. The Elgar Cello Concerto is one of my favorite pieces of music. The soloist is Janos Starker. I think it's a beautiful piece of music. I think it's a profound piece of music, but I also think it brings us back to where we started, to Indiana University,

KRISTINA KUZMIC: So here is the Adagio movement from Edward Elgar's "Cello Concerto in E minor, Opus 85," and Janos Starker is the performer. The Philharmonic Orchestra is conducted by Leonard Slatkin, and our special guest has been Patrick O'Meara, dean of international programs at Indiana University, professor of Political Science and professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs. Patrick, thank you so much for dropping in and telling us a little bit about your role at Indiana University and how you and Indiana University make this a truly special town to live in. Thank you so much.

PATRICK O'MEARA: Thank you, Kristina.

KRISTINA KUZMIC: For Profiles, I'm Kristina Kuzmic, and thanks for listening.


MARK CHILLA: That was former WFIU station manager Christina Kuzmych in 2005 interviewing Dr. Patrick O'Meara on an episode of Profiles. Dr O'Meara passed away earlier this week at age 83. As I alluded to earlier, Dr. Patrick O'Meara was also a frequent host of this program, interviewing an array of guests with connections to both Indiana and beyond. So finally today, we thought it would be a fitting tribute to Patrick to share an excerpt from the last interview he conducted for "Profiles" on a subject that he cared about deeply, the bicentennial of Indiana University. Last year, he sat down with four key figures who undertook different tasks in that monumental project and spoke with them all at once about their hard work, their dedication and the memories of IU that they will carry forward.

PATRICK O'MEARA: This has been a special year for Indiana University. It's the 200th birthday of this great school. And on this program today, there are four guests, each of whom has played an important role in organizing the bicentennial of Indiana University. I'm going to start with Kelly Kish. We ought to get to know Kelly because she has had a remarkable career at IU. She's the deputy chief of staff for the Indiana University president, Michael McRobbie. And she is, to all intents and purposes, the inspiration, guide and source of the bicentennial celebration. Kelly, you know, I read something about you. It said, one of the unique things about the president's office is that we don't do the same thing two days in a row. Therefore, our jobs are constantly evolving, and that's the most enjoyable challenge of the job. And of course, working for the president never fails to surprise. So does this apply to the bicentennial?

KELLY KISH: (Laughter) Well, thank you, Patrick. And thank you for that very generous but exaggerated...


KELLY KISH: ...Introduction of my role in the bicentennial. It absolutely applies to the bicentennial and has since we began in 2016 really picking up steam. And every day of our program has brought different personalities, different audiences, different projects and events to the forefront of the discussion. So it has been really an ever-changing program, and it continues to evolve. Our plans have been set for some time, but the execution of those plans changes on a daily basis.

PATRICK O'MEARA: And you've loved it?

KELLY KISH: Every minute.

PATRICK O'MEARA: Jim Capshew. I've known Jim since he was an undergraduate, and he played a very important role in a historic figure's life in the life of Herman Wells. And I would see Jim because of my close friendship with someone who lived next door to the chancellor. Jim is the university historian of the Historical Marker Committee, and he leads IU's efforts to coordinate publications of writing related to the history of the bicentennial. So in many ways, he is indeed the university historian. Jim, as the university historian, you've also been a significant part of the bicentennial celebration. Tell us what you've actually done.

JAMES CAPSHEW: Well, starting four years ago with Kelly, we planned a lot of the bicentennial programs. I'm in charge of the historical marker program. I run a committee - that's the nominations and then go through the text development and then turn it over to the president's office for the installation. I also head the Council of University Historians. Each campus has a historian for their campus, and so you meet every quarter to talk about historical projects and issues and challenges and things, anything that needs to be done.

PATRICK O'MEARA: It's really an exciting role for a historian because what you've done has really had enormous practical implications.


PATRICK O'MEARA: A lot of people have been following everything, so I'm delighted.

JAMES CAPSHEW: Yeah. I've really enjoyed being a public historian for the last couple of years.

PATRICK O'MEARA: Yeah. It's been wonderful.


PATRICK O'MEARA: Gary Dunham is the director of the Indiana University Press and also a digital publishing leader in the field. He's an anthropologist. And Gary, above all, before coming to IU, you worked with the American Speech Language Hearing Association with nearly 200,000 members. So how does that all fit together - anthropology, speech and working with the press?

GARY DUNHAM: It's all about giving voice and finding voice. I think that's the most important - and that's been a part of my life's work as well, to give voice to those who need to be heard. And that's why I was really excited to be a publisher because I've been able to quietly, behind the scenes, being able to make available people's experiences and lives that need to be heard.

PATRICK O'MEARA: And, of course, for the bicentennial, you've played a pivotal role in another way of recording the bicentennial.

GARY DUNHAM: That's absolutely right. When I arrived here, which was six years ago, I felt like in many ways the university was silent. We didn't have a lot of recent history about the university. And I think the series that we have, which is called "Well House Books" and working with my good colleagues here, has been able to give voice to the past and also those who are here now.

PATRICK O'MEARA: Jeeyea Kim, you are in the School of Art and Architecture and Design and, above all, you're the winner of the bicentennial medal design. But let's tell people a little bit more about you. You were born in Seoul?


PATRICK O'MEARA: And then you ended up at UCLA, right?


PATRICK O'MEARA: And what did you do there?

JEEYEA KIM: So I was born in Seoul. I studied architecture for my bachelor's degree there. And I ended up going to exchange student program in Chicago, studied architecture at IIT - Illinois Institute of Technology. And then I was thinking about - I was really inspired by the city, I was thinking about going to grad school, and I applied architecture master's degree program at UCLA. And that's where I studied.



PATRICK O'MEARA: And you've really put a lot of thought into the medal, haven't you?

JEEYEA KIM: I did. I - as soon I saw the poster that - open competition of IU bicentennial medal - student, faculty, even residents of, like, Indiana welcome to design the medal, I've been thinking about my experience of understanding the culture of IU and how I can represent the history of the past and present and the future in one piece of metal. But I've been thinking how to do it, and then I eventually created sort of a - I say it's a three-dimensional diagram of IU's, you know, interconnected system.

PATRICK O'MEARA: So, memories - what memory do you have that you want to leave the audience with of working on the medal? What's your strongest memory?

JEEYEA KIM: I'd say it was really strong memory of visiting the metal craft because I never really dealt with metal before. And then, you know, seeing that different kind of material quality that I've never...

PATRICK O'MEARA: Was excited.

JEEYEA KIM: ...Yeah, it was really exciting. And it was new territory to me.

PATRICK O'MEARA: And you're also breaking a new territory because you're teaching architecture.

JEEYEA KIM: Yes, correct. This - from this semester.

PATRICK O'MEARA: Which is new for the university.

JEEYEA KIM: Yes. Yes. Yes.

PATRICK O'MEARA: Gary, what memories?

GARY DUNHAM: I would say it was probably after about a year and a half of working on the "Well House" series, there was one day I realized that I had fallen in love with Indiana University. That doesn't happen to me. It's usually a place to work. And so we went out and we bought a house for the first time. I've never owned a house until working here.


PATRICK O'MEARA: All right, Jim?

JAMES CAPSHEW: My memory is about the state wide system of campuses - that I've been able to go to all the campuses multiple times, meet people - leadership, the faculty, the students - and to see the role of the regional campuses and IUPUI in Bloomington in new ways - that they do provide a huge uplift to their communities. They provide educational opportunities. And it's a point of pride with the whole IU system - that that's really important to think about the whole system of campuses. We're one university, but we do have several campuses.

PATRICK O'MEARA: Kelly, happy memories?

KELLY KISH: Absolutely. There's just so much going on that it's hard to sort of pause every now and then and think about where we've been and what we've been trying to achieve. I think, for me, now, being an administrator for the last 15 years, it's hard to get a lot of historical work done in my own scholarship. So the opportunities that I've had to do little dips of research and then to talk to audiences around the country, alumni predominantly, and to try and challenge some of their assumptions and perceived ideas about the history of the university - those are the most enjoyable interactions that we have when we can help an audience think about this institution in a new way, think about new models, perhaps new icons that they should be learning about and knowing more about. And so those are the dialogues and the conversations I think that will have the most meaning for me long term.


PATRICK O'MEARA: This is Profiles on WFIU. I'm Patrick O'Meara. Our guests today have been Kelly Kish, who has worked on the administration of the bicentennial, Jim Capshew, who's the university historian and who has worked on the historical dimensions of the bicentennial, Gary Dunham, who is the director of the Indiana University Press, and Jeeyea Kim, who had the remarkable vision to design a beautiful bicentennial medal. Thank you.

JEEYEA KIM: Thank you.

GARY DUNHAM: Thank you.                                


KELLY KISH: Thanks, Patrick.

MARK CHILLA: That was Dr. Patrick O'Meara in April 2020, speaking to several of the organizers of Indiana University's bicentennial. Dr. O'Meara passed away this week at age 83. You can find an archive of this conversation on our website, as well as many more conversations Dr. O'Meara conducted with people over the years, including former Indiana Congressman Lee Hamilton, singer Sylvia McNair, international correspondent Elaine Monaghan and many, many others. That's all at Profiles is a production of WFIU Public Radio out of Indiana University. The executive producer is John Bailey. Our studio engineer is Mike Paskash. And this episode was compiled with help from Aaron Cain. I'm Mark Chilla, and I hope that you'll join us next week for another conversation on Profiles.


Dr. Patrick O'Meara

(Chris Meyer/Indiana University)

Dr. Patrick O’Meara, a key figure in Indiana University's international engagement and a frequent contributor to WFIU's Profiles, passed away this week at age 83.

Dr. O’Meara was an author, political science scholar, and a Vice President Emeritus and Professor Emeritus at Indiana University. Originally from South Africa, Dr. O’Meara worked for years as dean of International Programs at IU and helped shape IU’s international strategic plan, which increased opportunities for students to study abroad, and recruited international students to Bloomington’s campus.

Dr. O’Meara also graced our airwaves here at WFIU on many occasions, most frequently as a host of this program Profiles. He sat in the host’s chair over 20 times, interviewing luminaries from many different fields, including a former congressman, several ambassadors, musicians, journalists, economists, higher ed administrators, and a pair of Serbian Royals.

On this episode, we pay tribute to Dr. O’Meara with a rebroadcast of an interview from 2005 where he was a guest, discussing his work at Indiana University. We'll also hear excerpt of the last interview he conducted as a host, talking with several organizers of Indiana University's Bicentennial celebration in 2020.

Past Profiles Episodes Featuring Dr. Patrick O'Meara

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