Thursday, April 26, 2007

Ceremony at Ball State University’s Indianapolis Center Announces the Bowen Center for Public Affairs and the Availability of the Otis R. Bowen Papers

The papers of Otis R. Bowen, M.D., two-term governor of Indiana and former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services under President Ronald Reagan, were officially opened for public access during a ceremony held at the Ball State Indianapolis Center honoring Dr. Bowen on March 23, 2007. Dr. Bowen premiered the collection opening by pressing a button to activate a “virtual ribbon cutting” that was created by the Ball State University Teleplex using images from the Bowen Papers.

Ball State University President Jo Ann M. Gora presided over the ceremony that also launched the new Bowen Center for Public Affairs to honor “Doc” Bowen for his years of public service to the state and nation. During her remarks, Gora stated that the gift of the Bowen Papers to Ball State University “… offers a tremendously rich resource for historical, political, and cultural study.”

President Gora described how the papers and the center “promise to raise the collective levels of both our civic literacy and community involvement, at the same time they preserve for posterity the life’s work of an individual who to this day, less than a month removed from his 89th birthday, remains the very embodiment of civic responsibility.”

A video, online exhibit, and Web page were available on computers at the event for the approximately 70 attendees to view and use to learn more about the Bowen Papers that are being preserved and made accessible in the University Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections. Maren Read, Assistant Archivist for Manuscript Collections, developed a Web site ( that includes a finding aid, chronology, biography, virtual exhibit, and video.

Maren and Robert Seaton, University Libraries’ Web Developer in Library Information Technology Services (LITS), created the virtual exhibit featuring photographs and information on Dr. Bowen’s career and his collection.
Alexandru Amira, Part-time Desktop Computer Technician in LITS, produced the video available on the Web site that includes interviews with Political Science professors Sally Jo Vasicko and Ray Scheele, who will co-direct the new Bowen Center.

In addition to the virtual exhibit, an extensive onsite exhibit of the Bowen materials is available for viewing on Bracken Library’s second floor through June 31, 2007.

For more information on the Bowen Papers, contact John B. Straw, Ball State University Libraries’ Director for Archives and Special Collections,, (765) 285-5078.

This newsletter article first appeared in The Library Insider 5(4): 6; April 2007.

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