Campus bids Bichelmeyer farewell

Aprile Rickert


If Barbara Bichelmeyer, outgoing interim chancellor for the 2013-14 school year has ever made an enemy at IU Southeast, they have yet to speak up.

More than 70 faculty, staff and students turned out Wednesday to wish her well on her return to her post in University Administration, and to express their gratitude for what she has done for the campus.

In an emotionally charged speech, Bichelmeyer thanked everyone who helped her lead during the past year.

SONY DSC“I need you to know that I am incredibly thankful for this year,” Bichelmeyer said.  “I need you to know that I learned tremendous things this year, that I grew phenomenally this year, that my own spirit and heart were reawakened in ways this year because of your willingness to allow me to lead in the manner and the style which I believed I could lead. This is a reciprocal relationship and anything we did, we did together.”

Bichemeyer’s term at IU Southeast will effectively end June 30. The following day, Ray Wallace will step into his position as chancellor.

“You have a great incoming chancellor,” Bichelmeyer said.  “And your incoming chancellor and I have a great working relationship already and I know that the opportunities for this campus to continue to grow and thrive are tremendous and great.”

Jean Abshire, associate professor of political science, said she turned out to honor Bichelmeyer and thank her for the contributions she has given to the IU Southeast campus.

“I think she’s been wonderful,” Abshire said. “I think we really needed a change and I think she has been really effective in helping us take those first steps.”

Channell Barbour, associate director for Student Life, said she too felt she needed to come support Bichelmeyer and say ‘Thank you.’

“I think Barb has done an excellent, phenomenal job here over the past year and I just needed to come support her and I just needed to tell her ‘thank you’ for bringing trust back to the university.”

Roger McClellan, Senior Desktop A/V Technician for UITS, expressed his appreciation for Bichelmeyer’s work.

“Barb has been amazing to work with over the past year and I just couldn’t let her go without letting her know how much she meant to me and just how great it’s been to be able to assist her in her time here,” McClellan said. “She’s such an awesome person just in general—you don’t even see her as an administrator. You see her more as a friend.”

John Applegate, executive vice president for University Academic Affairs, said in an email that he was proud of the work Bichelmeyer put into leading IU Southeast through a transitional period.

“I think she did an outstanding job of preparing the campus for Dr. Wallace’s arrival,” Applegate said. “She built lots of bridges to internal and external constituencies, she made a number of hard choices, and she handled several difficult situations with integrity, creativity and hard work. I simply cannot say enough good things about her performance as interim chancellor.”

Applegate said he is pleased to be able to work with Bichelmeyer again when she returns to her role as Executive Associate Vice President for University Academic and Regional Campus Affairs and Senior Director of the Office of Online Education.

“I am absolutely thrilled to have her back in my office,” Applegate said. “Her year at IU Southeast has clearly given her a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing regional campuses, and I expect that we will make full use of that in the months and years ahead. I feel that she did a superb job, which will strengthen both the campus and the university in years to come.”

Bichelmeyer said she wanted the IU Southeast campus community to realize how important it is.

“All I hope that you take away from this year, that you continue to hold onto, is that you have a phenomenal place, you are phenomenal people, you have a phenomenal important role that you play in this region and in the state of Indiana, and it’s just a matter of doing that,” Bichelmeyer said.  “And however I can continue to support you, I will support you.”SONY DSC