Leadership for a Lifetime

The Indiana University Student Foundation provides opportunities for philanthropic leadership to thousands of undergraduate students, primarily by sponsoring campus events that foster enthusiasm and support for IU.

As the student arm of the IU Foundation, the IUSF raises money to fund student scholarships, including an emergency fund—an effort largely supported by the Little 500 bicycle race. IUSF students plan and execute the nation’s largest collegiate bike race every spring on the IU Bloomington campus. With the help of advisors and campus officials, the IUSF provides the university community with a diverse array of activities that serve both students and faculty.

These meaningful undergrad experiences help create loyal, involved IU alumni who support the university for the rest of their lives.

History and Tradition

Former IU Foundation President Howdy Wilcox founded the IU Student Foundation in 1950 to raise awareness of the IU Foundation and its mission. “The IU Foundation simply had no identity on campus, neither with the students nor the faculty,” Wilcox said. “I wrote a letter to President [Herman B] Wells recommending that we form a Student Foundation Committee and charge that committee with spreading the word.”

On a fall day in 1950, Wilcox happened upon an informal bicycle race on campus between residents of Hickory Hall. The cyclists were racing around the dorm building as fellow students cheered. This was an aha moment for Wilcox, whose father was a star in the early days of car racing—even winning the Indianapolis 500 in 1919. He pitched the idea of a bicycle race to the IU Student Foundation as a way to raise scholarship money for working students and to build lifelong support for IU. The rest is history.