Wednesday, January 18, 2006

IUbessions; or, the College President as Movie Star

I have a couple of degrees from IU-Bloomington, so whenever it's in the news, I read about it. I'm not really that interested in this particular story (the current president, who has not been popular, will leave in two years and has recommended eliminating the position of chancellor at the Bloomington campus). But the president/chancellor thing makes me think of Herman B. Wells,



former IU president and permanent IU icon, and makes me ask this question:

Has any other university president appeared in so many movies?

OK, sure, he's only been in two. Once, he played himself. (That would be Breaking Away, filmed in Bloomington.) Once, he was a character portrayed by someone else. (That would be Kinsey, not filmed in Bloomington.)

And, even beyond the Herman B Wells question, has any other college town figured so prominently in pop culture? In addition to the two previously mentioned movies, there's also A Season on the Brink, featuring Bobby-Knight-as-character.

And, now that I look at the credits for that movie, I see that former IU President John Ryan was a character in that movie, and he also played himself in Breaking Away. So I guess he and Wells are tied for the honor of most movie appearances by a university president. IU and Bloogmington are the real stars.

All right, then. That's all I have to say. But, really, I'm asking: is it just my own bias toward IU, or is it really the case that it has an unusually high profile in pop culture?

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