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Get to know IU President Pamela Whitten

IU President Pamela Whitten cheers on the Hoosiers at Memorial Stadium. Photo courtesy of IU Athl... IU President Pamela Whitten cheers on the Hoosiers at Memorial Stadium. Photo courtesy of IU Athletics. Stepping into the role of Indiana University’s 19th president on July 1, Pamela Whitten was inaugurated last week in a ceremony on the IU Bloomington campus that was celebrated with festivals and watch parties on IU campuses across the state.

She has committed the university to its core missions: providing an exceptional educational experience for students; pursuing world-class research, scholarship and creative activity; and making meaningful contributions to the state, nation and world.

But if you’re like us here at IU Today, you’re also curious about the personal side of the president. We sat down with her recently to get to know her better:

Question: It’s Saturday morning and the weather is perfect. Where are you and what are you doing?

Answer: Depends on the time of year. If it’s summer, then I am out starting a hike somewhere. If it’s fall, I’m getting ready for a football game.

Q: What books are currently on your nightstand? And do you prefer an e-reader or book?

A: I am currently reading “Facing the Mountain” and just ordered “The Fortune Men.” I’ve morphed into primarily a nonfiction reader, though I usually have both a fiction and nonfiction book going at the same time. I used to read on my iPad, but I found myself getting interrupted when an email came through, so I went back to books. I do read on my phone, though, and read multiple newspapers online.

Q: What was the first concert that you attended? Do you still have the T-shirt?

A: Billy Joel; I don’t think I ever bought a T-shirt.

Q: What have you enjoyed about cheering on IU teams?

A: The fact that they are our students. It’s one thing to randomly root for a team, but when that team is comprised of our family — they are IU students; they are us — the wins are all the sweeter because they are people that are near and dear to us.

Q: What do you turn to at the end of a challenging day to relieve stress?

A: FaceTime with my kids and grandkids, read a book, have some good chocolate, chat with my husband. I married my college sweetheart when we were 21. We have three grown children, and two lovely grandchildren.

Q: What’s one skill or talent you wish you had?

A: I would love to be musical. Though I am not shy about singing, I really can’t carry a tune.

Q: What’s your favorite food? And have you tried an Indiana tenderloin yet?

A: I don’t have a favorite — I eat almost everything, and have been checking out the wonderful variety of restaurants in both Bloomington and Indianapolis. And I’ve heard about the famous Hoosier tenderloin, but I haven’t tried one yet. It’s definitely on my bucket list.