Updated: June 20, 2013 4:48PM
TERRE HAUTE — A new interactive display that documents the lives and accomplishments of Indiana’s politically prominent Bayh family has opened at Indiana State University, the western Indiana school linked to several generations of the clan.
About 250 Indiana Democrats and others attended Friday’s dedication of the Bayh Family Legacy Wall, which toasts the family’s accomplishments in education, public policy and service.
The interactive wall at the Terre Haute university’s Bayh School of Education chronicles four generations of the west-central Indiana family whose connections with ISU go back more than 100 years.
Former Indiana governor and U.S. senator Evan Bayh represented his family at the event and told the gathering he was touched by the display of his family’s accomplishments.
“I’m very humbled by this and my entire family is,” Bayh said.
He said his 85-year-old father, former U.S. Sen. Birch Bayh, was unable to attend the event because of health reasons and regretted that he could not make it.
“He’s with us in spirit and he wanted me to give you his heartfelt thank you and regards to each and every one of you,” Evan Bayh said.
Kate Ward, who was Birch Bayh’s grandmother, attended what was then called Indiana State Normal School, as did her daughter, Leah Ward Hollingsworth, who was Birch Bayh’s mother.
The former senator’s father, Birch Bayh Sr., served as the school’s first athletic director and as a coach for multiple sports.
And both Birch Bayh and his wife, Marvella, attended Indiana State Teachers College in the 1950s.
The interactive display has a series of videos, including features on Birch and Marvella Bayh’s marriage and Birch Bayh meeting with Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Jimmy Carter.
Another shows him jogging with female runners to commemorate the passage of Title IX of the Education Act of 1972. The measure, which he authored, has led to greater opportunities for women in professional and graduate degree programs and in athletics.
There are also videos from Evan Bayh’s time as governor and senator.
Evan Bayh said education has been a priority for the family because “it’s the best ticket to a better life, particularly for kids who come from less fortunate backgrounds.”
The installation was paid for by donations from more than 70 individuals and organizations, including a lead gift from the Herbert Simon Family Foundation.