On This Day in IUPUI History: September 7, 1980

September 7, 1980 

On this day, dignitaries dedicated a new addition to the Veterans Administration Medical Center on West 10th Street, adjacent to the IU Medical Center. 

Among the speakers at the ceremony was Richard L. Roudebush (1918-1995), a former Indiana congressman and administrator of Veterans Affairs in the administration of President Gerald R. Ford. Also on the podium was IU School of Medicine dean Steven C. Beering.

The new addition, built at the cost of $9.5 million, accommodated new research facilities along with various clinical services. The IU School of Medicine managed the VA hospital's clinical services, affording important clinical and research opportunities to school faculty, staff, and students. In turn, IUSM expertise benefited visiting veterans. To honor the former VA administrator, the hospital was later named the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center.

The Veterans Administration (now the Department of Veterans Affairs) greatly expanded after World War Two, during which many millions served in the armed forces. Indianapolis was selected as a site for a large VA hospital. Much bickering over the location of the building was aired in Indianapolis newspaper columns. VA policy at the time was to locate near existing medical centers to draw on research and clinical synergies. The administration of President Harry S. Truman finally selected the site for a 500-bed facility over other options. The city of Indianapolis donated the land along White River and Fall Creek. Planning the hospital building began in 1947; the facility opened to patients in 1952, in the middle of the Korean conflict, another war in which millions of men and women served. 

Aerial view of VA Hospital, 1989 UA24-002960n

To learn more about the relationship between the IU School of Medicine and the Roudebush VA Hospital, please contact IUPUI Special Collections and Archives speccoll@iupui.edu.

Updated Sep 07, 2018 by setowne