Artistic Expression: ISUE Independence Cartoons

*Post written by James Wethington, library assistant of the University Archives and Special Collections.

In the latest edition of “Artistic Expression”, we discuss cartoons; however, they are just any ordinary cartoons. They are cartoons from ISUE (Indiana State University-Evansville) when they fought for independence as a separate university (later becoming USI) in the 1970’s.

ISUE Independence Cartoon: Left to Right: Wright Administration Building with banner, "1974 ISUE Independence" as a man who resembles Zeus holding a thunderbolt labeled, "Senator Phillip Gutman".

ISUE Independence Cartoon, 1974. Source: Creative and Print Services Collection.

The establishment of Indiana State University-Evansville occurred in 1965. It was first located at the Centennial School, on the west side of Evansville, Indiana. In 1969, the first buildings opened serving 1,617 students with eighteen classrooms and seven labs (“USI timeline”, 2015). According to Robert Roeder (n.d.), “To be an independent university, the campus was required to have a library”. In 1971, the new library was opened.

Throughout the 1970’s, the Southern Indiana Higher Education, Inc. (SIHE) board brought up creating student housing at ISUE to the board of trustees at Indiana State University; however, the board rejected it and “people felt the trustees were acting politically and not in the interests of the development of the Evansville campus” (University of Southern Indiana, p. 29).

Independence Cartoon 2

ISUE Independence Cartoon, n.d. Source: Creative and Print Services Collection.

As ISUE continued to grow, “… members of the Indiana House of Representatives and the Indiana Senate, continued to make their colleagues from throughout the state aware of the importance of independence for the young, rapidly-growing institution in Evansville” (University of Southern Indiana, p. 30). Finally, victory was at hand: on April 16, 1985, Indiana Governor and Evansville-native, Robert Orr, signed Senate Bill 206 on campus of newly christened, University of Southern Indiana (University of Southern Indiana, p. 30, 55).

For more information on the history of the University of Southern Indiana, watch Shaping the Future: The University of Southern Indiana documentary or read Shaping the Future, located in the University Archives and Special Collections.


Roeder, R. (n.d.). The shaping of a fledgling university. Retrieved from

University of Southern Indiana (2015). Shaping the future. Evansville, Indiana: M.T. Publishing Company, Inc.

USI timeline (n.d.). Retrieved from

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