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Public memorial service happening Wednesday for Title IX author Birch Bayh

Things wouldn't be how they are now at Purdue University without Bayh.

Posted: May. 1, 2019 6:01 AM
Updated: May. 1, 2019 7:35 AM

INDIANAPOLIS (WLFI) — A public memorial service is taking place in Indianapolis Wednesday to honor former U.S. Senator Birch Bayh. He died from pneumonia on March 14th at 91-years-old.

Bayh is best known for being the lead sponsor on Title IX in 1972 and things wouldn't be how they are now at Purdue University without him. 

He made an impact on colleges all over the country just like Purdue. Title IX is a landmark law that prohibits gender discrimination in education. That law's passage came when women earned less than ten percent of all medical and law degrees.

Now, thanks to Bayh, more than half of students receiving bachelor's and graduate degrees are women. 

The Terre Haute native graduated from Purdue's College of Agriculture in 1951, and it was only three years after when he entered in politics, winning his first election to the state legislature.

Bayh's family is expected to attend Wednesday's service, including his son Evan. Evan followed in his father's political footsteps, becoming Indiana's governor and later a U.S. senator. Katherine, Birch's widow, is planning to read a poem written by her husband.

Purdue President Mitch Daniels been invited to speak on behalf of the university. He told News 18 he will be proud to testify to him being a great alum, but he also came to admire Bayh in a variety of ways on a personal level.

"More and more over time I've come to appreciate the principle and the courage he brought to express in his point of view," Daniels said.

Daniels is also remembering Bayh being a co-author in the Bayh-Dole act of 1980. That allows universities to earn patents for inventions through its research.

"I think he'd be very proud that Purdue, today, is a national leader in doing just that...giving birth to new companies and new innovations all the time," said Daniels.

Governor Holcomb and House Speaker Brian Bosma are among many others who will be attending.

The public service is set for noon Wednesday in the south atrium of the Indiana Statehouse. Attendees should enter from the Capitol Street or Senate Avenue entrances.

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