Page 33 - IU Southeast Summer 2012 Mag

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IU Southeast
Summer 2012 31
meet the board
ouglas Bates (B.A. ’89, J.D. ‘92) may have been
unsure of what he wanted to study, but he
was always certain of where he wanted to
“I wanted to be part of the IU system,” Bates
said. “I wanted my diploma to say IU on it.”
Today, Bates remains just as passionate about
Indiana University Southeast and the entire IU system,
having served two terms as president of IU Southeast’s
Alumni Board.
“IU Southeast is a smaller environment that offers every
possible advantage to students,” Bates said. “It’s an
incredible asset to the whole community and region.”
A native of Memphis, Ind., Bates started as a freshman at IU
Southeast in 1984, just two weeks after marrying his wife,
Elizabeth (B.S. ‘89).
“She wanted to study education and IU Southeast has such
a strong program, and I just wanted to study everything,”
Bates said.
One area of study soon pulled ahead of others, however.
“I really started to take a deep interest in history,” he said. “I
always liked history but it was more than that.”
One of his professors, Frank Thackeray, noticed.
“He pulled me aside and said, ‘You know what, Bates, I
think you should major in history’,” Bates said. “That really
changed things for me. It was a focus. Professors at IU
Southeast do that for their students. It’s small enough that
they take an interest.”
Alongside his studies, Bates got involved with the campus’
student government, serving as president of the group.
“My entire time at IU Southeast – from the classes to student
government – it really was a great experience,” Bates said. “I
can’t really imagine a better experience.”
Bates graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1989, having
majored in history and minored in political science.
But he wasn’t finished with his education or with IU yet.
He started law school at the Maurer School of Law at IU,
graduating three years later in 1992 with his law degree.
Bates immediately got a job working for Stites and Harbison
in Jeffersonville, where he continues to practice law. The
firm includes 250 lawyers who practice everything from
matters to
corporate law.
“About 40
percent of what
I do is aviation
or defense
cases,” Bates
said, explaining
he represents
airlines, aircraft
and airports.
“The rest is
mainly products
liability defense
and business
Bates and his
wife live in
with their three
sons: Nathan,
who will be
studying at IU
Bloomington next year; Noah, 16; and Isaac, 11.
As busy as life is, Bates said he couldn’t resist when he
was called in 1998 by Scott Tyler (B.A. ‘88, J.D. ‘91), then
president of IU Southeast’s Alumni Board.
“Of course I wanted to serve,” he said. “I had such a positive
experience. It really changed my life, and I knew I wanted to
get back involved.”
Bates served as board president from 2000 to 2001. He
rotated off the board but was called to service again in 2009,
and he was again elected president in 2010-11.
While Bates enjoys the events the board plans, his favorite
part is really just getting to talk about what IU Southeast
means to anyone who will listen.
“I will always talk to people about what a good thing we have
here with IU Southeast,” Bates said. “We really need the
support of all alumni and the community. We are just so very
lucky to have this institution.”
Past Alumni Board president continues to marvel at
the gift of IU Southeast
By Sara Cunningham