Assembly Hall to carry Simon Skjodt name after major renovation

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Indiana University's Assembly Hall will be renamed Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall after the school uses a $40 million gift from IU graduate and Indianapolis philanthropist Cindy Simon Skjodt to renovate the facility, IU announced Thursday afternoon.

The donation, the largest ever given to the IU Athletics Department, will fund major improvements to the 42-year-old Assembly Hall, which plays host to the university’s basketball games.

The gift also will launch the school's ambitious $150 million "Catching Excellence: The Campaign for Indiana University Athletics" capital campaign.

Skjodt (pronounced Scott) is the daughter of late shopping mall magnate Melvin Simon. Her recent gifts include $2 million to the Herron School of Art and Design’s Art Therapy Program and $1.5 million to the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

Skjodt, who was named a 2013 Woman of Influence by IBJ in October, will make the donation through the Samerian Foundation, which she founded and leads.

IU said the renovation will "maintain the character and experience of the venue while enhancing the facility's functionality so as to preserve the greatest home court advantage in college basketball."

The renaming is expected to take place after improvements are completed, as early as 2016. IU said the project will not interfere with basketball, commencement or other major activities that typically take place in the building.

The project will preserve the current seat configuration and seating capacity, add bathrooms and new video scoreboard. The south lobby will be restructured with a new entryway and "dramatic" atrium, IU said. Existing bathrooms and concession stands will be remodeled.

Box seat-style seating will be added above the south baseline bleachers to generate more revenue. Escalators will replace ramps in the south lobby.

The project also will update the facility's HVAC and other infrastructure systems. A technology center will be added to improve video-production and game-day broadcasts.

In August, IU Athletic Director Fred Glass told IBJ the 17,472-seat facility would be renovated—not replaced—adding that replacement would require “the mother of all capital campaigns.”

Thursday’s announcement would mark a reversal of what IU trustees said before Glass was hired in late 2008—that renovation was impractical.

Skjodt graduated from Indiana University in 1980. She also holds a masters degree from Butler University.

The Samerian Foundation is named for the Skjodt's three adult children, Samantha, Erik and Ian. Samantha and Erik are 2012 Indiana University graduates and Ian is an IU freshman. Skjodt is married to Paul Skjodt, a former professional hockey player who owns the Indiana Ice.


  • It's a money maker
    Businesses and groups/organizations pay rent to use these suites/boxes. They are huge revenue generators. It's mostly about the money. And, no doubt, it will bring in more concession revenue. But, no more leg room for you and me.
  • Worthless
    I understand the importance of sports in raising money for universities, but just imagine if this kind of focus was placed on the actual reason kids go to college: EDUCATION. Athletic directors get so much more money than the people who are supposed to be educating the next generation's leaders. It's pathetic.
  • Just a Thought!
    Did any of you unappreciative complainers ever think that the University was the one that requested the Simon Skojdt name be attached for the generosity, not Simon Skojdt. Regardless, it is more than warrented given the donation amount. Assembly Hall, as it presently sits, does have several issues, but if this could fix or improve them, don't you think it is worth it. We get the best of both worlds; to keep Assembly Hall and have it renovated to be more modern in its amenities.
  • Hey Fred!
    Now that everything is for sale in the athletic department, how much for the naming rights to your "world's largest flag pole" at Memorial Stadium? I will start the bidding at $250!
  • Tosser
    With all the money she's throwing around lately maybe she can pitch in $10 mill a year to subsidize daddy's basketball team rather than having taxpayers do it.
  • I love it....
    I love it when people give generous donations and don't expect anything in return. Oh wait, that doesn't apply here - they're renaming the building because of the donation.....
  • Misguided
    I think the IU trustees had it right in 2008. Renovating AH is totally impractical. Time to tear her down and build a proper basketball arena. There's a reason very few other arenas have the same design as AH. It stinks. Time to end this bad idea, not pour more money into it.
  • Some Jealous Posters
    I for one want to thank the Simin-Skjodts for their generous gift. Other Schools rely on Commercial donor and naming rights (Ohio State), IU was blessed to have fans and alumni wealthy enough to make such a substantial donation. How they ended up with the dollars is of no concern to any of us. What they are doing, from the Cancer Center to Indiana University to so many other charitable gifts, is what we should recognize and admire.
  • Really
    Why not name it after the guy that actually made the money - Simon. Perhaps put in parenthesis how to pronounce the new name.
  • Naming Rights
    So let me get this right, Forest Lucas Paid $122 Million for the naming rights of the "Lucus Oil Stadium" for 20 years and Cindy Simon Skjodt paid (Um I mean donated so she could get a tax deduction) $40 for lifetime naming rights. Sounds like she got a bargain (both for tax deduction and advertisement) Huh, what a deal!
  • Haves and have nots
    I'm never a fan of selling naming rights, but in this case I'm irritated that a lot of the money is not just going for the betterment of every fan, but a bulk is going to create luxury suites for a few of the well off. So pissing off a lot of alumni (myself included), so a handful can eat filet after riding their new escalator to their new suite. But I shouldn't expect anything less from Glass.
    • YUK!
      Boy that name really has a ring to it...and talk about throwing good money after bad. Glad I'm moving to FL.
    • Ugh
      This just feels greasy.
    • What the Hell?
      When I was a student at IU there were a lot of people pushing and asking about Assembly Hall being renamed in honor of Coach Knight. The explanation was always given that IU has a very particular set of guidelines and that someone has to be dead for so long before a building can be named after them. I guess all of that can be forgone and the man that made the arena can be forgotten when money is involved. What the Hell?
    • Please...
      Is nothing sacred? I'm okay with the renovation, but "luxury seating" in Assembly Hall?? Please...it's a basketball arena! This so totally reeks of McRobbie. Just build a new one with luxury suites where you can entertain and ignore the game.
    • Pronunciation would be helpful
      It would help if you added a guide for pronouncing the unusual name Skojdt. I have seen that it is to be pronounced "Scott" but do not know that for certain.

    Post a comment to this story

    We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
    You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
    Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
    No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
    We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

    Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

    Sponsored by

    facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

    Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
    Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
    Subscribe to IBJ
    1. I think the poster was being sarcastic and only posting or making fun of what is usually posted on here about anything being built in BR or d'town for that matter.

    2. Great news IRL fans: TURBO the IMS sanctioned movie about slugs running the Indy 500 has caught the Securities and Exchange Commission because Dreamworks had to take a $132MILLION write down...because the movie was such a flop. See, the Indy/IMS magic soiled another pair of drawers. Bwahahahahahaha! How's CARTOWN doing? HAHAHAHA...Indy is for losers.

    3. So disappointed in WIBC. This is the last straw to lose a good local morning program. I used to be able to rely on WIBC to give me good local information, news, weather and traffic on my 45 minute commute.Two incidents when I needed local, accurate information regarding severe weather were the first signs I could not now rely on WIBC. I work weekend 12 hour nights for a downtown hospital. This past winter when we had the worst snowfall in my 50 years of life, I came home on a Sunday morning, went to sleep (because I was to go back in Sunday night for another 12 hour shift), and woke up around 1 p.m. to a house with no electricity. I keep an old battery powered radio around and turned on WIBC to see what was going on with the winter storm and the roads and the power outage. Sigh. Only policital stuff. Not even a break in to update on the winter storm warning. The second weather incident occurred when I was driving home during a severe thunderstorm a few months ago. I had already gotten a call from my husband that a tornado warning was just southwest of where I had been. I turned to WIBC to find out what direction the storm was headed so I could figure out a route home, only to find Rush on the air, and again, no breaking away from this stupidity to give me information. Thank God for my phone, which gave me the warning that I was driving in an area where a tornado was seen. Thanks for nothing WIBC. Good luck to you, Steve! We need more of you and not the politics of hatred that WIBC wants to shove at us. Good thing I have Satellite radio.

    4. I read the retail roundup article and tried Burritos and Beers tonight. I'm glad I did, for the food was great. Fresh authentic Mexican food. Great seasoning on the carne asada. A must try!!! Thanks for sharing.

    5. John, unfortunately CTRWD wants to put the tank(s) right next to a nature preserve and at the southern entrance to Carmel off of Keystone. Not exactly the kind of message you want to send to residents and visitors (come see our tanks as you enter our city and we build stuff in nature preserves...