Today, Irwin Library stands as a fixture of Butler's campus, as if it has always been here to serve our students, faculty, and staff. Meanwhile, Butler's 2020 Vision gathers steam and new projects transform our campus at blinding speed. As we approach the culmination of Butler's efforts to evolve into a modern campus, it is important to look back and see what we once were. Irwin Library, which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary as our university's intellectual center, served as a symbol of modernity on our campus when it opened its doors in September of 1963. Indeed, its striking architecture, designed by Minoru Yamasaki, still inspires today, reminding us of Butler's historic drive to constantly evolve towards a bright future. 

Irwin Library was dedicated in memory of William G. Irwin, "whose generosity is known to have kept open the doors of the University" during the Great Depression. His ancestor, Benjamin Irwin, was a signatory of Butler's founding charter, written in 1850. William Irwin's extended family, the Irwin-Sweeney-Miller family, helped enable the purchase of Butler's current campus, then known as Fairview Park, in the 1920s. As the Irwin-Sweeney-Miller Foundation, the family contributed more than $1.5 million towards the construction of the Irwin Library -- more than two-thirds the total cost. 

"Yamasaki wanted those entering his buildings to experience a sense of repose, surprise, and delight." Explore our exhibit to learn more about Butler's library building, and to consider how the creation of such a distinctive building on campus contributes to greater learning. 


"Irwin Library of Butler University." Mission & History. https://www.butler.edu/library/about/

Butler University, Irwin Library, Special Collections, Rare Books, and University Archives. "Program for the Dedication of the Irwin Library Butler University May 1, 1965." http://digitalhistory.butlerlibraryservices.org/files/original/690ef893f7087113a5e1ebad420a0132.jpg