Fred Glass, J.D., '84
J.D.; Indiana University, Vice President and Director of Athletics
The most helpful part of being a lawyer is how it has trained me to think, solve problems, cut through to the essence of an issue, communicate effectively, and lead."
Fred Glass, ’84, was appointed athletic director of Indiana University in 2009. Since assuming the role, Glass has worked tirelessly to ensure IU has its rightful place as one of the premier athletic departments in the country.
A native of Indianapolis, Glass, who also earned a B.A. degree from IU in 1981, served as chief of staff to former Indiana Gov. Evan Bayh from 1989 to 1993 and was transition team chief for former Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson when he took office in 2000.
Formerly a partner in the law firm of Baker & Daniels, Glass served as chairman of the firm's management committee and as the volunteer president of the city's Capital Improvement Board.
Glass served on the organizing committees for the NCAA Final Four Tournament in 2000 and again in 2006 and negotiated a deal to make the city part of a permanent rotation to host NCAA Final Fours. He also was on the executive committee of the 2002 World Basketball Championship and co-chaired the 2006 local organizing committee for the Big Ten Men's and Women's Basketball Tournaments.
Glass also served as president of the City of Indianapolis' 2011 Super Bowl Bid Committee, which although not successful for that year, has been credited with successfully laying the groundwork for the city's successful bid for 2012.
Glass is living proof that a law degree from IU McKinney can lead to a multifaceted career that spans business, public service and higher education. He recently answered a few questions we posed to him about how his law degree has played a role in his career and life.
IU McKinney: What made you decide to go to law school?
Fred Glass: My decision to go to law school, I must admit, was initially fostered by the romantic portrayal of lawyers in movies like To Kill a Mockingbird and Inherit the Wind, TV shows like “Perry Mason” and “Judd for the Defense”, as well as F. Lee Bailey’s book “The Defense Never Rests” and stories about Clarence Darrow. I liked the idea of learning how to fight for the little guy and to defend the defenseless (although I note that, while I have done some of this, I’ve also represented plenty of “big guys” in my career who were certainly not defenseless!). More practically, my father (who started but never finished law school) viewed earning a law degree like learning a trade-- that is having a personal license to make a living that no one can take away from you. I didn’t really like math or science and leaned more toward history, writing, and politics. So, in short, I thought the law could provide me an opportunity to help people in meaningful ways, provide me some degree of financial independence, and would be something I could be pretty good at.
IU: Why did you choose our school?
FG: I knew I wanted to go to one of the IU law schools to take advantage of in-state tuition. I ultimately chose IU-Indianapolis primarily because having had an extremely fun undergraduate experience I thought it would be too hard to shift gears to more serious study in Bloomington, particularly given that many of my knucklehead college friends were still there. In addition, IU-Indy was less expensive and Indianapolis provided more opportunities to work during school to help defray the costs of going to law school.
IU: What was your favorite class (and who was your favorite professor)?
FG: My favorite class in law school was probably Evidence with Ken Stroud. The cases were interesting and seemed to be about being a “real lawyer.” Professor Stroud was dynamic, funny, and brought great experience from the “real world.”
IU: What were your favorite parts of law school?
FG: My favorite part of law school was forming life-long friendships and relationships with my classmates, including those nurtured in the old “gray lounge” lobby of the law school and at the Bonfire West Tavern on west Michigan Street.
IU: What does your current job as AD involve and what do you like best about it?
FG: I like pretty much everything about being the AD at IU. What’s not to like? It involves college, sports, and student-athletes, all in a quintessential college town, on one of the nation’s most beautiful campuses, at a prestigious university that is my alma mater! After a career spent advising others as a lawyer and as a staff person, I’m also enjoying the opportunity to actually be responsible for running something.
IU: How has your law degree helped in each of your different jobs?
FG: I’ve been fortunate to have had a lot of different jobs in my career, in all of which I benefited directly or indirectly from my legal education. My dad ended up being right--my law degree has given me the independence and flexibility to successfully move among a variety of positions. While the technical side of practicing law has been very helpful (such as knowing my way around a contract, a lawsuit, or the like), the most helpful part of being a lawyer is how it has trained me to think, solve problems, cut through to the essence of an issue, communicate effectively, and lead.
IU: Do you have any advice for current or prospective students?
FG: I’ve received lots of great advice over the years, but one of the best pieces of advice came from a former law school professor, Jerry Bepko, who was also the dean of the law school when I was there and went on to be the Chancellor of IUPUI. He was and is a great man and a wonderful mentor to me. He told me that when you are making a decision about your career, always choose the option that creates the most options downstream. I’ve always followed that advice, and it has served me well.