Hoagland "Hoagy" Carmichael



One of America's best-known songwriters, Hoagland "Hoagy" Carmichael (1899-1981) exemplifies the variety of successes that can be achieved by graduates of Indiana Law. Carmichael graduated from the School of Law with a Bachelor of Law degree in 1926. After his graduation, he joined the Indianapolis law firm that is now Bingham Greenebaum Doll. It was not long, however, before his love of music enticed Carmichael to leave the practice of law and become a professional songwriter. “A few years of practice revealed,” he later recalled, “the profession held forth many prospects to which my timid soul was not clearly suited, and fewer hopes for constructive attainment that would satisfy my ego.” The legal profession’s loss was the American Popular Songbook’s gain.

During his musical career, Hoagy composed hundreds of songs, including such standards as "Stardust," “Skylark,” "Georgia on My Mind," “Heart & Soul,” “I Get Along Without You Very Well,” “In the Still of the Night.” "Lazy River," “The Nearness of You,” and "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening," for which he won an Oscar. Most students and alumni of Indiana University are familiar with his "Chimes of Indiana," one of the two official Indiana University anthems. Carmichael's work in the entertainment industry eventually expanded into acting. He appeared in several motion pictures, including To Have and Have Not and the Academy Award-winning Best Years of Our Lives.

Carmichael was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1971 and as one of Indiana University's most beloved graduates, he received numerous honors from his alma mater. In 1953, he was presented the Distinguished Alumni Service Award and in 1972 he was granted an honorary doctorate of music. The foyer of the IU Musical Arts Center bears Carmichael's name, and the Carmichael Room at Morrison Hall exhibits memorabilia pertaining to the songwriter. Carmichael was named a member of the Academy of Law Alumni Fellows in 1995. He is buried in Bloomington’s Rose Hill Cemetery.


American Popular Music, American Popular Songbook, Stardust, Georgia on My Mind, American composers, Maurer Alumni, Academy of Law Alumni Fellows


Composition | Law | Legal Profession | Music