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Impact: the Campaign for IUPUI

More than two decades have passed since W. P. Kinsella's book Shoeless Joe was made into the hit movie Field of Dreams, but pardon IUPUI Chancellor Charles R. Bantz for poaching the movie's signature line: “If you build it, they will come.”

For IUPUI, a new campaign launching this fall will help build the future of central Indiana as it comes together through the ongoing development of the campus. It is an opportunity for all partners in this 41-year-old adventure to accomplish major goals (see sidebar).

Bantz is confident the new campaign will demonstrate that “we are deeply engaged in our community, that we are able to raise private support for critical needs — faculty and student support — as well as facilities. Our disciplines take us into the community as we translate research into practice,” he adds. “My focus on how we partner with the community is conscious and a continuation of the fundamental commitment of IUPUI to our community.”

As always, the chancellor is heavily focused on student success. “Financial support is critical for IUPUI students who balance studying, family life and work,” Bantz says, and points out that after the last campaign, enrollments grew in both the number and academic prowess of IUPUI students, changing the fundamental nature of academic life on campus. The interplay between increased competition and collaboration among students meant graduates “were better able to succeed at the highest academic levels.”

Scholarship programs born or expanded thanks to the last campaign allowed IUPUI to recruit and reward high-ability students for academic excellence. At the same time, those past contributions ensured that IUPUI could help students who faced financial challenges to pay for college, keeping them “in the game” and on track for lifelong success. And the momentum from the last campaign helped IUPUI launch a host of new and exciting academic programs like biomedical engineering and motorsports that put IUPUI on the radar screens of top-flight students.

IUPUI has become a leading urban research university thanks to the partnerships that entwine the campus and the city of Indianapolis, ties that Bantz believes will continue to grow. “Research at IUPUI has grown in many disciplines — substantially in health and life sciences — but also in philanthropy, engineering and technology, science, liberal arts and social work,” the chancellor says. “The breadth of research includes basic bench science research, developing data bases, providing critical training for social workers, conducting research on philanthropic giving, and thousands of more areas.”

Render of the new Glick Eye Institute

Render of the new Glick Eye Institute, now under construction on Michigan Street

Such projects have a dynamic impact on the city and state, an impact that ripples onward into the future through students who will become professional researchers, benefitting the businesses, industries and other sectors that rely on the results they produce.

IUPUI has been widely recognized for its work in civic engagement, a commitment that Bantz expects to continue. The campus's service-learning programs have ignited a passion for public involvement in students, giving them a firm foundation as they become community leaders in years to come. And the reach is expanding. “We are seeing much more international service learning and civic engagement,” the chancellor notes. “We have a growing number of students, faculty and staff traveling abroad who are engaging communities in other lands.”

Significant changes already have changed the campus in fundamental ways, as well as IUPUI's relationships with the city and state. More are on the way or in the planning stages: the new Glick Eye Institute, already well under construction; the new Wishard Hospital, with site work in progress; the proposed new public health school; and renovations at Riley Hospital for Children, to name but a few. For IUPUI, it's an exciting time to collaborate with its partners throughout the region in building a university that will be an integral part of the engine of growth for Indiana as the 21st century unfolds.

Chancellor Charles Bantz

IUPUI Chancellor Charles R. Bantz

Major campaign goals include:

  1. Strengthen the academic foundation IUPUI students need to succeed;
  2. Heighten the impact of campus-based urban research projects on the city's economic base;
  3. Use research and training to expand the horizons of health care for millions of Hoosiers; and
  4. Empower those friends and neighbors who need a helping hand through partnerships that help area residents today and engage current students as the civic leaders of tomorrow.