President Beverley Pitts announced the Institute for Civic Leadership & Mayoral Archives during a March 11 event that brought the current and former Indianapolis mayors to campus—an example of the type of activity the institute would be well-suited to host. Current and former members of UIndy’s Board of Trustees already have pledged more than $1 million toward the effort, which is now entering its public phase. The institute will be a hub for research, workshops, conferences, and public conversations related to urban government and community leadership. Its foundation is a collection of official documents, correspondence, speeches, photos, audiotapes, and other artifacts from the administrations of former Indianapolis mayors Richard Lugar, William Hudnut, Stephen Goldsmith, and Bart Peterson. The items represent a remarkable four-decade period during which the city remade its image, revitalized its downtown, and drew national and international attention with such developments as the establishment of Unigov, the arrival of an NFL team, and the creation of Circle Centre Mall and White River State Park.
“These archives need to be mined to tell the story of how this community went from ‘India-no-place’ to a vibrant American city,” said campaign chairman David Frick, who aided in that transformation as deputy mayor under Hudnut and later helped build WellPoint Inc. into the nation’s leading health benefits provider, retiring as executive vice president and chief administrative officer.
“Success doesn’t just happen, whether in business or the public sector,” said Frick, a former UIndy trustee. “It involves careful planning, strategy and implementation. This institute will help develop new civic leaders and guide communities across the state and beyond as they transition from the manufacturing era to the new technology-based era.”
Civic leaders join effort
Other civic leaders serving on the committee are Michael O’Connor, former chief deputy mayor under Peterson and now director of state government affairs for Eli Lilly & Co.; Anne Shane, who served as Goldsmith’s chief of staff; former UIndy president Gene E. Sease, chair and partner of Sease, Gerig & Associates; and current UIndy trustees Yvonne Shaheen, retired CEO of Long Electric Co., and Ersal Ozdemir, president and CEO of Keystone Construction Corp. Plans for the institute were announced earlier this year in conjunction with Five Mayors: An Evening of Insight & Vision. Co-sponsored by Star Media and the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce, the evening featured the four ex-mayors and the current mayor in a lively and candid two-hour public conversation about the city’s past and future.
Mayoral debate at UIndy
In October, the University expects to partner with local media to host a mayoral debate between Republican incumbent Ballard and Democratic challenger Melina Kennedy.These are the types of activities that a fully realized institute could host on a regular basis, according to President Pitts.
“We take seriously our role as a resource for the city,” Dr. Pitts says. “By developing these archives and this institute to their full potential, we can have an even more profound impact on the future of Indianapolis and other communities.”
The Mayoral Archives fill hundreds of boxes in a storage area of UIndy’s Krannert Memorial Library and are expected to grow. Money generated through the campaign will support: the cataloging, digitization, and preservation of the archives in a climate-controlled space in a renovated section of the library; construction of a flexible, technology-rich Civic Leadership Commons, where students, scholars, visiting leaders, and others can meet to study and discuss community leadership; and
establishment of a permanent staff infra-structure to oversee, develop, and manage the archives and the events to be scheduled around them.
The institute will host a broad range of events and activities, drawing on the resources of UIndy’s School of Education, Department of History & Political Science, and Lugar Center for Tomorrow’s Leaders. Possibilities include guest lectures on civic themes for the public and the academic community; symposia on topics relating to civic leadership and municipal governance; leadership workshops for Indiana mayors and other elected officials; and summer workshops and other programming for middle and high school students and teachers. More information about UIndy’s Institute for Civic Leadership & Mayoral Archives is available at: http://www.uindy.edu/giving/civic-leadership.
More where that came from
Christine Guyonneau, the University archivist (top photo), displays letters, from U.S. President Ronald Reagan to Indianapolis Mayor William Hudnut, found in UIndy’s collection of mayoral papers. In a July op-ed in the Indianapolis Star, two prominent members of the Institute’s campaign committee, Michael O’Connor and Anne Shane, wrote, “The transformation of Indianapolis over the past four decades, from a sleepy Midwestern capital to a vibrant 21st-century urban center, has been nothing short of remarkable. The story of that transformation can be found in a vast collection of official documents, correspondence, speeches, photos, audiotapes and other artifacts filling hundreds of boxes in a storage area at the University of Indianapolis Krannert Memorial Library. . . . Full funding will allow the university to catalog and digitize the archives; hire a director and staff to manage content and develop programming; and create a technology-rich Civic Leadership Commons.”