President's ForumSpring 2011

‘Five Mayors’ event a first

Conversation kicks off new Institute

I hope those of you who live in the Indianapolis area were able to be with us March 11 when we hosted a very historic event for the city and the University. On that evening, we sponsored a civic conversation featuring Mayor Greg Ballard and his four predecessors, whose tenures have spanned four decades and brought remarkable growth and prestige to our city. The occasion also marked the launching of our new Institute for Civic Leadership and Mayoral Archives.

The mayors talked about public-private partnerships and other elements that made the city’s transformation possible, and discussed current issues, such as mass transportation, that the city will need to address if it hopes to sustain its vibrancy.

The former mayors—U.S. Senator Richard G. Lugar, William H. Hudnut III, Stephen Goldsmith, and Bart Peterson—all have ties to UIndy. Peterson is a current member of our Board of Trustees; the other three have served on our board. Lugar taught at UIndy briefly after leaving the mayor’s office, and he has invited high school juniors from around Indiana to campus every year since 1977 to participate in his Lugar Symposium for Tomorrow’s Leaders. In 2007 the University created and dedicated the Richard G. Lugar Center for Tomorrow’s Leaders in his honor.

You’ll be hearing more about our new Institute for Civic Leadership and Mayoral Archives in the months ahead. UIndy has been amassing a collection of papers and artifacts from the former mayors, and the new institute and archives will preserve and digitize those materials while fostering scholarship and teaching.

The public discussion March 11 was just a hint of things to come. It exemplified the role UIndy can play in providing a forum for many public conversations relating to urban government and civic issues. The institute also will serve Indiana secondary and postsecondary students, connecting with our academic programs and our Lugar Center for Tomorrow’s Leaders.

Beverley Pitts, President

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