New venture will be resource for researchers, scholars
The University of Indianapolis is assembling a collection of papers and artifacts from four of the city’s most recent mayors—U.S. Sen. Richard G. Lugar, William H. Hudnut, Stephen Goldsmith, and Bart Peterson—and is establishing an Institute for Civic Leadership and Mayoral Archives to preserve the materials and support research and teaching. (See “President’s forum.”)
And in an unprecedented development, all four former mayors and the current mayor, Greg Ballard, gathered at UIndy March 11 to participate in “Five Mayors: An Evening of Insight and Vision,” a community conversation sponsored by the University, the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce, and the Indianapolis Star.
The event, moderated by a panel of Star journalists, was a substantive discussion about how Indianapolis can build on its accomplishments to meet the challenges of the future. The theme of the panel discussion ties into the Star’s yearlong series, “Beyond the Big Game,” which looks at what’s ahead for the city after the Super Bowl.
The nearly 800 tickets were snapped up by members of the community within two days of becoming available. UIndy has a history of involvement with its namesake city and a strong association with the four former mayors. Official materials from three of the mayors already have a home at the University, and Peterson, who serves on the Board of Trustees, has committed to adding his materials to the collection as well. Lugar, Hudnut, and Goldsmith are former members of the board.
“We are humbled that these mayors have entrusted their materials to the University of Indianapolis,” said Beverley Pitts, UIndy president. “We will do all we can not only to preserve them but to use them as a springboard for education, research, and community engagement.”
UIndy’s mayoral archives capture a significant era in the city’s history—a period that began with Unigov and included the creation of White River State Park, the financing of Circle Centre Mall, and the arrival of an NFL football team, among many other improvements. Already, scholars and urban planners around the country look to Indianapolis for lessons on metropolitan development.
The new institute will digitize the mayoral collection, which now fills 450 boxes in a storage room of the Univer-sity’s Krannert Memorial Library, while continuing to acquire and preserve other materials that chronicle the Indianapolis story. As such, the collection is conceived as a living archive. The institute, to be housed in a renovated section of the library, will be a hub for research, workshops, conferences, and future public conversations related to urban government and civic leadership.
The institute also will fill a role in civics education for Indiana secondary and postsecondary students, connecting with UIndy’s academic programs as well as its Lugar Center for Tomorrow’s Leaders. Visit www.uindy.edu/news for more information about the Five Mayors event and the Institute for Civic Leadership and Mayoral Archives.