University of Indianapolis President Beverley Pitts has announced that she will retire at the end of the 2011–12 academic year, ending seven years at the helm of the state’s third-largest private college.
President Pitts informed the University’s Board of Trustees of her decision at their October 3 meeting and informed the campus the following Monday in an email message to faculty, staff, and students, calling her tenure at UIndy “one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.”
However, she said, “The timing is right for new leadership.” She looks forward to devoting more time to travel and writing.
UIndy recently wrapped up a successful six-year strategic plan that expanded experiences, programs, and facilities for students while extending the University’s impact in the community, noted Board chair and alumnus Robert Wingerter ’78.
“Dr. Pitts has done an outstanding job,” he said. “She has joined a line of strong presidents who have moved the University forward in academic standing and reputation.”
As UIndy’s eighth president, Pitts has emphasized managed growth in enrollment and a focus on retention through more robust first-year experiences and early intervention strategies. The current enrollment at the main campus is more than 5,300.
To enhance the residential experience for students, the University has expanded Schwitzer Student Center, erected an athletics and recreation facility, and opened a
new residence hall. Ground will be broken this fall on a seventh residence hall. Pitts has implemented promotion and tenure incentives and elevated faculty salaries. Building on groundwork laid by her predecessors, she has extended linkages between the University and the city and maintained UIndy’s physical presence in historic Fountain Square. Her decision to adopt “UIndy” as the University’s official nickname, discarding “U of I,” reinforced the insti-tution’s connection and commitment to its home town while setting it apart from other schools with similar initials.
The University is partnering with the Indianapolis 2012 Super Bowl Host Committee to provide a pregame practice site for the National Football Conference championship team next year. It recently announced a $7.5-million campaign to establish an Institute for Civic Leadership & Mayoral Archives, building on the papers and documents that were donated to the University by four former Indianapolis mayors.
On the international front, the University has just announced a second partnership in China (see page 7). And, in its own neighborhood, UIndy funded landscaping enhancements for the city’s Hanna Avenue reconstruction, cofounded the Gateway Community Alliance, and recently established a Homestead Program to provide $5,000 incentives for employees to purchase homes in the areas surrounding campus.
“Dr. Pitts truly has taken this institution to a new level, and the board hopes to find a ninth president who will be able to build on that momentum,” Wingerter said. A national search is under way. Before joining UIndy in 2005, Pitts was provost and vice president for academic affairs at Ball State University, where she also served as acting president.
Community leaders begin search
Attorney Deborah Daniels is chairing the committee of University of Indianapolis trustees seeking a new president for the 109-year-old institution. The former U.S. attorney and U.S. assistant attorney general is a partner with Krieg DeVault and has served on the Board since 2007.
The search committee also includes:
—Sue Anne Gilroy, former Indiana Secretary of State, now executive director and vice president of development for the St. Vincent Foundation;
—John Myrland, pastor of McCordsville United Methodist Church and former president of the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce;
—Ersal Ozdemir, president and CEO of Keystone Construction;
—Robert Palmer, vice president and general manager of FedEx Express;
—Yvonne Shaheen, community volunteer and retired CEO of Long Electric Co.;
—Amber Stearns ’95, news anchor and reporter at WIBC-FM;
—Robert Wingerter ’78, partner at Ernst & Young and chair of the University’s Board of Trustees.
Representing the faculty and staff on the committee are Connie Wilson, professor of nursing, and Mark Weigand ’78, vice president for student affairs and enrollment management. Executive recruiting firm Korn/Ferry International has been engaged to assist in the process.