ImpactWinter 2012

University hosts Indy mayoral debate

Just months after the Five Mayors event that brought the former Indianapolis chief executives to campus to reflect on challenges met and challenges yet to come, Republican incumbent Greg Ballard and Democratic challenger Melina Kennedy squared off at UIndy in the only televised prime-time debate of the 2011 Indianapolis mayoral race.

The October 15 event was sponsored by the Indianapolis Star, the Indianapolis Recorder, and WTHR-Channel 13, which broadcast live from Ruth Lilly Performance Hall in the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center. The live audience included elected officials, community leaders, journalists, and the general public. Mayor Ballard was re-elected a few weeks later.

The debate served as a preview of the kinds of events that can be expected when the University’s Institute for Civic Leadership & Mayoral Archives is up and running. The institute was announced March 11 when the University hosted “Five Mayors: An Evening of Insight & Vision” with the city’s current and former chief executives. The institute, still in the early stages of development, is envisioned as a hub for research, teaching, and community conversation. The archives will enable scholars, urban planners, and others to study and discuss the issues all cities grapple with—urban revitalization, population shifts, education, crime, affordable housing—informed in particular by the Indianapolis experience with unified county government and development of a vital city core.

Instituting a renaissance

UIndy’s mayoral archives, which will include papers and related items from mayors Richard Lugar, William Hudnut, Stephen Goldsmith, and Bart Peterson, 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 developments.

The March event at which the institute was announced featured a public discussion about many of these issues, with the former mayors and current mayor Greg Ballard on stage together at UIndy’s Ransburg Auditorium. UIndy has secured more than $1 million in private support toward a goal of $7.5 million to make the Institute a reality. The priority areas of the campaign include an endowed directorship; visiting scholar endowment; annual symposium endowment; cataloging, digitization, and  preservation of records and artifacts; a civic leadership commons; archival space, and an office suite.

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