ImpactSpring 2013

Making University history: President Manuel inaugurated

On March 21, 2013, Dr. Robert L. Manuel was inaugurated as just the ninth president of the University of Indianapolis, an institution in its 111th year. This milestone was celebrated with a full week of events. (Watch for the 2012–13 edition of 1400, the University’s annual report magazine, this summer for full coverage and photos.)

The festivities began on Sunday, March 17, with UIndy Day at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. The day included free admission, lunch, and a short program for alumni, students, staff and their families. Monday, March 18, brought another family-friendly event for the UIndy community and neighborhood families, hosted in Schwitzer Student Center by Dr. Manuel’s wife, Wilmara, and their daughters. The theme, “Carnival of Books,” meant kids could have some fun, register for cards from the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library, and go home with a free book.

The day before the inauguration ceremony, Wednesday, March 20, the campus community gathered for a lunchtime pep rally that included remarks from the president and special guests. And the day after the ceremony, Friday, March 22, alumni, students, faculty, and staff enjoyed UIndy Night with the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, which included food, T-shirt, and a private postgame reception on the Pacers’ practice court. And President Manuel, whose birthday was Saturday, March 24, was presented with a birthday cake during the game, courtesy of the Pacers.

The main event

But the week was focused on the events of Thursday, March 21. In keeping with the UIndy motto, the day began with service projects. Volunteers assembled packets for Pink Ribbon Connection, made bookmarks for Disabled American Veterans Transportation Services, assembled backpacks for the Julian Center, and read at a local elementary school. A service of worship at 10 a.m. took place at the University Heights United Methodist Church. The University, founded by the United Brethren Church, today is United Methodist-affiliated and has enjoyed a long relationship with the University Heights church family.

The highlight of the day was the investiture ceremony at 2 p.m. John Berners, associate professor of theory and composition, composed Fanfare: A Boundless Moment for the processional, which included delegates representing other colleges and universities as well as members of the faculty, alumni and student representatives, and invited civic leaders.

Dr. David F. Finney, president of Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont, and a friend and mentor of President Manuel, offered an address for the occasion, followed by Robert Wingerter ’76, who performed the rite of investiture in his role as chair of UIndy’s Board of Trustees. President Manuel presented his inaugural address, offering a dramatic vision of the University’s future—one in which the metaphor of university-as-island gives way to university-as-anchor.

For the text of the president’s speech, visit

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