President's ForumWinter 2014

Serving as a community anchor & pursuing new initiatives

Rob-ManuelThis fall has been a busy one on campus, as we launched new initiatives and pursued goals emerging from our Vision 2030 planning process. We affirmed our commitment to serve as an anchor in the community, and a great example of that is outlined in this issue’s cover story. UIndy has formed a partnership with the Maine-based consulting and software development firm HistoryIT, not only to digitize our Mayoral Archives and make them available online, but to develop long-term opportunities for our students, faculty, and community. At its new Innovation Lab near campus, the company is bringing jobs and activity to our section of the city and working with faculty to develop new academic programs and robust internship and research opportunities for students. Former mayors Richard Lugar and Bill Hudnut were among those who joined us in November to announce the HistoryIT partnership, and their reflections made it a warm and memorable occasion (see page 6).

You may have read in the last issue of Portico about the establishment of the Professional Edge Center, based at the Stierwalt Alumni House. The Center combines UIndy’s expertise and resources in community engagement and career and alumni services to create networking, mentoring, employment, and service opportunities for students and alumni alike. I’m pleased to report that the new center is now up and running under the direction of Associate Vice President Corey Wilson, a rising community leader named among the Indianapolis Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 for 2013. We’re very happy to welcome Corey to the senior leadership team in University Advancement.

Two other stories highlight UIndy’s connections in government and public service. In October our Institute for Civic Leadership & Mayoral Archives hosted its inaugural Richard M. Fairbanks Symposium on Civic Leadership, which included a fascinating panel discussion on U.S. options in Syria, as well as talks by prominent Indiana leaders on the art of effective local government (page 12). Also, the first students selected for our Lugar Academy’s Washington Semester program have just returned from the nation’s capital and are eager to share the “inside perspective” they gained through working with congressmen and D.C. professionals (page 8).

Elsewhere in the magazine, you can read about alumnus Faustin N’Tala and his tireless work to support education in his native Democratic Republic of Congo (page 19), as well as graduate student Fidaa Abuassi and her triumph over bureaucracy and despair in Gaza to pursue her studies at UIndy (page 37). It is inspiring to have such amazing people in our Greyhound community.

Best wishes to you and yours this winter, and we’ll all look forward to a busy and exciting spring semester at the University of Indianapolis.

Robert L. Manuel

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