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Lugar remembers IUPUI's early days

April 26, 2016

Lugar has had a long history with the campus he helped launch.

Note: Inside IUPUI contacted former Indianapolis Mayor and Indiana Senator Richard Lugar to see if he would share his recollections of the founding of IUPUI. In his words below are his memories about the event.

Lugar was one of the central figures in the dedication of the first law school building on the IUPUI campus. He spoke at the event. | PHOTO COURTESY OF IUPUI SPECIAL COLLECTIONS AND ARCHIVES

"As the debate unfolded throughout 1968 that resulted in the passage of the Unigov legislation by the Indiana General Assembly in early 1969, citizens and legislators were inspired to think about a greater Indianapolis that would provide better public safety, improved streets and roadways, better care of natural resources, and much better educational opportunities for all the citizens who would be a part of the new Indianapolis. It was a period in which Indianapolis was destined to vault into the top 10 of American cities in terms of population, and the excitement of seeking a greater Indianapolis stimulated thinking that led to courageous and far-sighted planning.

"Prior to my election as mayor of Indianapolis in 1967, I had served as an officer of Thomas l. Green & Company, a manufacturing concern on the near-west side of Indianapolis, and had become heavily involved in public education activities in the neighborhood of our factory. This led to my election in 1964 to the Indianapolis Board of School Commissioners and the beginnings of many conversations with educational institutions throughout Indianapolis and Marion County.

"I can remember taking part in dedications of new buildings of Indiana University as many acres were cleared of former residences and small businesses. I became enthusiastic about the idea that a great university would be built and would grow in the heart of Indianapolis, ideally, in proximity to the State Capitol and the offices of the municipal government of Indianapolis. A number of diverse educational institutions could be united to provide a central focus and a large institution that would attract national and international recognition. My only argument with the founders of IUPUI was that they should consider calling the new institution the University of Indianapolis, a name that would be understood and celebrated by all who were involved in the creation of a greater Indianapolis at that time. As it turned out, the leaders of Indiana University and Purdue University wanted to retain the names of those universities in the title of the new institution, and thus the name IUPUI was adopted. This offered an opportunity for Indiana Central on the south side of Indianapolis to seize the opportunity for renaming that institution the University of Indianapolis."


Lugar continues to shape the state from which he hails through his support for research and other advances.

Lugar has said many times that IUPUI has lived up to expectations.

"IUPUI has more than lived up to the goals and aspirations that I could have envisioned. With over 30,000 students and the provision of extraordinary professional opportunities in the Indiana University School of Medicine, the Indiana University School of Dentistry, the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law and a host of diverse undergraduate offerings, IUPUI not only provides an excellent location for graduate and undergraduate students in their academic endeavors but also remarkable opportunities to play roles in the governance of Indianapolis and Indiana; participate in the arts, including drama and musical organizations; form strong ties with churches and religious administrative bodies; and take part in the growing sports reputation that abounds in Indianapolis.

"IUPUI now has the largest number of graduate and professional students of any university in Indiana, the second-largest annual expenditure for research, and the largest number of underrepresented minorities in Indiana education. As IUPUI approaches its 50th anniversary, it will continue to grow because the best days for Indianapolis and Indiana still lie ahead, and well-educated leadership with strong research foundations will encourage the development of new leadership and creative projects. IUPUI is at the heart of that process of constructive growth.

"I am excited by each opportunity to visit with students, faculty and administrative officers of IUPUI. We share the history of the past 50 years, but we also enjoy envisioning how life could become better for those we serve in this country and around the world, and how the growth of opportunities at IUPUI will make a significant difference in that future."

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