Business Leaders Outline Vision For IPFW

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(Image of campus sculpture courtesy of IPFW.) (Image of campus sculpture courtesy of IPFW.)

Some big names in the Fort Wayne business community have detailed their vision for the future of Purdue University and Indiana University in the city. During a news conference Friday, leaders including Greater Fort Wayne Inc. Board Chair Ron Turpin outlined an eight-point plan he says demonstrates a commitment to making the Fort Wayne schools "world-class institutions."

IPFW, which has been run as a unified school combining Purdue and IU programs from more than 50 years, is being reorganized as two individual schools. The transition is slated to take place in July 2018 following approval of a split by both school's board's at the end of last year. An online vote recently concluded for the Purdue-run campus, with most voters siding with Purdue University Fort Wayne.

The group also includes Sweetwater Sound Chief Executive Officer Chuck Surack, former IPFW Community Relations Executive Director Irene Walters, Fort Wayne Downtown Development Trust Board of Directors Chairman Mac Parker, Leepoxy Plastics Inc. President Larry Lee and Carson Boxberger Managing Partner Tim Pape.

In a news release, the group says its vision includes:

  • Building IU-Fort Wayne’s presence on the Coliseum Blvd campus by engaging Lutheran’s and Parkview’s networks to develop programs and research aligned with their missions and furthering medical science development. 
  • Purdue University-Fort Wayne will continue the development of the Coliseum campus, specializing in advanced manufacturing, medical devices, engineering, liberal arts, music and business.  Purdue University-Fort Wayne will complement and further Purdue University’s globally recognized brand of academic excellence, particularly in STEM fields.
  • Significant new funding which will be adequate for these goals must be a top priority for both institutions, the Legislature and the Northeast Indiana business and philanthropic communities. 
  • Both the IU-Fort Wayne and Purdue University-Fort Wayne campuses have a reconstituted, actively engaged Local Advisory Council, including local leadership and meaningful input. 
  • One local and independent foundation should be created to attract local funding for IU-Fort Wayne, and Purdue University-Fort Wayne.
  • Northeast Indiana should have a representative on the Indiana and Purdue Boards of Trustees.
  • Division I athletics must remain at Purdue University-Fort Wayne. Significant public relations resulting for Division I athletics will attract students from across the country and financial support locally. It will also generate the collegiate atmosphere that attracts top student and faculty talent.
  • Local business leadership, in collaboration with local political, educational and non-profit leadership will form a standing task force through Greater Fort Wayne, Inc. (GFW) to help propel discussion, planning and execution of this vision.

Turpin says "IU-Fort Wayne and Purdue University-Fort Wayne will continue to play a critical role in developing a skilled workforce and supporting Northeast Indiana's target industries in the years to come."

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