Indiana University President Michael McRobbie says his goal to visit each of the school’s regional campuses before spring commencement has a greater purpose than just meeting with academic leaders. McRobbie is also engaging business executives, touring companies and connecting with alumni. His Thursday trip to IU Northwest in Gary included stops at the Port of Indiana Burns Harbor and the NLMK Indiana steel mill. He says it’s important to get a "real feel" for how each campus fits into the regional landscape.
McRobbie says students at regional campuses account for nearly one-third of IU’s total student body. He also notes around three-quarters of graduates from regional campuses settle in the community once they complete their degrees. For this reason, McRobbie says graduates of the seven schools outside of the main Bloomington campus "play a significant role" in economic development of the local areas.
McRobbie visited southwest Indiana last month with stops in Evansville and Jasper. He plans to return to Evansville by the end of the academic year to scope out progress on the downtown multi-institutional medical campus currently under construction. That major project is being led by IU, but includes the University of Southern Indiana, University of Evansville and Ivy Tech Community College.
In addition to the previously-mentioned stops on the Calumet Region trip, McRobbie’s itinerary included meetings with Valparaiso Mayor Jon Costas, Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority Chief Executive Officer Bill Hanna, Port of Indiana Burns Harbor Director Rick Heimann, IU Northwest Chancellor William Lowe and his attendance at the school’s annual Chancellor’s Medallion Celebration, emceed by Lake Ridge Schools Superintendent Sharon Johnson-Shirley.
McRobbie’s next stops are Richmond, New Albany, Kokomo, Fort Wayne and South Bend.
McRobbie tells Inside INdiana Business the visits serve as a way to review opportunities “beyond what we’re already doing.”