Editorial: Kudos to two excellent leaders moving on to new adventures

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Two great Indianapolis organizations announced this week they’re losing their longtime leaders—and both men are worth celebrating.

Ryan Vaughn is stepping down as president of the Indiana Sports Corp., the group that bids for and helps organize events like the NCAA Final Four, after eight years at the helm.

That news came the same day DePaul University in Chicago announced it was hiring away Robert Manuel, president of the University of Indianapolis, who has worked the past decade to grow the campus and better connect it to its south-side neighbors.

Vaughn is the latest in a long line of excellent Sports Corp. leaders who have established Indianapolis as one of the premier places to host an event.

During Vaughn’s tenure, the Sports Corp. has hosted or won bids to host an NBA All-Star Game, multiple Big Ten championships, the College Football Playoff National Championship that took place in January, and myriad NCAA tournaments.

None of those accomplishments are bigger than hosting the entire NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament in 2021. The NCAA’s decision to hold the event in central Indiana was not just because Indianapolis is its hometown. Officials said the primary driver was confidence that the Sports Corp. and the city had the experience necessary to make the tournament a success.

Vaughn and his team won accolades for their work to quickly develop the plan to host the massive event and then to pull it off without a major hitch. IBJ named Vaughn one of its inaugural newsmakers of the year in 2021 for his work.

Vaughn is headed to the private sector—although we don’t yet know where—and we wish him the best. We urge the Indiana Sports Corp. board to be choosy as it considers Vaughn’s replacement. He or she will have big shoes to fill.

So, too, will the person who replaces Manuel at the University of Indianapolis.

The school of 5,600 students is not one of the state’s flashiest, but it is one of the 10 largest by enrollment, with specialties in health care fields. In fact, UIndy produces more physical therapists, occupational therapists and clinical psychologists than any other university in the state and offers Indiana’s only neonatal nurse practitioner program.

During his decade at UIndy, Manuel developed the R.B. Annis School of Engineering, which is now housed in a refurbished local industrial building on Shelby Street. In addition, the school built three new residence halls, developed the 150,000-square-foot University Health Pavilion and purchased several parcels around the campus with the goal of creating more amenities for students.

In DePaul’s announcement this week, its board chair, Gerald Beeson, lauded Manuel’s work at UIndy and said his “inspirational leadership combined with his dedication to academic values will solidify DePaul University’s future as a distinguished institution that offers a transformative education to a diverse group of students.”

That’s a loss for UIndy, but we’re confident it will seek a leader who can take the school into another successful decade.•


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