Indiana University, Purdue leaders share goals for Indy campuses

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Sheila Snider oversaw dozens of architectural projects on the IUPUI campus in the 1980s and 1990s.

Emphasizing the need for collaboration, officials from Indiana University and Purdue University shared some of their respective goals Thursday for two independent urban campuses in Indianapolis.

In June, the two institutions signed an agreement to dissolve the IUPUI partnership that was created in 1969 after then-Mayor Richard Lugar expressed the need for Indianapolis to have a “great state university.”

The result will be two separate institutions: Indiana University Indianapolis, the new name for IU’s existing campus in Indianapolis, and Purdue University in Indianapolis, which will expand Purdue’s footprint downtown and open other Indianapolis locations. The official change will take effect in fall 2024.

Michael Huber, who joined IU in September 2022 as vice president for university relations, said the change was spurred in part by a need to graduate more students into the high-demand fields of science, technology, engineering and math, as well as health care.

IU is planning a science and technology corridor in an effort to boost STEM degrees, and IU President Pam Whitten has said that one of the university’s goals is making IU Indianapolis the country’s top public urban research university.

The restructuring has already sparked new discussions with Eli Lilly and Co., Elanco Animal Health and other large Indiana employers, Huber said.

“My hope is that you’re going to hear about more collaborative applied research partnerships coming out of this transaction,” Huber said during a forum Thursday hosted by the not-for-profit Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute.

Purdue University aims to have between 800 and 1,100 Purdue students in Indianapolis by fall 2024, including both first-year students and those already enrolled at West Lafayette who would elect to come to Indianapolis, said Dan Hasler, a former Indiana commerce secretary and Lilly executive who was tapped to oversee Purdue’s Indianapolis expansion in November.

Purdue has plans for a 28-acre campus footprint on the north side of the current IUPUI campus that will be in addition to the existing IUPUI Engineering & Technology buildings, which Purdue will continue to use. The addition could include five buildings, and Purdue plans to develop three other locations in Indianapolis.

While both officials emphasized opportunities for collaboration, each institution has made investments in areas where the other has shined.

In June, Purdue announced a partnership with Indianapolis-based venture studio High Alpha that will house executive education programs in the Mitch Daniels School of Business alongside programs at Purdue Innovates, an initiative supporting Purdue-connected inventors and entrepreneurs. The IU Kelley School of Business, which has locations in Bloomington and Indianapolis, is ranked as one of the top 25 business schools in the country, according to U.S. News and World Report.

Meanwhile, Indiana University earlier this week announced a planned $111 million investment in new faculty, facilities, equipment and strategic initiatives focused on advancements in microelectronics and nanotechnology—areas in which Purdue has made a name for itself.

Following the friendly forum, Hasler rebuffed a suggestion that IU was trying to compete with Purdue by investing heavily in fields in which Purdue has already-robust programs.

“I think it’s great,” Hasler said. “IU is not Purdue’s competition and Purdue is not IU’s competition. Our competition is MIT, Columbia, Harvard, Stanford, California. Those are the people that we’re competing for faculty and talent and economic development.”

Hasler also sees more opportunities for both institutions to collaborate.

“There’s plenty of demand for talent, especially in the hard-tech stuff, right? Informatics, computer science, nanotechnology—the demand is off the charts. We can produce all we can produce from both schools and never satiate. And, frankly, if we can keep more and more of those folks in Indiana, those are the kinds of industries that will want to come her.”

The Indiana Legislature supports the realignment. In the most recent state budget, lawmakers allocated nearly $210 million toward the realignment effort, including $89 million for an amateur sports facility on the IU campus in downtown Indianapolis. They also included $120 million in the state budget for new buildings: $60 million for IU to construct a school of science instructional and research building, and $60 million for Purdue to build an “academic and student success building.”

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6 thoughts on “Indiana University, Purdue leaders share goals for Indy campuses

  1. This article tells us nothing that we didn’t already know, and it’s kind of misleading in some ways.

    There is no indication that IU’s announcement earlier this week was going to yield significant benefits to any campus but Bloomington. Further, the $89M for a new sports facility isn’t about IUI as much as it is about The Indiana Sports Corp and Indianapolis wanting another venue.

  2. Lugar was right 50+ years ago. There needs to be a great state university in Indianapolis, and it needs to be a separate enterprise than IU or Purdue. All IU and Purdue are doing is the minimum required to make sure that never happens.

  3. There used to be a Higher Education Commission which worked to keep the public universities from duplicating programs, so taxpayers wouldn’t be supporting multiple programs delivering essentially the same product. Purdue did tech, IU did health (IU Med School had students at Purdue, or at least in West Lafayette). IU did law. Purdue did Agriculture. Now it appears we’ll have duplicate programs not just in the system, but in the same city, though as a graduate of IUPUI School of Liberal Arts, I am dubious of the committment of either university to the Indy campus. Maybe for grad students; certainly not for undergrads.

  4. The article, like others from the IBJ, also ignores the shameful treatment inflicted by West Lafayette administrators on the faculty of the School of Engineering and Technology and the Computer Science Department in the School of Science. Their callousness has been astonishing. Indianapolis faculty are being removed simply to afford West Lafayette faculty the privileges, opportunities, and advantages that small-town West Lafayette can’t offer. If given a choice, who would live in West Lafayette? Now Purdue can recruit faculty by offering the real allure of living and working in Indy.

    IU has been no less disgusting in its complicity with West Lafayette’s move.

  5. Despite the platitudes, it sounds like Purdue and IU are most definitely competing with one another and it seems all of this investment could still have been achieved without wasting $210 M on “realignment.”