As IPFW proceeds with dividing into separate affiliates of Purdue University and Indiana University, community and business leaders met Friday morning to say that two “satellite” campuses aren’t good enough for Fort Wayne.“Two satellite, regional campuses do not adequately serve the interests of the citizens of northeast Indiana, its businesses nor the people of the state of Indiana,” Ron Turpin told more than 100 people at the press conference. The audience spread across a wide area on the second floor at the Helmke Library at IPFW.
Turpin described several measures that supporters will take or promote to help ensure that local institutions that are part of Purdue and IU will provide a “seamless” experience for students.
Among the goals of the group for which Turpin spoke:• Discussing with Lutheran’s and Parkview’s health networks ways to develop IU programs and research.
• Finding significant new funding must be a top priority for both institutions, the legislature and the northeast Indiana business and philanthropic communities.
• Creating one local and independent foundation to attract local funding for IU-Fort Wayne, and Purdue University-Fort Wayne.
• Ensuring northeast Indiana has a representative on the Indiana and Purdue boards of trustees. Physician Michael J. Mirro of Fort Wayne already is a member of IU’s board. Turpin said local leaders will keep trying to get someone from this region on Purdue’s board.
• Maintaining Division I athletics at Purdue University-Fort Wayne. Turpin said that the publicity from having Division I teams will attract students from around the country. He also said that local donors need to step up their contributions to keep the sports programs strong.
• Local business, government, educational and nonprofit leaders will form a standing task force organized through Greater Fort Wayne Inc. Its mission will be to work with stakeholders and “continue momentum towards the execution of this vision. Turpin is chairman of the Greater Fort Wayne Inc. board.
Jeff Malanson, presiding officer of the school’s Fort Wayne Senate and an associate professor of history at IPFW, said he appreciated the show of support. He added that the support “could have been more impactful” if it had commenced before IU and Purdue decide to divide IPFW.
“The discussion of two universities and a seamless experience sounds like IPFW,” remarked Andrew Downs, speaker of the IU faculty of the Fort Wayne Senate, after the press conference.
Mirro, who was confined to his home because he had fractured his hip in a bicycle accident, spoke to the audience through a phone link and said that he sees great potential in the move, including an even stronger emphasis on medical research and innovation.
Chuck Surack, founder of Sweetwater Sound, also spoke, saying that he can envision building on “the great bones of an amazing music program here,” adding elements of business and computer science to it and creating a new kind of music and technology program.