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The Journal Gazette

March 18, 2017 1:00 AM

Regional Leaders Seek Top 100 National Academic and Research University by 2027

The undersigned leaders and future leaders of Fort Wayne and northeast Indiana commit to the vision of rapidly developing our region's leading public institution of higher education into a top 100 comprehensive, national university, with globally recognized academic and research programs by 2027. Two satellite, regional campuses do not adequately serve the economic interests of the citizens of northeast Indiana, its businesses nor the people of the state of Indiana. We will build upon IPFW's rich 50-year history as a catalyst for Purdue-Fort Wayne and IU-Fort Wayne to generate graduates nationally recognized as possessing superior academic development and world-renowned cutting-edge programs supporting our region's top industry clusters.

IPFW is a major component of the economic development planning for northeast Indiana. We envision great institutions in Fort Wayne that fully embody and leverage the assets of the academic and research excellence of Purdue University and Indiana University, which can be achieved with proper planning and commitment from all parties, and which will be transformative for northeast Indiana.

We believe the following are of major importance to achieving our vision:

1. Building IU-Fort Wayne's presence on the Coliseum Boulevard campus while exploring potential cutting edge uses of campus expansion. We further envision that IU-Fort Wayne will deeply engage with Lutheran's and Parkview's networks to develop programs and research aligned with their missions and furthering medical science development.

2. 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.

3. Significant new funding which will be adequate for these goals will be a top priority for both institutions, the legislature and the northeast Indiana business and philanthropic communities.

4. 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.

5. One local and independent foundation should be created to attract local funding for IU-Fort Wayne and Purdue University-Fort Wayne.

6. Northeast Indiana should have a representative on the Indiana and Purdue boards of trustees.

7. 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.

8. Local business leaders, in collaboration with local political, educational and nonprofit leadership will form a standing task force through Greater Fort Wayne Inc. (GFW) to work with the various stakeholders and continue momentum towards the execution of this vision.

We envision that the great institutions of Indiana and Purdue can work with the legislature, the local community, and with proper planning and cooperation can further develop higher educational institutions in northeast Indiana generating globally competitive students and research. In spite of its many accomplishments and those of its graduates, the national reputation of our local institution(s) must be accelerated to that of Top 100 national, comprehensive university by 2027 to afford northeast Indiana and all Hoosiers the opportunities they deserve, and essential to surviving and thriving in our 21st century global economy.