Since arriving in Fort Wayne in November and taking the helm as chancellor of IPFW, I have met hundreds of people – including students, staff, faculty and community members – while attending dozens of events both on campus and in the community. As I prepared to take on this role, I was excited about the opportunities ahead, and I can wholeheartedly say that I'm even more excited now than before. You have all far exceeded my expectations!
I'd also like to thank the community for being so welcoming and gracious with their time as I learn about Fort Wayne and northeast Indiana. The generosity of this community has been a pleasant surprise and one that I attribute to genuine Hoosier hospitality. The people here truly care about one another and are willing to give of their time, talent and treasure to ensure a bright future for the region.
While the university is going through an unprecedented time of change, I can say with confidence that we have never been in a better position to launch ourselves into the future. The dedicated people across our campus, as well as colleagues on the main campuses of Indiana University and Purdue University, have worked diligently for several months to ensure the realignment will have as little effect as possible on the university's No. 1 priority – our students.
People have been incredibly supportive throughout this very complicated process and have been willing to work to find solutions. Everyone I have had the privilege of working with as we make the transition to Purdue University Fort Wayne is committed to the success of our students and mentoring them as they work toward earning their degree. The continued cooperation and collaboration between IU Fort Wayne and Purdue Fort Wayne are critical to the future success of both institutions, and I believe we have laid a solid framework over the past several months.
There have been several successes announced during the past three months, including the approval by the Purdue Board of Trustees to form three new schools that will focus on providing programs needed by our region. Additionally, the partnership between our music technology program and Sweetwater will serve as a model for future collaborations and partnerships between the university and private industry. These kinds of successes would not be possible without the support of our friends including our donors, the business community and legislators, all of whom are proven leaders who have committed to providing future support as we write the next chapter in the history of the university.
Over the next several months, more successes will be celebrated and plans for the future will be laid out. Some of the most critical steps we will take include rolling out the brand marketing campaign for the future Purdue Fort Wayne, expanding career services and internship opportunities for our students, and further engaging our students through on-campus housing and campus life to ensure we are serving the needs of all learners in the community. Additionally, we will continue to promote our academic program offerings that are meeting the needs of the region while expanding upon recent ones such as music, actuarial science, data science and applied statistics, engineering and tech programs, as well as highlighting the humanities to ensure our students are learning critical thinking and communication skills that will serve them well in their future careers.
My first 100 days have truly been an eye-opening experience, and each day has proven to me that I made the right decision in joining the Fort Wayne community and becoming a member of the Purdue Fort Wayne family. I realize there is much yet to be done but have every confidence that, together, we will continue providing an excellent education to the region and beyond.
Ron Elsenbaumer is chancellor of IPFW.