Nancy O'Brien is president of Friends, a philanthropic organization which supports and advocates for Purdue and Indiana universities.
Supporting the campus for more than 40 years, the Friends of IPFW, together with the community, watched the debates and decisions unfold concerning the division of IPFW into Purdue University Fort Wayne and Indiana University Fort Wayne.
The dust has settled and Friends, a philanthropic organization, is deeply encouraged to see both universities beginning the academic year with compelling new visions and a cooperative spirit to support each other's success. Friends' commitment to support and advocate for both universities is renewed and strong.
First, we are impressed by the enthusiastic and capable new leadership of chancellor Ronald Elsenbaumer of Purdue Fort Wayne.
The chancellor, a man of wide-ranging experience that spans both academia and the private sector, is committed to putting students first.
Since arriving, he has dug deep into the Fort Wayne and regional business communities to build a network of support for students from the starting blocks to the finish line.
Second, Indiana Fort Wayne, although smaller in size, is creating an impressive science education environment, including the schools of Medicine, Nursing, Dentistry, and Social Work, and the Department of Medical Imaging and Radiologic Sciences. These students will feed into one of the largest medical communities in the region.
One of the truly exciting campus developments is the Music Department's expansion into the Purdue University School of Music, the first in the Purdue system. Building on an already-robust music program, the School of Music offers many expanded opportunities for students in the fields of music and music technology.
New degrees, such as jazz performance studies and music technology, have been added thanks to a $1 million gift from the English-Bonter-Mitchell Foundation. In addition, an exciting partnership between Purdue Fort Wayne and Sweetwater Sound, an international, high-tech music company, has resulted in the new music technology program's being housed on the Sweetwater campus.
Over the years, the IPFW Music Department has provided the community with exceptional guest artist concerts. plus faculty and student recitals. To celebrate the new Purdue University School of Music, Friends welcomes you to a musical showcase on Monday.
Open to the public and free, you will see and hear these gifted students present an eclectic concert, including vocal and instrumental collaborations. It will be a relaxed and entertaining afternoon of outstanding musical performances.
Friends also invites community members to join our organization which supports and advocates for these two universities – both important community assets.
Friends will continue to promote and provide financial and other support to the two universities – funding student scholarships, awarding outstanding teaching awards and enhancing the campus environment.
We also will continue to meet with outstanding faculty, students and administrators who, as always, will present interesting lectures to keep members informed on the latest campus issues, programs and faculty research.
Half of the 59,000 alumni from our campus live and work in the Fort Wayne region. The training they received for their careers is vital to our community.
Friends is certain that these two outstanding universities will prepare the students of today with the practical and academic experience needed in their respective fields for the jobs of tomorrow. Through both universities' strong community partnerships, many of these students will continue to remain in this area to create an even stronger and more vibrant community.
Friends is proud to be part of this progress.