Growth and Change in Allen County

IU Alumni Association Reception and Keith Busse Award Presentation
Steel Dynamics Keith E. Busse IPFW Alumni Center
Fort Wayne, Indiana
June 20, 2013

Welcome and Acknowledgements

I am very pleased to be back in Fort Wayne and to be here in the beautiful Steel Dynamics Keith E. Busse IPFW Alumni Center, with our loyal IU and IPFW alumni.

I was here in Fort Wayne in February for a luncheon hosted by the IU School of Medicine’s Medical Education Center. I was very pleased to tour the center with its director, Dr. Fen-Lei Chang, who is here tonight, and to witness firsthand some of the outstanding research that is being conducted and the cutting-edge clinical experience that is being offered there.

During that February visit, I also had very useful meetings with Chancellor Carwein and other senior administrators and deans of the IPFW campus, many of whom are also here this evening.

Let me begin by extending an especially warm welcome to the special guests and alumni who play such an important role on this campus and who are great friends of Indiana University.

Our Trustees will be formally introduced by Trustee Chairman Bill Cast in a few moments. Bill, of course, has had a long and successful career as a physician, surgeon, and businessman here in Fort Wayne.

I am very pleased to welcome a member of the Indiana legislature who is with us this evening:  State Senator Dennis Kruse, who represents Indiana’s 14th District.

Would you join me in welcoming him?

Please also join me in welcoming a member of the IU Foundation Board of Directors who is here this evening:  Julie Inskeep, the publisher of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette.

Would you help me welcome Julie?

Growth and Change in Allen County

As the IPFW campus prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary during the upcoming academic year, there is every reason to be optimistic about the future of IPFW, the city of Fort Wayne, and northeast Indiana.

Earlier this year, the Milken Institute, an independent economic think tank, released its report on the Best Performing Cities for 2012. Fort Wayne ranked 13th among 200 large cities in the report for job growth between May 2011 and May 2012.

In recent years, we have certainly seen the city of Fort Wayne and northeast Indiana grow to become an increasingly important center for the defense contracting industry. Area defense contractors bring in millions of dollars every year, they employ thousands of specialized personnel, and they develop products that are vital to our national defense. This growth would not be possible without the manufacturing, engineering, and research and development expertise found in Allen County and northeast Indiana. And, of course, IPFW plays a large and important role in helping to create this skilled workforce.

Indiana University is continually working to strengthen partnerships with Indiana communities like Fort Wayne that lead to economic development opportunities for the state. Our efforts—and the efforts, of course, of Purdue University—to help grow economic development in northeast Indiana are centered in the IPFW Office of Engagement, which is located at the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center. Since 2006, the Office of Engagement has been capitalizing on IU’s strengths in informatics, medicine, and business and Purdue’s strengths in engineering and agriculture to help drive the region’s economy. 

IPFW's Enormous Impact on the Region

Of course, IPFW continues to have an enormous impact on the city of Fort Wayne, on northeast Indiana, and on the entire state.

The overall economic impact of IU’s portion of IPFW’s operations on the state of Indiana, and in this area in particular, was recently estimated to be well over $160 million annually, with nearly 2,000 jobs supported. And when one considers the impact of both the IU and Purdue operations on the campus, the figure increases to nearly $300 million a year, with 3,600 jobs supported.

Of course, the true value of IPFW lies in the fact that it provides an excellent education that is both responsive and relevant for our students. It is the largest and most comprehensive campus in northeast Indiana. Like IU’s regional campuses around the state, IPFW is the first choice for many area students for a variety of reasons that include small class sizes that allow for more interaction with their professors, affordable tuition, and flexible scheduling that allows them to balance work and family commitments.

Ultimately, students choose IPFW because they know that they will receive a quality education that effectively prepares them for productive and satisfying life‐long careers and active engagement as citizens. They also know that the degree they earn carries with it the name and standing of Indiana University or Purdue University, two of the nation’s leading research universities—and the state’s only two members of the prestigious 62-member Association of American Universities.

And once they earn degrees, they remain in the state—as so many of the IPFW alumni who are here tonight have done. Nearly 80 percent of IPFW’s more than 49,000 alumni choose to live in Indiana, and half of them stay in northeast Indiana. And the majority of those graduates—some 59 percent—hold degrees from IU.

Honoring Keith Busse

I want to conclude my remarks tonight by recognizing one IPFW alumnus for his extraordinary contributions to this city, the region, and this campus: Keith Busse.

Keith was born and raised in Fort Wayne and educated in Northeast Indiana. He earned a master's of business administration degree in 1978 from Indiana University on the IPFW campus.

In 1993, Keith co-founded Steel Dynamics, a publicly held steel manufacturing company. He served for nearly 20 years as the company’s CEO. He retired from that role in 2011 and now serves as chairman of the board of directors. Under Keith’s leadership, the company grew from a start-up to a multibillion-dollar company, and became one of the nation’s largest and most profitable steel companies.

Before founding Steel Dynamics, Keith worked for 21 years for Nucor Corporation, the largest steel producer in the United States. In fact, Keith was working at Nucor while he earned his MBA at IPFW.

At Nucor, Keith rose through the ranks to ultimately become vice president and general manager of a new Nucor facility in Crawfordsville, Indiana.

At Nucor, Keith revolutionized the American steel industry, utilizing a newly developed European electric arc technology. As a result, Nucor became a leader in steelmaking and helped revive what had become an obsolete, inefficient and money-losing American industry.

Keith has also demonstrated an exceptional commitment to community service through his service on the Board of Directors of the Regional Chamber of Northeast Indiana, the Board of Trustees for the Fort Wayne Community Foundation, Trine University, and the University of St. Francis. He is has also served as a member of the Royal Dons Executive Board for IPFW Athletics, as chairman of the Cadillac Open, and as a board member of Northeast Indiana Corporate Council and Junior Achievement.

Keith has also supported many, many other organizations, including the Fort Wayne Civic Theatre, Erin’s House, and the National Kidney Foundation.

And, of course, thanks to Keith’s generosity, IPFW alumni now have this splendid alumni facility where they can reconnect with one another and stay engaged in the life of the university.

Keith’s many honors in the steel industry include the “Willy Korf/Ken Iverson Steel Vision Award,” which is presented to those who have made major commitments to the steel industry and promote the goodwill and integrity of the industry.

He has been recognized with the Sagamore of the Wabash, one of the highest awards given by the Indiana governor, and he was inducted into the Indiana Academy, which recognizes the state’s most influential philanthropists. He received an honorary degree from Purdue University, and the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the IPFW School of Business and Management Sciences.  And just two days ago, he was inducted into the Steel Hall of Fame, one of only 16 people so honored.

I am very pleased to add to his honors this evening.

Keith, would you join me at the podium?

Keith, to honor achievement such as yours, IPFW and the IPFW Alumni Association have created a new award to be known as the Keith E. Busse Distinguished Alumni Award.

The award will be given in the future to IPFW alumni who exhibit the qualities and achievements that you have modeled: achievement in a profession, distinction in public service, and extraordinary service to Fort Wayne and to IPFW.

Keith, on behalf of IPFW and the IPFW Alumni Association, it is my honor to present to you the inaugural Keith E. Busse Distinguished Alumni Award.


Conclusion: Introducing Chancellor Carwein

I want to thank Keith once again for his generous support for IPFW—and I want to express my thanks to all of you for all that you do for Indiana University.

As a university that aspires to be one of the finest of the 21st century, we have major goals for Indiana University’s future. In order to achieve our goals, we will need your continued support, which you have always given of unselfishly and in the fullest measure. Indiana University is deeply grateful for that support.

And now it is my pleasure to introduce the chancellor of the IPFW campus.

Vicki Carwein was born and raised in Shelby County, Indiana. She has served as an academic administrator at institutions around the country, most recently serving as chancellor at Washington State University Tri-Cities in Richland, Washington.

She became the 9th chancellor of IPFW on September 1st of last year.

Please join me in welcoming Chancellor Vicki Carwein.