The IU East Student Activities and Events Center

Fostering Learning, Enhancing Engagement, and Building Community
East of Springwood Hall
IU East
Richmond, Indiana
November 11, 2014

A Spirit of Cooperation

More than a century ago, Indiana University’s first facility that was designed to be a hub of student life—Bloomington’s now-iconic Student Building—was dedicated.

At that ceremony in 1906, then-IU President Emeritus Joseph Swain, who along with his wife, IU First Lady Frances Morgan Swain, had conceived the idea for the building and led statewide and national efforts to raise funds for its construction, said: “This building illustrates …what can be done by co-operation. If trustees, faculty, alumni, students, and citizens join together in a common cause for everything that is best in our alma mater, (all) that flows out to the commonwealth will grow broader and deeper and more powerful with the coming years.”1

That same spirit infuses the much-needed and very welcome project for which we break ground today—the IU East Student Activities and Events Center—which grows out of the cooperative efforts of dedicated and generous alumni, enthusiastic faculty and students, visionary trustees, and countless other friends of Indiana University and IU East.

Of course, that same spirit of cooperation and generosity is very much a part of the history of IU East. In the late 1960s, when enrollment at the Eastern Indiana Center of Earlham College expanded beyond the center’s capacity, members of this community raised more than a million dollars towards the cost of a new site and construction of a new campus—and requested that Indiana University establish IU East as a regional campus of the university.

The Regional Campuses: An Integral Part of IU’s Mission

The successes of this campus and its graduates—and indeed, the successes of all of IU’s regional campuses—are proof of President Swain’s words that when members of the university community and the citizens of Indiana band together in a common cause, the returns to the state are enormous, and they grow broader, deeper, and more powerful over the years.

Over the course of four decades, the regional campuses of Indiana University have continued to make vital contributions to their regions and to the state of Indiana. They have become an indispensible part of the fabric of their communities and their regions. Today, the regional campuses enroll about one-third of all IU students. They provide an excellent education to nearly 40,000 students a year, the vast majority of whom are Hoosiers, and many of whom are non-traditional or first-generation students. They are increasingly a first choice for some of the best and brightest high school students in the state.

Beyond serving as an integral part of IU’s broad mission to educate students from Indiana, our regional campuses, all of which have seen their enrollments increase to record levels in recent years, also serve as invaluable economic and community development catalysts in their regions and are playing a key role in helping the state achieve its goal of substantially increasing the number of Indiana residents with college degrees.

The Student Activities and Events Center: Fostering Education Beyond The Classroom

But if we are to continue to attract and retain the best and brightest students, we must provide our students with an environment that fosters learning and builds community.

Buildings like the IU East Student Activities and Events Center help do just that. They enhance the vitality and functionality of our campuses, and provide students with opportunities for engagement and leadership.

For evidence of this, we need only look towards the storied Indiana Memorial Union in Bloomington; the IUPUI Campus Center; the Student Activities Center at IU South Bend; the Kelley Student Center and the Cole Family Wellness and Fitness Center at IU Kokomo; the University Center at IU Southeast; and the Moraine Student Center at IU Northwest—all of which are thriving hubs of student life on their respective campuses.

And with the completion of the IU East Student Activities and Events Center, we will have student centers on all IU campuses. As a venue for classes, student meetings, lectures, campus ceremonies, and a wide variety of other events and co-curricular activities, the Student Activities and Events Center will reflect the life and energy of this vibrant campus.

As a venue for intercollegiate athletics, the center will provide a sense of excitement and pride for the extended university community as the accomplishments of the Red Wolves continue to bind alumni and friends to IU East. 

And as a venue for intramural sports, and through the programs and courses in health, physical education, and recreation that will be offered in the facility, the Student Activities and Events Center will also make important contributions to the improvement of health and wellness at IU East.

All of these activities and events foster education beyond the classroom. They bind a campus together and generate a community of scholarship and fellowship that extends outward in virtually every direction.

Special Thanks

I want to thank a number of people whose dedicated efforts have made the project we celebrate today possible.

I want to commend Chancellor Kathy Cruz-Uribe, who continues and builds upon the excellent leadership of her predecessors, former interim chancellor Larry Richards and former Chancellor Nasser Paydar, all of whose efforts helped make the center possible.

I also want to thank the members of the IU East Board of Advisors. Their vision has been instrumental in the development of the building for which we break ground today, and their wise counsel remains integral to the growth and development of the campus.

I want to thank the co-chairs of the Bold Aspirations Campaign, Dan and Angie Dickman and Bill and Felicia Quigg, who I introduced earlier, for their leadership and dedication. And I want to express thanks on behalf of Indiana University to all of the students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends who contributed to the campaign, which has raised more than $1.7 million toward the center’s construction.

And finally, I want to thank our trustees, not only for their support for the Student Activities and Events Center, but more broadly, for their tireless efforts to guard and care for the overall welfare of Indiana University.

Conclusion: Building for Our People

The IU East Student Activities and Events Center will represent the spirit of exploration and adventure that is at the heart of the very best education.

And as we break ground for this splendid new center, we celebrate a facility that will further strengthen the bonds between members of the campus community. We also celebrate the faculty, staff, alumni, and friends who are helping to make it possible, and the many students who will bring life to this structure long into the future.

Thank you very much.

Source Notes

  1. “Student Building Dedicated Under Most Favorable Auspices,” Indiana Daily Student, June 19, 1906, IU Archives.