Welcome to Annual Meeting of the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities

JW Marriott
Grand Ballrooms 5 and 6
10 S. West St.
Indianapolis, Indiana
November 15, 2015


Thank you very much.

It really is a great pleasure to welcome all of you to Indiana and to Indianapolis for this year’s annual meeting of the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities.

We are delighted that, for nearly 50 years, the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis campus has been located just blocks from the Indiana Statehouse in this state’s capital, and from a downtown that has grown and blossomed remarkably in recent years. This fall, the IUPUI campus welcomed approximately 30,000 students, a measure of our extensive educational presence here in downtown Indianapolis.

It is a statement as to the importance of the wide range of issues that you will be considering that there are more than 1300 senior leaders of various institutions of higher education here today. This annual meeting is just one of many ways the APLU supports 240 member institutions as they pursue their missions of teaching, research, and service.

The Public Mission of Public Research Universities

The mission of public research universities, like Indiana University, puts great emphasis on the public, not just on public support, but also on a public mission.

This public mission includes educating students for citizenship and preparing them for public service. It includes contributing to advances that enhance the quality of life for all. It includes making major contributions to the economic development of local communities, states, and the nation. And it includes a public way of conducting inquiry and debate that has been crucial to the development of civil society and to modern science.

The same pressures and expectations that originally led to the passage of the Morrill Act more than 150 years ago and the subsequent establishment of land-grant institutions are now expectations of all research universities. Today, all major research universities, especially publicly funded institutions such as Indiana University, have an obligation to the citizens of their state to address the great challenges of our time.

Toward that end, Indiana University recently launched the Grand Challenges research initiative. We will invest at least $300 million over the next five years to fund a small number of research projects that address some of the most pressing problems of our time—problems whose scope spans institutional and disciplinary boundaries, whose solutions require new knowledge, new tools, and new treatments.

Public institutions, like Indiana University, also offer equality of opportunity, and they have always sought to make available to subsequent generations opportunities that extend the public good. Through their public mission, they exemplify the democratization of education in America.

Research and creative activities at the nation’s public universities are also associated with increased growth and incomes in their surrounding regions through students who have received their education in a research-rich environment; through new enterprises and new ideas brought into existing businesses; and through the pervasive culture of innovation they help to foster.

As the theme of this year’s conference suggests, the nation’s land-grant and public research universities are indeed “delivering the future.”

We are very pleased that you have joined us here in Indianapolis. We hope your time here will inspire ways for our universities to deliver the future that are yet unimagined.

Introduction of Harold Martin

Now, please join me in welcoming the chancellor of North Carolina A&T State University, Harold Martin.