"A Beautiful Vision for IU East: The Leadership of Nasser Paydar"

IU East Celebration of Campus and Community
Springwood Hall Lawn, IU East
June 16, 2009


In his last presidential address to alumni in 1962, Herman B Wells described the natural beauty of IU campuses as “our most important physical asset, transcending even classrooms, libraries, and laboratories in their ability to inspire students to dream long dreams of future usefulness and achievement.” 1

When we look across the IU East campus, we can see just what President Wells meant with those words. Perhaps more than any other campus, this one captures the subtle beauty of the Indiana landscape. The rolling hills and open spaces give students and faculty alike room to contemplate the most complex questions of the moral and physical universes.

A History of Community

These questions have been at the heart of the educational pursuits at IU East since the campus’ founding in 1971. In those thirty-eight years, the city of Richmond and the campus have evolved together. In fact, the ties between the campus and community date back to the campus’ founding. Richmond area citizens raised funds for the university to purchase the original plot of land for the campus.

Since that moment, the city has continued its stalwart support of the IU East campus and its missions. Recently, the community reinforced their support through the Campaign for Community, a joint IU East and Purdue fundraising effort led by Rob Quigg. The resounding success of this campaign demonstrates the value this community places on higher education in general and IU East in particular.

Likewise IU East places great value in the surrounding community. The campus has opened three off-campus instructional sites, expanding the campus’ educational reach. Students and faculty at IU East are deeply involved in the community as well, through individual volunteer efforts and projects like the Baxter Neighborhood Help Center and the Third-Grade Academy.

When we think of a beautiful campus, this kind of vibrant partnership comes to mind. The IU East beautification initiative will further add to that beauty by enriching the campus landscape with striking large-scale public sculptures by students, faculty, and regional artists.

Nassar Paydar: Commitment, Leadership, and Generosity

This initiative was inspired by IU East Chancellor Nasser Paydar. It is a testimony to Chancellor Paydar’s deep commitment to the IU East campus and to Indiana University in general that he has chosen to forgo a traditional installation ceremony. Instead, he has invited the campus and community to participate in and contribute to this beautification project. In this regard, let me announce that the University will match all contributions to the beautification campaign up to a total of $50,000.

Nasser's act of leadership and generosity should come to no surprise to those who know him. During his over two decades with Indiana University, Nasser has—time and again—demonstrated his leadership as a professor of mechanical engineering at IUPUI and as chair of his department. He accepted a position as associate dean for graduate programs in the School of Engineering and Technology in 1995, was named associate dean for academic programs in 1996, and moved on to become the executive associate dean for academic programs in 2002. In 2004, he became Vice Chancellor and Dean of Indiana University Purdue University Columbus, where he initiated The Bold Aspirations fund-raising campaign, a $4 million campaign that was the largest fundraising effort in the IUPUC’s history. He also negotiated articulation agreements with six IUPUI schools to establish joint baccalaureate programs. And he worked with educators, businesses and Columbus community leaders to identify areas of study that most significantly impacted south central Indiana and to prepare students for success in the region.

Today, as we celebrate this campus and this community, we are also celebrating Nasser Paydar’s leadership here at IU East. Following in a tradition of leadership that began with Chancellor Schilt, and included Chancellor Goerke, Chancellor Nelms, and Chancellor Fulton, whom we are pleased could join us today, Chancellor Paydar was named interim chancellor of this campus n 2007, and officially accepted his role as IU East’s fifth chancellor on January 1, 2009.

We can see that he is continuing the good work that has characterized his decades of service to this university. The IU East campus has experienced steady growth since he stepped in as interim chancellor in 2007, with enrollment increases and increases in the number of credit hours taken. In fact, this past spring, the campus marked a 13.1 percent increase in credit hours, the largest increase across the university. These impressive numbers, in part, result from a more comprehensive and integrated approach to student recruitment and retention that works in partnership with a campus-wide marketing campaign. In this regard, you may be interested to know that Chancellor Paydar can be found tweeting on Twitter.

Responding to community needs, Chancellor Paydar has helped to establish two graduate programs, one in education in 2007, and the other in social work in 2008. Likewise, IU East will be adding a new 4-year bachelor’s program in Informatics this fall. Chancellor Paydar has further strengthened IU East's partnership with Ivy Tech through an articulation agreement focused on elementary education.

It is fair to say that Chancellor Paydar has brought a feeling of renewed energy to the IU East campus. That energy may be measured in the campus-wide enthusiasm for the new mascot, the Red Wolf, with the official launch of intercollegiate athletics at IU East last year. It may be measured in the unprecedented support for this year’s campus campaign, to which 95% of faculty and staff contributed. As you know, Chancellor Paydar contributed $10.00 for every contribution.

As I mentioned earlier, such generosity will come as no surprise to those who know Nasser. He is a man of great integrity and conviction. He is a man dedicated to the values at the heart of the very best liberal education. We are most fortunate to count him among the leadership of this great university.

It is now my great pleasure to introduce my friend and colleague, Chancellor Nasser Paydar.

Source Notes

  1. President Herman B Wells speeches, “State of the University Alumni Barbecue.” Near Well House, June 2, 1962.