UIndy announces $50M fundraising campaign

Campaign launch alumniFriday’s campaign launch event included appearances by accomplished alumni, including (from left) Francesca Zappia ’15, published author of young-adult novel Made You Up; Linda Dillman ’76, chief information officer for QVC; Jim Hurrell ’84, director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research; and Faustin and Euphrasie N’Tala, who lead education initiatives in their home country, the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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University Business

Gift from local developer and wife will fund creation of poverty institute

The University of Indianapolis launched the public phase of a $50 million comprehensive campaign Friday night with an event at the Indianapolis Museum of Art that brought together more than a thousand members of the UIndy community and included the announcement of a major gift to establish a new interdisciplinary institute for the study of poverty.

The Gene and Mary Ann Zink Poverty Institute will be active in addressing the pressing public and social issues surrounding poverty while creating formative experiential learning opportunities for students. The funding will endow scholarships, faculty-guided undergraduate and graduate research opportunities, interdisciplinary study, special events, visiting speakers and faculty development activities.

“The Zinks have been vital partners with the university since the earliest conversations about our strategic plan, and their gift is an especially fitting way to introduce the Campaign for the University of Indianapolis,” said Robert Manuel, university president. “This interdisciplinary center will convene talent from across the country to study and create interventions that counter the effects of poverty in our communities. In many ways, this is the future model that connects problems in the world with the education and research taking place inside universities.”

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In the news: President Manuel, alumni

Manuel

Manuel

UIndy President Robert Manuel is among 33 Indiana leaders and personalities featured in the Indianapolis Business Journal’s latest “Interview Issue,” just now hitting the streets.

Dr. Manuel is in good company alongside such notables as Eli Lilly and Co. CEO John Lechleiter, philanthropist Cindy Simon SkjodtSNL‘s Sasheer Zamata and mayoral hopefuls Joe Hogsett and Chuck Brewer. He talks with education reporter Hayleigh Colombo about how UIndy’s Vision 2030 strategic plan is paying off for the university and the surrounding neighborhood.

“It’s all cylinders firing at the same time,” he says. “You can’t step on campus without feeling a sense of motion.”

Read the IBJ profile here.

Dr. Manuel also was among a dozen public figures asked by The Indianapolis Star to name their favorite controversial books, in commemoration of national Banned Books Week. Click here to read why he chose Native Son by Richard Wright.

Also tapped for the story, which appears in today’s newspaper, were UIndy alums Nikki Reed ’07, on-air personality at WZPL, and Francesca Zappia ’14, whose debut novel Made You Up just entered its second printing. What books did they pick?

Q&A: UIndy grad prepares for literary spotlight

Francesca Zappia

Wanamaker resident Francesca Zappia, who earned her UIndy bachelor’s degree earlier this month, will read and sign copies of her debut novel, Made You Up, on Tuesday evening at Barnes & Noble in Greenwood.

“Could young Indy author be the next John Green?” reads the headline on an Indianapolis Star interview with Francesca Zappia, a fresh UIndy grad who on Tuesday will see the nationwide release of her first novel, Made You Up.

The book, a quirky and touching mystery in which a teen heroine battles mental illness as she probes strange happenings at her high school, has been touted among the most anticipated young adult novels of 2015 by critics for Teen VogueThe Huffington Post, Barnes & Noble and Pop Crush.

The attention “is both extremely humbling and kind of terrifying,” Zappia tells the newspaper. “I’m so grateful for these articles. Sure, there’s pressure in it, but I’d rather someone read the book with high expectations than never read the book at all.” Read the full interview here.

Made You Up is the first in a two-book deal Zappia signed with Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. The 22-year-old author, who grew up in Wanamaker and graduated from Franklin Central High School before earning her Computer Science degree at UIndy earlier this month, will celebrate the publication date with a reading and book signing at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Greenwood Park Mall location of Barnes & Noble.

Zappia also was featured last week in the Daily Journal of Johnson County. For subscribers, that story is here.

Read earlier UIndy News story

UIndy senior to publish debut YA novel

Watch UIndy TV5 interview

Francesca Zappia’s Made You Up set for national release May 19

Author Francesca Zappia

Author Francesca Zappia

Hardly talking by age 3, Francesca Zappia was screened for autism.

“The teacher doing the testing said that I was the lowest-functioning child she had ever seen,” says Zappia, apparently just a late bloomer. Now she’s a Dean’s List senior at UIndy, graduating May 2 with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, minoring in Mathematics.

If she seems distracted on commencement day, she might be thinking ahead to May 19, when her debut novel, a quirky and thoughtful teen mystery titled Made You Up, will be released nationally in 448-page hardcover by a subsidiary of big-league HarperCollins Publishers. The Greenwillow Books imprint specializes in Young Adult fiction, or YA, the genre popularized by such mega-selling writers as J.K. Rowling, Suzanne Collins and Indianapolis’ own John Green.

The national marketing push includes print and online advertising, a social media campaign and outreach to librarians and educators. And Zappia, a 22-year-old Franklin Central High School grad, already has deals for translations to be published in Germany, Brazil, Taiwan and several other nations. She will mark the launch date with a 7 p.m. reading and book-signing event at the Barnes & Noble in Greenwood Park Mall.

Already, Zappia and her book have been included in the Huffington Post’s “16 of the Most Anticipated YA Debuts Due Out in the First Half of 2015,” the Barnes & Noble Teen Blog’s “15 Most-Anticipated YA Debuts of 2015” and Pop Crush’s “15 Authors to Watch in 2015.”

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Students, staff collaborate on new My UIndy

If you like the new look, structure and functionality of My UIndy – the university’s intranet for students, faculty and staff – you can thank a months-long collaboration between the Information Systems staff and students in the Department of Art & Design.

After

After

Brianna Gannon, Kathleen Graves and Aaron Yoder were juniors last spring when the My UIndy overhaul became a project for One14 Design Studio, the art department’s student-run creative agency.

Before

Before

While the IS staffers handled the heavy lifting of data transfer and system integration, the students redesigned the My UIndy logo, revamped the home page and scoured the site for redundancies and opportunities to improve usability.

Gannon

Gannon

“We went through each page, clicked on every single link,” says Gannon, a Visual Communication Design major from LaPorte. “It’s been really awesome working with back-end developers in the process. We learned a lot, and it was fun.”

Web Services staffer Kathy Ellis, who spearheaded the conversion as portal and content management system administrator, said the input was invaluable. The students advocated for a seamless integration of ACE and other services with a single sign-in, and they brought a fresh perspective on which information was most important to users.

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