Senior statesman shares insights with teens

Lugar - stageNearly 450 high schoolers from throughout the state gathered Saturday at UIndy for the 39th annual Richard G. Lugar Symposium for Tomorrow’s Leaders, which opened in Ransburg Auditorium with an address by the former senator.

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With the United States facing complicated challenges around the world – from Russia to China to the Middle East and even here at home – all citizens have a responsibility to stay informed and work toward solutions, former Sen. Richard Lugar told an audience of Indiana’s best and brightest high school juniors today at the University of Indianapolis.

“These are basic issues that each American, young and old, has to ask for more information, has to develop more opinions, has to require more from the leaders of our country,” he said in his keynote address at the 39th annual Lugar Symposium for Tomorrow’s Leaders.

Selfie with senator

Selfie with senator

The event drew nearly 450 teens from more than 60 counties, along with accompanying adults and members of the public, for a day of engagement on pressing public issues. After the morning program, lunch and group photos with Lugar, the students spent the afternoon in group discussions with UIndy faculty members and other experts on issues including terrorism, the refugee crisis, the 2016 presidential election and U.S. leadership in the world.

The senior statesman’s morning address focused on key international concerns:
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Director tapped to lead Summer Programs

The University of Indianapolis has selected an experienced higher-education professional to oversee its expanding catalog of summer classes and camps for students of all ages.

Merkel Diaz

Merkel Diaz

Rachelle Merkel Diaz is UIndy’s first Director of Summer Programs, with responsibilities that include enhancing current offerings and developing new programming. Summer Programs at the university include:

  • more than 200 academic courses for students from UIndy and other institutions
  • immersion experiences for international students
  • continuing education for adult learners
  • a range of academic, arts and athletic camps for K-12 students
  • and a menu of facilities and services available for summer meetings and conferences.

Merkel Diaz previously has served in a variety of roles with Complete College America, Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society, Sigma Kappa Sorority, Wabash College and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. At UIndy, she will report to Dr. Ellen Miller, Associate Provost for Research, Graduate Programs and Academic Partnerships.

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Conference to celebrate collaborations

Faculty will showcase interdisciplinary projects at Cross-Pollination(s)

Philosophy with Biology. History with Music. Business with Education. Education with Occupational Therapy and Athletic Training. The list goes on.

UIndy faculty members have been working together outside their departmental boxes, and more than 50 of them will share their experiences in interdisciplinary collaboration this week during Cross-Pollination(s), a conference organized by the Office of Interdisciplinary Programs & Service Learning. Eyed as an annual event, the jazz-themed two-day conference will enable faculty members to discuss and celebrate projects that break down disciplinary barriers and enrich the educational experience for students.



Dr. Gerburg Garmann, assistant dean for Interdisciplinary Studies & Service Learning in the Shaheen College of Arts & Sciences, said UIndy has made great strides in this area during the past year or two, awarding five innovative collaboration grants, engaging faculty across disciplines in interdisciplinary roundtable sessions and supporting faculty presentations at local, national and international interdisciplinary conferences.

“The time seemed right to allow our faculty to present their accomplishments closer to home and to a campuswide audience, and thus Cross-Pollination(s) was born,” said Garmann, a professor of Modern Languages. “We hope to make it a yearly event and eventually expand it to bring in contributors from both the regional and national levels. Our goal is to make the Cross-Pollination(s) conference a major voice in the ongoing discussion of the role interdisciplinary studies should play in the transformation of American higher education.”

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SATURDAY: Lugar address open to public

Longtime senator will discuss international challenges facing U.S.

Lugar Symposium

As foreign policy becomes a leading issue in the 2016 presidential race, one of America’s most respected voices on international affairs returns to the University of Indianapolis to share his insights on current tensions around the world.

Former U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar will deliver the keynote address Saturday at the 39th annual Lugar Symposium for Tomorrow’s Leaders, presented by UIndy’s Richard G. Lugar Academy. The event will draw more than 400 select high school juniors from throughout the state for a morning program and afternoon group discussion sessions on pressing public issues.

For the first time, the 10 a.m. opening program – including Lugar’s address, which he has often cited as his most important annual public speech – will be open free to the general public. This year, the statesman plans to focus his talk on the challenges facing the United States in the Middle East, our relations with Russia and China, and concerns about information security and cyberwarfare.

Seating is limited, and attendees are asked to register in advance at:

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Lugar award goes to Franklin Central senior

Former senator to recognize teen’s leadership at Dec. 5 symposium



Franklin Central High School student Jasmine Kalia has been selected to receive this year’s Richard G. Lugar Distinguished Student Leadership Award, presented annually to an Indiana high school senior by the Lugar Academy at the University of Indianapolis.

A varsity tennis player on track to be valedictorian of the Class of 2016, Kalia will meet the former senator and Nobel Prize nominee Dec. 5 at UIndy’s 39th annual Richard G. Lugar Symposium for Tomorrow’s Leaders. The event enables top high school juniors from around the state to hear a keynote address from Lugar on world events and to join in expert-led group discussions on pressing public issues.

Kalia, daughter of Vipin and Sangeeta Kalia, was among hundreds of Indiana students who attended last year’s symposium and were invited to apply for the leadership award, which includes a $1,000 cash prize. The recipient must have a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA and demonstrate leadership skill and a commitment to serving others.

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In the news: Art & Design, Mayoral Archives

Faces of War openingMayor Greg Ballard looks on as UIndy Professor Gregory Reinhardt discusses the military service of his late father, World War II Marine combat artist T.L. Harby, subject of the current exhibition in the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center Gallery.

Not every gallery opening draws a visit from the mayor, but this was a special art show on a special day.

On Tuesday — the eve of Veterans Day and the 240th birthday of the U.S. Marine Corps — Marine veteran and Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard stopped by UIndy’s Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center Gallery for the opening reception of Faces of War: The WWII Combat Art of T.L. (Stoney) Harby. The exhibition features more than 30 drawings by Harby, who was assigned to the Marines’ 6th Division to keep a visual record of its campaign across the Pacific.

Harby was the father of Dr. Gregory Reinhardt, professor and chair of UIndy’s Department of Anthropology and a Marine veteran himself. Both Reinhardt and the mayor offered moving remarks for an audience that included family, friends, colleagues, students, fellow Marines and a WISH-TV crew that produced this report.

“It’s difficult to imagine what was going through these people’s heads,” Ballard said, recalling his own service and gesturing toward drawings of harrowing beach landings. “The artist can capture that.”

Click here for more information on the exhibition, which continues through Dec. 11. The gallery is operated by the Department of Art & Design.

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The recent elections prompted calls for Dr. Edward Frantz, associate professor of history and director of UIndy’s Institute for Civic Leadership & Mayoral Archives.

Indianapolis Monthly magazine tapped Frantz for a feature headlined “Lessons for the New Mayor of Indianapolis.” Frantz drew from the histories of former mayors Hudnut, Goldsmith and Lugar for themes such as the importance of working closely with state legislators and the logic of continuing your predecessor’s good ideas. Read the piece here.

The national urban policy publication Next City contacted Frantz for a story on Boston University’s acquisition of former Mayor Thomas Menino’s archives. He noted the growing interest in municipal government history and innovation.

“A whole host of issues — immigration, public transit, the rights of LGBT citizens, creating great places to live and work — are landing at the feet of cities, because the federal government doesn’t want to have to deal with them,” Frantz said. Read the story here.

Sustainability conference Saturday at UIndy

hec logoUIndy is the host site Saturday for the Hoosier Environmental Council’s 8th Annual Greening the Statehouse, the state’s largest gathering on sustainability and environmental issues expected to come before the 2016 General Assembly.

The event from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Schwitzer Student Center will include panel discussions with subject matter experts, elected officials and civic leaders on topics including water pollution, environmental justice, clean energy and sustainable agriculture. A networking area will feature more than 25 nonprofit and business sponsors from the green community.

Registration and more information are available at Admission is $25 for the general public and $10 for students. UIndy faculty, staff or students who wish to attend should contact Associate Professor Kevin McKelvey at

Anti-violence activist pastor to speak Tuesday



The Rev. Charles R. Harrison, president of the Indianapolis Ten Point Coalition and a leading voice against violent crime in the city, will speak Tuesday night at UIndy.

His talk, “From Violence to Community: The Ten Point Coalition Against Racial Violence,” will begin at 8 p.m. in Schwitzer Student Center’s McCleary Chapel. The appearance is sponsored by the Office of Ecumenical & Interfaith Programs and organized by sophomore Hannah Jones, the current student chapel steward for Devotion and Justice.

“When we had our event planning meeting for this semester, we decided that racial violence was a topic that really needed to be addressed this year,” said Jones, who worked with Co-Chaplain Lang Brownlee on the event. “Rev. Harrison will be speaking about what racial violence is, why it is an issue, and what we can do to help prevent it.”

The Ten Point Coalition works to reduce homicide and other violent crime in the city through direct engagement and promoting education and employment opportunities. Harrison, senior pastor of Barnes United Methodist Church, was among the group’s founders in 1999 and has become an increasingly prominent public figure in Indianapolis amid concerns about rising homicide rates. Earlier this year, he considered an independent candidacy for mayor and had drawn significant public support before opting not to join the race.

A native of Jeffersonsville, Harrison has served in the ministry for three decades. He holds degrees from Indiana University and Methodist Theological School.

PT prof to appear on CBS ‘Sunday Morning’


Watch the full segment (10 min.)
Watch Dr. Combs-Miller’s interview (2 min.)

This weekend’s episode of CBS News Sunday Morning is expected to feature an interview with Dr. Stephanie Combs-Miller, associate professor in the Krannert School of Physical Therapy and director of research for the College of Health Sciences.

Veteran journalist Lesley Stahl, whose husband has Parkinson’s disease, interviewed Combs-Miller for a story on Rock Steady Boxing, a therapy approach developed here in Indianapolis and now spreading internationally. Research by Dr. Combs-Miller and her students provided the first scientific evidence that the boxing therapy can be more beneficial than other forms of exercise in helping Parkinson’s patients maintain and improve their physical ability and quality of life.

Combs-Miller, who earned her master’s degree in Physical Therapy at UIndy, was flown to New York City in June for the interview with Stahl. Read about it here.

The producer of the Sunday Morning segment says it is scheduled to be this week’s cover story and should start at the top of the show, which airs locally at 9 a.m. Sunday on WTTV-CBS4.

Music department to host HS choral festival

UIndy choir Dr. Paul Krasnovsky directs UIndy’s choral ensembles, which will perform Saturday.

Students from seven central Indiana high schools will be on campus Saturday for the ninth annual UIndy High School Choral Invitational, hosted by the Department of Music.

The event provides a non-competitive setting for about 300 local teens to perform for family, friends and peers in the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center’s elegant Ruth Lilly Performance Hall. They also get a chance to hear new music, tour campus and enjoy performances by UIndy’s choral ensembles.

“It’s a great opportunity for everyone to spend a whole day on nothing but choral music,” said Dr. Paul Krasnovsky, director of choral activities at UIndy. “The acoustics of our hall are so great, these kids are blown away when they get to perform here.”

Each high school choir performs for 10 minutes, followed by a 10-minute critique and discussion with an impressive panel of clinicians who have national and even international reputations in choral music: Dr. Kent Hatteberg of the University of Louisville, Dr. Nancy Menk of St. Mary’s College at Notre Dame and UIndy’s own Dr. Mitzi Westra.

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