Annis School Hosts 3rd Annual Business Pitch Competition

corner_extensionThe R.B. Annis School of Engineering held its third annual Engineering Business Pitch Competition on April 20, 2021. The event had 65 participants comprising students, mentors, judges, faculty and guests. Four teams of engineering students presented their products and business models at the event. 

For the last nine months, students have worked with School of Engineering faculty and staff as well as industry mentors to develop competitive products and business models. The industry mentors included: Terry Moore (Huntington Bank); Richard Calvert and Payton Staman (Citizens Energy Group); Carl Boss (GTC Machining) and Zachary Holtgrewe (Allegion).

“Helping to instill an entrepreneurial spirit in students like the Business Pitch Competition does is not only beneficial to the industry, but I think it fosters a way for those students who are truly passionate about engineering to push themselves to their limits,” said Zachary Holtgrewe. “The School of Engineering has a great program and it’s been an honor working with my team.”

Students also worked with professor Rhonda Wolverton and her students from the Department of Art and Design. In addition, professor Marcos Hashimoto from the School of Business presented a seminar on business financial planning while Charles P. Schmal, a patent attorney from Woodard, Emhardt, Henry, Reeves & Wagner, LLP, presented a seminar on intellectual property protection to the engineering students. 

“The collaboration and innovation between many different people and departments really make this competition unique,” said Ken Reid, associate dean and director of the R.B. Annis School of Engineering. “Our students take these projects from business case to execution, taking a hands-on approach—a hallmark of our curriculum in the School of Engineering—every step of the way.”

According to Dr. David Olawale, assistant professor of engineering, the engineering students’ exposure to expertise and training from other disciplines is critical for innovation and for creating outstanding solutions that meet the needs of the customers in today’s globally competitive marketplace. “Collaboration is critical for successful innovation,” he said. “Our students are equipped with not just technical skills, but also the entrepreneurial mindset to focus on the customers’ needs and how to create value competitively.”

Richard Calvert, one of the industry mentors from Citizens Energy Group, says he is always impressed with how polished and professional the UIndy students are in their presentations. “I really do enjoy seeing the development of the products from the idea stage, to surveys for better understanding the needs of their potential customers, and lastly to the building and testing of a prototype for their product,” he added.

The competition ended with Team 9 (Spacious) coming in first place. The team designed an extendable desk that wowed the judges. Students on the team included Meredith Magee (project manager), Damla Silahyurekli (assistant project manager), Alex Ruble, Anthony Williamson, Nate Comely and Mark Sciutto.

“I was able to apply the knowledge I’ve learned in the classroom to solve a real world problem,” said Sciutto. “Working in the new engineering building gave us the resources and space necessary to complete it.”

“We also had some issues along the way, and using what I learned in other classes was crucial to solving them. So winning the business pitch competition was very gratifying,” Sciutto added.


The runner-up position went to Team 7 First Responder: Dalton Lowry (project manager) and Dylan Beach (assistant project manager). The team designed a storage system for first responders. 

Third place went to Team 6 who designed a touchless high flow rate liquid dispenser to curb the spreading of germs. The fourth position went to Team 8 who developed a system for tracking drivers’ behavior with the goal of saving fuel cost and reducing crashes.

The Elevate Nexus Higher Education grant provided funding support for the program as well as the R.B. Annis School of Engineering Center for Collaborative Innovation (CCI).

UIndy announces Teacher of the Year nominees and winner

KarleeTaytlor_LRC_114The University of Indianapolis is pleased to announce this year’s Teacher of the Year Recipient as Laura Merrifield Wilson PhD, Associate Professor of International Relations. She began her tenure at the University of Indianapolis in 2013. Known for her unbridled enthusiasm relating local, state, and national political science to her students, Dr. Wilson has extended this reach into our community with her leadership in the UIndy Votes project and the newly-created UIndy Gender Center.

Dr. Wilson’s passion, enthusiasm, and ability to translate her knowledge of political science was noted not only by the UIndy Teacher of the Year Selection Committee, but also by a former student who remarked:

As if the presence of Dr. Wilson in class is not enough, her ability to create educational content and understanding by connecting her students to the community is unrivaled. Dr. Wilson has taken her classes canvassing, to the State House, to voter registration events, to local community lectures, and helped set up meetings with local elected officials. Dr. Wilson is so intentional with relaying information happening in the community that she knows that her students will enjoy it in their free time. Her classes have taught me how valuable understanding state and local policies is and this has encouraged me to get involved in local politics and advocacy after my move to (graduate school) in Georgia.

Dr. Wilson recognizes the challenges of teaching political science in today’s deeply partisan society. She notes that students often come to class with strong opinions, some with substantial political knowledge and others with a lack of background experience. Her goal, however, is to create an environment where students can share diverse perspectives, develop critical thinking, and express their knowledge in thoughtful and caring ways. She cues students to fact check, to gain the tools for thinking deeply about how institutions work within society.

The Teacher of the Year Committee noted that Dr. Wilson models practices for encouraging students to openly share diverse perspectives, and to see view points from multiple lenses. She finds heart-to-heart conversations assist in discussing what could be divisive issues.

Although learning to teach in a hybrid style during in a pandemic has been challenging, Dr. Wilson has risen to the challenge via her integration of varied technology tools like Zoom, breakout spaces and Google Jamboards.

Congratulations, Dr. Merrifield-Wilson, for inspiring so many UIndy students to be caring, critical thinkers! Your reach extends throughout our entire community!

There were many deserving nominees for Teacher of the Year this year, please see those nominees below and help recognize their positive contributions to the University and its students:

Eduard Arriaga

Portraits Fall 2016Dr. Eduard Arriaga is an enthusiastic learner, bringing experiences of teaching in different cultures and a passion for sharing knowledge to the classroom. He continues to use reflection to ensure the needs of students are met, with humor, compassion and a joy in learning together. He is patient with the students and gently corrects challenges to create meaningful and successful learning experiences.


Katie Boucher

Boucher,_KatieDr. Katie Boucher does an outstanding job in making statistics understandable for students in psychology.  She is well prepared and is clear in her written and verbal instruction. She loves helping students develop skills in statistics while also considering their own passions.  Dr. Boucher loves when students are able to make connections between data and things they have learned in class.


Christie Flint 

Portraits Fall 2016Professor Flint has a very clear passion for the profession of nursing and educating students. She states that students are her purpose in her teaching. Professor Flint uses real life and interesting examples in her teaching and employs multiple formative assessment and feedback opportunities. Professor Flint says “My worst day teaching is my best day in other jobs.”


Stacey Gaven

Gaven,_StaceyDr. Gaven is incredibly passionate about the field of athletic training and that passion shows in her hopes for student learning, for facilities to better prepare them for the future, and her hope that learning is fun and deep and creates life-long relationships. She makes the best of every situation with compassion and enthusiastic engagement. In her classroom,  she makes sure to use active engagement, demonstration, and practice techniques to reinforce content.  She makes it a point to create a positive learning environment while still having high student expectations.


Michelle Itczak

Itczak,_MichelleProfessor Itczak very clearly mirrors for students the kind of approach expected of them as mental health professionals, identifying their needs and providing one-on-one support as needed to encourage academic success and identify burnout. Committed to creative approaches to engage students, she argues that expression is an integral part of Art Therapy and ensures that her classes are conducted in a manner that engages, restores, and rejuvenates the students.


Jean Lee

Jean Lee 037Dr. Lee  shows remarkable depth beyond just identifying common barriers to math learning. This is evidenced by her insistence that  incorporating values in teaching, mentoring, and course planning that directly support equity in many aspects of that term is a crucial part of her job. Jean shows amazing flexibility and creativity in creating learning experiences that excite and engage, and creates a cadre of “student leader” colleagues to improve STEM and math education. She also demonstrates a remarkable ability to relate content to theory and the development of the mathematical identity of her students.

Kathy Martin 

Dr. Kathy Martin is an exceptional practitioner who enhances material with real-life examples that help students to consider and apply content.  She clearly has a passion for the profession of physical therapy and growing her students as professionals.  She is professional yet genuine, calm, and personable.  She engages her students throughout class and invites them to apply and critically consider content.  In her reflective approach, she truly models what she teaches.

Alli Snyder

Maurer,_AlliDr. Alli Snyder has a great mastery of the content of data analytics, exemplified by her content articulation and the use of relevant and current examples to stimulate students and support content application.  She takes time to provide individualized help and guidance to her students as they meet course goals and face real-word challenges.  While developing and implementing this new program, she has maintained her focus on student success into the future and sustained program growth.

Dan Vice

Portraits Fall 2016Professor Vice is instrumental in welcoming students to the classroom as first year college students, making required courses relevant and revealing.  He has a clear passion for literature and thinks deeply on the subject. He encourages students to critically think about pieces of writing and to share diverse perspectives.



Colleen Wynn

Wynn,_ColleenProfessor Wynn is a thoughtful educator who is aware of her classroom and its needs at all times. She conducts her lessons in a dynamic and systematic manner that addresses the core aim of the class and has skillfully adapted to teaching during a pandemic. Professor Wynn focuses on engaging students in the learning process of managing data through a variety of active learning strategies. It is clear that she loves sharing  knowledge and getting students excited about sociology.  She focuses on encouraging students to think in a new way.

Early College Program leads to success for Indiana Students

One of the longest running initiatives in the 20-year history of the Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning (CELL) is the Early College program, which allows Indiana high school students to earn college credit during their high school years, thus saving time and money.

But for CELL Executive Director Carey Dahncke, the impact goes well beyond simple cost savings. “Participating in the Early College program develops a college-going culture,” he said. “The data says that an Early College High School graduate is five to seven times more likely to complete their post-secondary education.”

The Early College program allows students to earn both a high school diploma and up to two years of credit toward a bachelor’s degree, or an associate degree. While open to all students, the model seeks to serve low-income young people, first-generation college students, English language learners, and students of color, all of whom are statistically underrepresented in higher education. The Indiana Commission for Higher Education has authorized CELL as the sole endorser of Early College high schools in Indiana.

Each Early College high school has a partner higher education institution to implement the Early College curriculum. The partner institutions will inspect the rigor of the class, and the course syllabus, as well as conduct an observation, to make sure the classes are meeting the standard of postsecondary education.

One of those schools is Greensburg High School, located about an hour southeast of Indianapolis. As a “mentor school” in the Rural Early College Network for other high schools hoping to become credentialed as an Early College school, Greensburg High School is led by principal Grant Peters. Peters is a UIndy alum twice over, graduating with an undergraduate marketing degree in 2002 and a master’s in teaching in 2005, when he transitioned from the business world into a licensed teaching position.

“Families in our community are starting to understand what it means for us to be an Early College High School,” he said. “People understand that these courses are more rigorous, not just to put a feather in their cap, but it provides them direct value.”

Like Dahncke, for Peters being a part of the Early College initiative wasn’t just about providing time and cost value to his students. “Everyone has their own measures for proving that a school is successful,” Peters said, referring to a variety of things including standardized testing scores and letter grades. “We do have accountability to the state, and that is important, but what’s really important is getting our kids prepared skills wise.”

Peters says that taking more rigorous classes prepares students for “productive struggle,” the process of effortful learning that develops “grit” and creative problem solving. “The college course load prepares them to be problem solvers after high school, to set goals, and to be ambitious,” he said. “All these things are built in, and they’re a driving focus for our school. The decisions we make are all aligned with student outcomes.”

Peters relates to the productive struggle his students face, reflecting on his time at UIndy where he walked on the basketball team. “I learned leadership skills and the grit it takes to stick with something,” he said. “I learned about building relationships with a diverse group of people from different places with different values. I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything.”

Dahncke says the program drives those student outcomes by helping to develop a college-going culture by “putting goals around campus visits and helping parents understand financial aid opportunities; kind of packaging up all the ancillary things too.”

Indiana ranks 42nd in the nation for its percentage of adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher. Data shows that For every 100 ninth-grade students, only 70 will graduate from high school within four years. Of those students, only 45 will enter college the following fall. By their college sophomore year, just 32 will still be enrolled. By the end of college, only 16 of those original 100 students will graduate on time. Improving these outcomes is a central focus for the Early College program.

“This problem is exacerbated particularly in rural outlying areas,” Dahncke said. “You have lots of kids who struggle with trying to make the transition from their school of 300 students to a college campus with thousands and dealing with that both academically and socially.”

This is where the Rural Early College Network (RECN), established by CELL after being awarded a $7.9 million grant from the United States Department of Education in the fall of 2019, comes into play. This project focuses on helping rural high schools implement high quality, sustainable Early College programs through a system of support, coaching and a network approach.

Greensburg is one of five high schools across the state that serve as a mentor school in RECN. These mentor schools provide guidance to other schools as they seek to become endorsed as an Early College High School by CELL. “Even in those meetings, where we’re helping these other schools, I’m still sitting there and learning things to take back to our own program,” Peters said. “So it’s a mutually beneficial relationship.”

CELL also provides institutional support to the high schools seeking Early College endorsement. “A big part of it is providing professional development opportunities and helping schools understand the core principles around Early College,” Dahncke said. STEM Teach Indiana and Teach Dual Credit Indiana are two programs CELL offers to help teachers who are working to become credentialed to teach dual credit courses. In some cases they also receive stipends for completing coursework or a master’s program. “We’re trying to incentivize educators to stay in these districts,” Dahncke said. “And with regards to students, we want to target the core of the student population, because you get a lot more momentum across the entire school when you do that.”

As an administrator and educator, there’s a lot of “baggage” that must be dealt with on a regular basis for Peters—from disciplinary issues, to budgetary constraints, to taking policy decided in completely different parts of the state or country and applying it to his rural high school. “But this program is one of those things that I know provides real value and makes me feel good about what we’re doing for the kids,” he said. “The efforts of CELL and what we do on the local level, it’s all about trying to do what’s right for the kids.”

New Dietetics Internship Program at UIndy addresses nationwide shortage

Health Pavilion

UIndy’s Health Pavilion

The Kinesiology, Health, and Sport Sciences Department at the University of Indianapolis is launching a new Dietetics Internship Program (DIP) to address national shortages in the Supervised Practice placements required to become a Registered Dietitian.

The DIP program offers eligible students the opportunity to earn 1,200 hours of Supervised Professional Practice in the three required areas: food service management, community nutrition, and clinical nutrition. In addition, graduates will gain unparalleled training and experience in one-of-a-kind sports nutrition concentration. 

“There aren’t enough supervised practice opportunities to go around,” said Brian Reagan, PhD, RD, DIP Coordinator and Assistant Professor in the Kinesiology, Health, and Sport Sciences Department. “About 5,000 students graduate each year with the required Dietetics Curriculum, but approximately 2,000 people won’t get the required Supervised Practice hours because there simply aren’t enough programs. 

Students in the DIP program will benefit from local placements and an extensive network of preceptors that can be individually tailored from sports teams to hospitals, and state-of-the-art learning opportunities in the Health Pavilion’s Nursing Simulation Lab, Reagan said.

“UIndy’s College of Health Sciences has a long-standing tradition of offering nationally recognized, accredited, and award-winning programs,” said Stephanie Kelly, dean of the College of Health Sciences. “The experiences and skills students gain in the Dietetics Internship Program will further enhance their careers while meeting critical needs in the healthcare sector.” 

Applications are being accepted now for the first DIP cohort, which begins Fall 2021. Limited spots are available. 

“The DIP experience we’re offering is unlike anything else in the Midwest,” said Reagan. “We plan to partner with athletic teams here in the Amateur Sports Capital of the World and work on-campus with UIndy athletes as well.” 

Learn more about UIndy’s Kinesiology, Health, and Sport Sciences Department 

University of Indianapolis announces honorary degree recipients for May 2021 commencement

The University of Indianapolis will present honorary degrees during May Commencement ceremonies to two changemakers in the fields of military service and business

Captain Diane Carlson Evans served as a combat nurse in the United States Army during the Vietnam War and founded the Vietnam Women’s Memorial Foundation. Daniel Pink is the author of six best-seller books about business and human behavior whose work challenges his readers to think differently about human motivation.

“Our honorary degrees are awarded to individuals who are innovators, community and industry leaders, and visionaries who embody the mission of our University. I am excited to continue this storied tradition by awarding degrees that honor two true leaders in our world who are committed to creating positive change in our society,” said President Robert L. Manuel.

Captain Diane Carlson Evans

Captain Diane Carlson Evans

Captain Carlson Evans was head nurse in the post-surgical unit when she served in the combat zone of the Vietnam War. She completed six years in the Army Nurse Corps. As founder of the Vietnam Women’s Memorial Foundation, Carlson Evans envisioned the idea for a memorial to honor over 265,000 women who served during the Vietnam war.  She led a ten-year struggle, including years of testimony before three federal commissions and two congressional bills, to complete the circle of healing with the placement of the Vietnam Women’s Memorial in Washington DC.  This was the first memorial in the history of the United States honoring military women on the National Mall.

Carlson Evans currently volunteers for the Eastern National and National Park Service efforts on behalf of the Vietnam Women’s Memorial Foundation. Her work today focuses on readjustment services for veterans. She is the author of a book, “Healing Wounds, A Vietnam War combat nurse’s 10-year fight to win women a place of honor in Washington, D.C.” Evans also served as former President and CEO of the Board of Directors for the Vietnam Women’s Memorial Foundation.

Carlson Evans holds honorary doctorate degrees from Haverford College, Sacred Heart University and Carroll College. She is also the recipient of numerous awards, medals and accolades, including the Patriot Award from the American Legion; “Woman of Distinction” by the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders; the Governor’s Excellence Award from the State of Minnesota; the Outstanding Civic Achievement Award from the USO; Woman Agent of Change by the American Association of University Women; the Gold Medal of Merit from the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Medal of Honor from the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Daniel Pink

Daniel Pink

Daniel Pink is the author of six provocative books about business and human behavior, including New York Times bestsellers “A Whole New Mind” and “To Sell is Human.” His books have won multiple awards, have sold millions of copies, and have been translated into more than 40 languages. Pink was host and co-executive producer of “Crowd Control,” a TV series about human behavior on the National Geographic Channel that aired in more than 100 countries. He has appeared frequently on NPR, PBS, ABC, CNN and other TV and radio networks in the US and abroad. 

He has been a contributing editor at Fast Company and Wired as well as a business columnist for The Sunday Telegraph. His articles and essays have appeared in The New York Times, Harvard Business Review, The New Republic, Slate, and other publications. In 2019, London-based Thinkers 50 named him the 6th most influential management thinker in the world. Pink received a BA from Northwestern University, where he was a Truman Scholar and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and a JD from Yale Law School. He has also received honorary doctorates from Georgetown University, the Pratt Institute, the Ringling College of Art and Design and Westfield State University.

Both honorary degree recipients will be recognized during the WICR (88.7 FM) special commencement program that will be broadcast during four Commencement parades to be held May 8-9, 2021.


About the University of Indianapolis

The University of Indianapolis, founded in 1902, is a private university located just a few minutes from downtown Indianapolis. The University is ranked among the top National Universities by U.S. News and World Report, with a diverse enrollment of nearly 5,600 undergraduate, graduate and continuing education students. The University offers a wide variety of study areas, including 100+ undergraduate degrees, more than 40 master’s degree programs and five doctoral programs. More occupational therapists, physical therapists and clinical psychologists graduate from the University each year than any other state institution. With strong programs in engineering, business, and education, the University of Indianapolis impacts its community by living its motto, “Education for Service.” Learn more:

How Pro Edge Helped Three UIndy Students Become 500 Festival Princesses

The Indianapolis 500 is the largest single-day sporting event in the world, but the festivities begin well before that special Sunday in May. This year, three University of Indianapolis students have been crowned as 500 Festival Princesses!  Each of these three outstanding young women have worked closely with the University of Indianapolis Professional Edge Center (Pro Edge).

500Fest-facebookThe road to becoming a 500 Festival Princess was long for some—Meridian Stowers ‘23 (Psychology and Pre-Occupational Therapy) applied to be a Princess last year but was not selected. This year, in part thanks to Pro Edge, was a different story. Stowers, who was named a Pro Edge “Rising Star” her freshman year, worked with Stephanie Kendall-Deitz of Pro Edge on her interviewing skills and was connected to a past UIndy 500 Festival Princess for informal mentoring. 

In addition to refining their professional skills, two other UIndy students in the 500 Princess Program this year found ways to give back to Pro Edge. Alie Brown ‘21 (Marketing and Operations/Supply Chain Management) has been working closely with ProEdge since 2017, and it’s clear to see her energy, enthusiasm, and drive to succeed. Career coach Kirk Bryans discussed how she’s helped Pro Edge, “While working at the Professional Edge Center, she helped craft a social media strategy to engage our student population and then was asked to execute on that plan.  Her efforts helped increase student participation in our career fairs, on-campus events, and attendance for our guest speakers.”

Karlye Vonderwell ‘21 (Political Science and International Relations), has worked closely with the Professional Edge Center as an orientation leader and worked with Career Coach Tremayne Horne to secure an internship with the International Center. But work with Pro Edge isn’t the only thing that set these students on their way to becoming 500 Festival royalty. Minoring in Spanish and Franco-Germanic Studies, Vonderwell has spent time teaching English as a Second Language to immigrants in Indianapolis through an Adult Education program. Additionally, she is a supervisor for the Alumni Association, an Orientation Leader for UIndy, and a legislative intern for Hannah News, who is striving to go into Government Affairs. Adding to her impressive resumé Vonderwell was named a Shaheen Global Fellow for her studies and presentation of her study abroad to Scotland.

Dr. Laura Merrifield Wilson said, “[Karlye] is absolutely incredible and is pursuing the master’s program in IR (International Relations) while doing her bachelors and working in a high-powered lobbying internship in the statehouse and keeping a strong GPA. I have also spoken to her regularly about potentially pursuing a doctorate because she is remarkably bright and academically inclined.”

Alie Brown demonstrated her mind for business and used her personal network to organize a tour with Rolling Stone Magazine in New York City for last year’s Pro Edge career trek. The Professional Edge Center gave her some of the skills she needed to make this event happen. She is described as greeting everyone with a smile and immediately finding a connection with whoever she meets. Bryans added, “Alie has wanted to become a 500 princess her entire life. I am so proud of her!”

Meridian Stowers demonstrated her incredible work ethic when she returned home to Tipton, IN at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and worked full-time in a factory producing ventilators where she was promoted to shift supervisor at the same time as taking classes. 

Kendall-Deitz of Pro Edge said, “Despite being away from campus she is staying connected using Zoom and other online communication tools and she participated in-person in our Sophomore Edge Conference in January and is part of a virtual alumni mentoring pair. It is clear to see Meridian’s love of all things Indianapolis 500 and I can’t imagine a better ambassador for the 500 Festival program.”

About the 500 Festival Princess Program:

The 2021 500 Festival Princesses represent 16 Indiana colleges and universities and 21 cities and towns across the state. With a cumulative GPA of 3.74 this year’s 500 Festival Princesses were selected from hundreds of applicants based on communication skills, academic performance, community involvement, commitment to service, and leadership. 


University of Indianapolis to lead coordination of $9.8M Lilly Endowment grant

INDIANAPOLIS—The University of Indianapolis has received a grant of $9.8 million from Lilly Endowment Inc. through the competitive Phase 3 of its initiative, Charting the Future of Indiana’s Colleges and Universities. The grant will support a collaborative effort coordinated by the University of Indianapolis to improve student retention through the use of data analytics at the partnering universities. The University of Indianapolis, Anderson University, Indiana Institute of Technology, Martin University, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and the University of Southern Indiana will jointly work to create unique models that increase graduation rates, and year to year retention rates at each of their institutions.

The University of Indianapolis is one of 16 Indiana colleges and universities that will be supported by funding in the final phase of Charting the Future, an initiative designed to help colleges and universities in Indiana assess and prioritize the most significant challenges and opportunities they face as higher education institutions and develop strategies to address them.

This grant will support the collaborative project led by the University of Indianapolis to use predictive analytics to improve student retention and graduation rates. The University of Indianapolis, Anderson University, Indiana Institute of Technology, Martin University, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and the University of Southern Indiana will develop customized predictive models to identify students who may leave their schools and their possible reasons for leaving. This grant will allow the schools to provide appropriate interventions which will enable the schools to more effectively utilize their resources to retain students.

“The University of Indianapolis is grateful to Lilly Endowment for its generous support of this project. Higher education’s new design challenge is to find ways to solve some of the most pressing issues at our institutions. By creating data-driven models that help us understand better why and when a student is likely to leave, we will be better able to design interventions and programs to increase and assist them in completing their degrees. By increasing these rates, we can ensure that our students are graduating and supplying the Indiana region with an educated and talented workforce,” said Robert L. Manuel, University of Indianapolis president.

“Indiana’s colleges and universities face myriad challenges as they work to fulfill their educational missions while adapting to growing financial pressures, rapid demographic and technological changes, and evolving needs and demands of students,” said Ted Maple, the Endowment’s vice president for education. “We are pleased with the creative and collaborative approaches the colleges and universities are taking to address these challenges and seize opportunities to better serve their students, institutions, communities and the state of Indiana.”

Lilly Endowment launched the three-phased Charting the Future initiative in 2019 to help leaders of the state’s 38 colleges and universities engage in thoughtful discernment about the future of their institutions and to advance strategic planning and implementation efforts to address key challenges and opportunities. Collaboration was encouraged, especially in the third phase of Charting the Future, and several schools proposed collaborative programs and strategies. Through three phases of grantmaking, Lilly Endowment awarded more than $138 million to the schools.

Through earlier rounds of the initiative, all 38 schools received planning grants, which were approved in December 2019, and implementation grants approved in June and September 2020. The implementation grants funded strategies to improve efforts to prepare students for successful futures and strengthen the schools’ long-term institutional vitality.

About the University of Indianapolis
The University of Indianapolis, founded in 1902, is a private university located just a few minutes from downtown Indianapolis. The University is ranked among the top National Universities by U.S. News and World Report, with a diverse enrollment of nearly 5,600 undergraduate, graduate and continuing education students. The University offers a wide variety of study areas, including 100+ undergraduate degrees, more than 40 master’s degree programs and five doctoral programs. More occupational therapists, physical therapists and clinical psychologists graduate from the University each year than any other state institution. With strong programs in engineering, business, and education, the University of Indianapolis impacts its community by living its motto, “Education for Service.” Learn more:

About Lilly Endowment Inc.
Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based, private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly, Sr. and his sons Eli and J.K. Jr. through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. Although the gifts of stock remain a financial bedrock of the Endowment, it is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community developmenteducation and religion. The Endowment funds significant programs throughout the United States, especially in the field of religion. However, it maintains a special commitment to its founders’ hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.


University of Indianapolis R.B. Annis School of Engineering expands to innovative new space on Shelby St.

INDIANAPOLIS—The University of Indianapolis held a dedication ceremony Wednesday, March 24, 2021, to commemorate the state-of-the-art R.B. Annis Hall as the new home of the R.B. Annis School of Engineering. Located at 3750 South Shelby Street, R.B. Annis Hall will accommodate the University’s rapidly growing engineering program and allow the school’s DesignSpine component to expand beyond its original footprint and meet growing demand.

The R.B. Annis School of Engineering was established in 2017 through a transformative $5 million grant from the R.B. Annis Educational Foundation. Since its founding, the Annis School has set a regional standard as an innovative engineering school offering seven specialized areas of study in computer engineering, electrical engineering, software engineering, mechanical engineering, industrial & systems engineering, computer science, and general engineering. The R.B. Annis Hall expansion is the culmination of the University’s $25 million investment in its engineering programs.

“With the expansion of the R.B. Annis School of Engineering, the University of Indianapolis is further strengthening its impact on economic growth across the state, both as a net importer of talent to Indiana and as an institution that is creating engineers who can produce solutions to the most critical engineering questions of our time,” said University of Indianapolis President Robert L. Manuel.

With 19 full-time faculty and directors and an average class size of ten students, the Annis School offers students real-world industry experience through internships and collaborative projects with internal and external clients, as well as mentoring and soft skills development. The inaugural Class of 2020 had a job placement rate of 92% and an average starting salary of $65,000. The University has provided $1.6 million in engineering scholarships in the 2020-21 academic year alone.

Ken Reid, associate dean and director of the R.B. Annis School of Engineering, said in addition to providing the necessary space for programs, R.B. Annis Hall will support the school as it builds industry relationships in the community.

“We will be more visible to our engineering partners, which will lead to more projects and partnerships for our DesignSpine program. This means more real-world, hands-on experience for our students,” Reid said.

The larger space translates to more opportunities for creative and innovative designs from the Annis School’s student teams. Reid said students will have a greater opportunity to establish exceptional working relationships in larger maker spaces, shops and labs. Faculty will have the opportunity to more effectively work with and mentor teams, as well as to collaborate with each other and partners beyond campus.

Reid expects R.B. Annis Hall will pave the way for more innovative interdisciplinary projects which have been a hallmark of the Annis School. The recently launched Center for Collaborative Innovation, funded through an Elevate Nexus Higher Education Grant, will further promote the collaborative innovation framework. 

President Robert L. Manuel

President Robert L. Manuel

“In addition to providing our students with innovative, cutting-edge experiences, these developments ensure that UIndy continues to meet current and long-term accreditation requirements. They also play a vital role in helping us to accommodate the increasing enrollments in our programs,” said President Robert L. Manuel.

About the University of Indianapolis

The University of Indianapolis, founded in 1902, is a private university located just a few minutes from downtown Indianapolis. The University is ranked among the top National Universities by U.S. News and World Report, with a diverse enrollment of nearly 5,600 undergraduate, graduate and continuing education students. The University offers a wide variety of study areas, including 100+ undergraduate degrees, more than 40 master’s degree programs and five doctoral programs. More occupational therapists, physical therapists and clinical psychologists graduate from the University each year than any other state institution. With strong programs in engineering, business, and education, the University of Indianapolis impacts its community by living its motto, “Education for Service.” Learn more:

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