They’re here! Largest freshman class arrives

Move-In - Warren Hall - webIn a sure sign the 2014-2015 academic year is upon us, green-shirted Movin’ Crew volunteers haul freshmen gear into Warren Hall this morning during UIndy’s annual Move-In Day. After a parade of Welcome Week events, classes will begin Monday.

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The largest freshman class in UIndy’s century-plus history got an introductory display of Greyhound hospitality this morning, as more than 400 faculty, staff, student and alumni Movin’ Crew volunteers greeted the incoming vehicles and helped the newcomers move into the residence halls.

After the traditional Move-In Day lunch, the new students and their families gathered in Nicoson Hall for an opening convocation that included words of wisdom from university leaders and noted alumni.

Board of Trustees Chair Tom Martin and UIndy President Rob Manuel talk with WXIN's   MIchael Henrich.

Board of Trustees Chair Tom Martin and President Rob Manuel talk with WXIN’s MIchael Henrich.

Board of Trustees Chair Tom Martin, president of Bloomington Ford, recalled his own UIndy days, as a member of a much smaller class.

“UIndy will prepare you for life and career in ways that you are perhaps not able to understand today,” he told the newbies.

The keynote speaker was Linda Dillman, chief information officer for QVC Inc. and previously for Wal-Mart, who traced her own remarkable career path from UIndy student to executive assistant to global corporate executive.

Alumna Linda Dillman, CIO of QVC, addresses the new students.

Alumna Linda Dillman, CIO of QVC, addresses the new students and their families in Nicoson Hall.

“You are entering what I think is probably the most exciting and impactful part of your life,” Dillman said.

At least 930 freshmen, a 16 percent increase from 2013, are beginning their UIndy educations this year, along with more than 200 students transferring from other institutions. Hailing from 17 states and many nations, most notably China and Saudi Arabia, the freshmen also are likely to set a new record with their combined GPA, currently projected at 3.47 on a 4.0 scale. The group includes 15 valedictorians and six salutatorians.

At the convocation, they received some valuable advice from upperclass student Alexis Fort, who urged them to take advantage of all the opportunities available.

“Say yes to campus life,” she told the crowd. “Jump in with both feet.”

Move-In - WZPL booth - webLocal radio personality and UIndy communication alum Nikki Reed (left) staffs the WZPL-99.5 FM table in Schwitzer Student Center on Move-In Day.

Groundbreaking touts power of partnership

HP shovels

Elected officials, UIndy faculty and project partners turn dirt Thursday morning to launch construction of the new Health Pavilion at Hanna and State avenues.

UIndy Health Pavilion, view from northwest, courtesy CSO Architects

UIndy Health Pavilion, view from northwest, courtesy CSO Architects

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A host of city and state dignitaries were on hand this morning as the University of Indianapolis broke ground on its four-story, $28 million Health Pavilion, which will be the new home for the health- and wellness-related academic programs that account for more than half of UIndy’s 5,400 undergraduate and graduate students.

University President Robert Manuel thanked the many officials and business partners in attendance for their contributions to the project.

“What we’re celebrating today is about relationships and about our connection to the city,” he said. “We’ve always been a university of and for Indianapolis, and I am so grateful to everyone here today for their advice, for their creativity and for their efforts in designing what will be an incredible academic and community center in Indianapolis.”

President Manuel and Mayor Ballard

President Manuel and Mayor Ballard

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard noted that the Health Pavilion — for which the city awarded $900,000 in federal grant funding to purchase specialized equipment — continues a pattern of city-campus collaboration that included the reconstruction of Hanna Avenue.

“Great neighborhoods are built around great anchors,” Ballard said. “We have that here … with the University of Indianapolis.”

“Today’s groundbreaking represents more than just the addition of a great new building on campus,” he continued. “As UIndy invests to make its campus more attractive to students, it is making this area more inviting to new residents and making the city a better place to live.”

Other speakers at Thursday’s groundbreaking ceremony included Metropolitan Development Director Adam Thies, State Rep. Justin Moed, City-County Councilor Jefferson Shreve and representatives from the offices of U.S. Rep. Andre Carson and U.S. Sens. Dan Coats and Joe Donnelly.

Opening in August 2015, the 160,000-square-foot Health Pavilion will be the new home for UIndy’s nationally respected programs in nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, psychology, kinesiology, athletic training and social work, as well as the Center for Aging & Community. State-of-the-art labs, classrooms, and meeting areas are designed to promote multidisciplinary collaboration, research, and the development of new academic programs. Sharing the space will be healthcare industry partners and clinical facilities that will serve the community while providing hands-on experience for students.

Today’s groundbreaking ceremony included two special announcements. First, a $250,000 gift from the R.B. Annis Educational Foundation will help to equip and support programming in the Health Pavilion’s 140-seat auditorium. Also, UIndy has been selected to operate, from this new space, the Metropolitan Indianapolis/Central Indiana Area Health Education Center, part of a statewide network that recruits and prepares healthcare professionals to work in underserved Indiana communities.

The Health Pavilion, a major step forward in the revitalization of University Heights and surrounding neighborhoods, is part of UIndy’s five-year, $50 million development initiative.

HP - camerasThe Health Pavilion groundbreaking ceremony attracted crews from all four Indianapolis commercial TV stations, among other journalists.