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Tuesday, January 19, 2021

UIndy civic institution receives $2M boost

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A $2 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. will help the University of Indianapolis begin cataloging four decades of city history to form the foundation of its planned Institute for Civic Leadership & Mayoral Archives.

Former mayors Richard Lugar, William Hudnut, Stephen Goldsmith and Bart Peterson have entrusted UIndy with a vast collection of documents, images, recordings and other materials from their mayoral administrations, an era of innovative leadership that has made Indianapolis a national model of urban revitalization.

The period includes such historic developments as the formation of UniGov, the birth of White River State Park and Circle Centre mall, the hosting of the 1987 Pan American Games, the construction of major sports venues and the creation of BioCrossroads.

Once cataloged and digitized for easier access and review, the archives will be the centerpiece of the institute, envisioned as a hub for research, teaching and special events, with resources for students, visiting scholars, planners and community leaders to explore the issues facing today’s cities.

The institute also will enable the university to expand its academic programs, develop symposia, build connections with local schools and host public conservations, like the 2011 “Five Mayors” event that brought Mayor Greg Ballard and his four predecessors to campus to discuss the city’s past and future.

“We greatly appreciate this support from the endowment, an organization that itself has played such a key role in the development of Indianapolis,” said UIndy President Robert Manuel, who took office this month. “I’m also very grateful for the work of my predecessor, Beverley Pitts, who established the vision for this institute and remains committed to its success.”

In the coming years, UIndy hopes to acquire additional mayoral papers as well as materials from other entities that have been instrumental in Indianapolis’ ongoing progress.

“Lilly Endowment, which shares the university’s interest in the development of Indianapolis, is pleased to support this project,” said Sara B. Cobb, the endowment’s vice president for education. “This collection covers 40 vital years in the city’s history and the administrations of four mayors, each of whom is widely acknowledged to have been an outstanding leader for Indianapolis.

“The Endowment believes that the institute’s programming and research will enhance the university’s reputation and garner regional and national recognition for Indianapolis..”

The grant is the largest single contribution to date in the university’s $7.5 million capital campaign to equip, staff and launch the institute.

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