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Friday, July 12, 2024

The University of Indianapolis mourns the passing of Dr. Gene Sease

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It is with heavy hearts that the University of Indianapolis acknowledges the passing of Dr. Gene Sease, who served as the fifth president of the University. Dr. Sease’s life was a testament to visionary leadership and impactful community engagement. His influence extends far beyond the university walls, leaving an indelible mark on the city of Indianapolis and the countless lives he touched. 

Dr. Gene Sease served as the president of the University of Indianapolis from 1970 to 1988, a pivotal period during which he spearheaded significant growth and transformation of the university, including construction of the Lilly Fitness Center, Krannert Memorial Library, Key Stadium, Zerfas Wing of Lilly Hall, and New Hall (renamed Ray & George Crowe Hall in 2012). He was also instrumental in leading the name change from Indiana Central College to Indiana Central University in 1975 and again from Indiana Central University to the University of Indianapolis in 1986.

Black and white photo of Dr. Gene Sease reading a newspaper in a UIndy egg chair

Under his leadership, the University experienced significant growth in enrollment, fundraising, and market presence. The University also expanded its academic offerings to include many new programs for a wide range of learners. These included our highly-ranked physical therapy and occupational therapy graduate programs–the only such programs in the state at that time. These highly successful and market responsive initiatives resulted in the University’s student population nearly doubling during his tenure. His commitment to academic excellence and student success laid the foundation for the vibrant, thriving institution we are privileged to serve today. 

In spite of his larger than life presence, Dr. Sease cared deeply about all those who came in contact with him. A true believer in the power of higher education, he took a personal interest in every student and worked diligently to ensure that education remained affordable and accessible. Current and former faculty and staff and his many friends and family speak of his kindness and generosity to all those who came in contact with him.

Dr. Sease was also deeply connected with the broader Indianapolis community. He actively participated in and led numerous civic and philanthropic endeavors, working to foster a stronger, more engaged and interconnected city. His efforts helped bridge the gap between academia and the community, creating partnerships that enriched both the university and the city. He remained a dedicated southsider advocating for the people and communities around the University.

Dr. Sease’s legacy is one of inspiration and aspiration. As we reflect upon his contributions, let us also look forward with the same spirit of innovation and dedication. We have the opportunity to continue the work he began, to build upon the foundation he laid, and to propel the University of Indianapolis into a future filled with promise and potential, one that is intricately connected to the city whose name we are honored to carry. 

In honoring Dr. Sease’s legacy, we are reminded of the profound impact that one person can have on an institution and a community. His passing leaves a void in our hearts but his legacy reminds us to continue the work that he dedicated his life to. Dr. Sease was a tireless champion of higher education and we owe him a debt of eternal gratitude for helping build a strong foundation that will continue to serve generations of students.  

As we mourn the loss of Dr. Gene Sease, we also celebrate his remarkable life and the enduring legacy he leaves behind. We extend our most sincere condolences to his wife, Mrs. Joanne Sease, sons David and Dan, daughter Cheryl, and his entire extended family. May we find comfort in our shared memories and inspiration in his extraordinary achievements and a life well lived.

This story was originally posted by UIndy 360.

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