Indiana University East Chancellor Kathryn Cruz-Uribe during today’s Installation Ceremony outlined three main themes the campus will focus on to plan for its future. The themes encompass change that is grounded in values, including academic excellence and innovation; dedication to student success; and serving as a steward of place.
Held in the Historic Pennsylvania Railroad Depot, the installation – themed “A Steward of Place” – symbolized the university’s deep commitment to the community and region it serves. The installation ceremony serves as the formal charging of a new chancellor by the president of Indiana University and the board of trustees. It is significant moment in the life of the university, connecting longstanding traditions and symbols to the promises of a bright and inspiring future.
Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie said the Historic Pennsylvania Railroad Depot was a fitting location for the event as it celebrates the close ties that have always existed between IU East and the broader community.
“This depot was, for many years, a hub of community life, and our celebration today in this magnificently restored building serves as a reminder of the spirit of collaboration that has long been a hallmark of the city of Richmond and IU East,” McRobbie said.
McRobbie said Chancellor Cruz-Uribe will continue the exceptional growth the campus has continued since fall 2007; IU East’s headcount enrollment has grown 96.6 percent. A record-breaking 4,456 students enrolled for classes this fall, marking the university’s 17th consecutive term of enrollment growth.
“Like the countless individuals who have contributed to the growth of this campus, Chancellor Kathy Cruz-Uribe is building towards a future of continuing partnership between eastern Indiana and IU East. This is a partnership based on shared aspirations and dreams, and it is a partnership of which all of us can be proud,” McRobbie said.
Cruz-Uribe acknowledged the leadership of Frederick Grohsmeyer, IU East’s first director, and past Chancellors Alexander Schilt, Glenn Goerke, Charlie Nelms, David Fulton, and Nasser Paydar.
“Each chancellor has led the campus into different stages of development. Now, I see us as poised to fully develop as a national model for regional public universities providing an accessible, affordable and high quality education for increasing numbers of graduates who will, in turn, shape and lead our region,” Cruz-Uribe said. “As I have spent my first few months on campus and in our communities, I have heard several themes echoed consistently.”
In her installation speech, Cruz-Uribe addressed the three themes that will guide the campus.
“Contrary to popular belief, higher education does change, and IU East is an example of the capabilities of an institution to change. But no matter how we have changed at IU East, we have remained grounded in our core mission to ‘challenge students to grow intellectually and personally in a supportive and scholarly environment.’ Intellectual growth is what excites me about education. As educators, our ultimate goal is to instill a love and passion for learning that lasts a lifetime,” Cruz-Uribe said.
While IU East embraces change through innovation including serving students through online education, enable students to access educational opportunities in ways that fit their particular circumstances, and continue to grow the on-campus experience through tradition and a vibrant campus life, the university will remain dedicated to student success.
“Many people, including faculty, staff and most importantly, students, have told me that that IU East is like a family and we are rightly very proud of that. The personal attention and support we give our students is one of our greatest assets,” Cruz-Uribe said. “As we have grown, we have continued to foster student success, and the evidence of our success is clear. In 2013, we conferred almost 550 bachelor’s degrees, compared to 150 in 2005. And I challenge us to continue to improve student persistence and completion rates in the future.”
IU East was established in July 1971 out of the request of the community to provide higher education opportunities for the residents of the region. Cruz-Uribe said that connection to the community will continue.
“As stewards of place, our faculty, staff and students are committed to furthering community initiatives, programs, and growth,” Cruz-Uribe said. “IU East works with communities all over our service region. Campus and community learn from each other, to the benefit of everyone.”
The railroad depot was chosen because it is symbolic of the institution’s roots in the region and the university’s commitment to research and service that advance the economic and cultural development of the region.
“Daniel Burnham, as a pioneer in city and urban planning, understood that physical structures were a means of community connectedness, and he exemplified the importance of fostering a deep sense of community through his work,” Cruz-Uribe said. “That is why we are here today, in this Daniel Burnham landmark, in the heart of our community, taking a piece of history and giving it new life. This is what an IU East education does for a community. It connects our community from today to tomorrow. It builds hope, opportunity, and livelihoods. This is what we celebrate today.”
About Chancellor Kathryn Cruz-Uribe
Chancellor Kathryn Cruz-Uribe, who started in her role on July 1, 2013, is IU East’s sixth chancellor since the university was established in 1971. Before joining IU East, Cruz-Uribe was provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at California State University (CSU), Monterey Bay, from 2007 to 2013, where she was responsible for leading the academic programs of the university, including four colleges and the university library. Before joining CSU, she was at Northern Arizona University from 1989 to 2007, serving four years as dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.
An archaeologist, Cruz-Uribe graduated magna cum laude from Middlebury College with two majors, art history and anthropology, and received an A.M. and a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Chicago. Her area of expertise is the analysis of animal bones from archaeological sites, and she conducted field and laboratory research in South Africa for more than 20 years. She has received numerous grants for both teaching and research, and has co-authored a book and more than 40 articles and chapters pertaining to her research.
She and her husband, Dr. Eugene Cruz-Uribe, an Egyptologist and member of the IU East faculty, have two daughters.