Indiana University East Chancellor Kathy Cruz-Uribe is this year’s recipient of the Wayne County Area Chamber of Commerce Art Vivian Distinguished Community Leader Award.
Cruz-Uribe was presented with the award during the Annual Chamber Dinner at the Kuhlman Center on January 17.
The Art Vivian Distinguished Community Leader Award represents the highest recognition given by the chamber to an individual member of the business community. Candidates must have been active in the Wayne County business community, with the following criteria: demonstrated leadership, success in promoting the development of the community, overall involvement in and contributions to the community, participation in professional activities and respected reputation among the community’s leadership.
Melissa Vance, Wayne County Area Chamber of Commerce president/CEO, said the chamber is pleased to present the award to Cruz-Uribe.
“As the most prestigious award to be given to an individual at our dinner, there is no one that could be a more perfect recipient than Kathy,” Vance said. “She has not only become a great mentor of mine, but of many others. She leads by example. She consistently shows up and delivers. She exemplifies everything this award was meant to be.”
John Applegate, executive vice president for University Academic Affairs at Indiana University, congratulated Chancellor Cruz-Uribe on the award.
“Chancellor Cruz-Uribe defines campus engagement with the community,” Applegate said. “Kathy serves with energy and distinction on many boards, both business and non-profit, making IU East truly an indispensable part of the Wayne County community.”
Cruz-Uribe currently serves on the board of the Wayne County Area Chamber of Commerce, the Richmond Art Museum, Reid Health, the Wayne County Foundation, the Richmond Symphony Orchestra and First Bank Richmond. She is also a steering committee member of Forward Wayne County.
When Cruz-Uribe joined IU East as its sixth chancellor in July 2013, she focused on being a “steward of place,” with the concept serving as the central point of her installation.
Since moving to Richmond, Cruz-Uribe has been an active citizen of Richmond and Wayne County.
“When Kathy accepted the chancellor’s position at IU East and she and her late husband, Gene, chose to move to Richmond and make this community their home, they really jumped in with both feet,” said Monica Koechlein, president of the Stamm Koechlein Family Foundation and executive director of the Richmond Symphony Orchestra. “They didn’t look at what this community could do for them, but rather what their time and talent could do to enhance the quality of this community.”
Shaun Dingwerth, executive director of Richmond Art Museum, serves on the IU East Campus Art Advisory Board and as a founding member of Palette to Palate, a collaborative fundraising event between the Richmond Art Museum and IU East.
“Where it has taken several years for many to get to know members of our community, it seemed like it took Kathy just a matter of months,” Dingwerth said.
Garry Kleer, president of First Bank Richmond, has volunteered with Chancellor Cruz-Uribe on community boards. Kleer and First Bank Richmond have provided leadership and support for the IU East Wellness Center, Student Events Center, and a $375,000 gift toward higher education, economic development and cultural enrichment.
“She has certainly shown that she is willing to jump in and do what she can to serve the organization and make the community better overall,” Kleer said.
Angie Dickman, vice president at Reid Health, has worked closely with the chancellor in her role as the chair of the IU East Board of Advisors.
“Kathy in a really short time has touched pretty much every aspect of this community – business, education, the arts – and her contributions are immeasurable,” Dickman said.
In addition to Chancellor Cruz-Uribe’s service to the community, her leadership at IU East has helped the campus to see record enrollment, improvement in student retention and graduation rates, record numbers of graduates, and increased student diversity. The campus has also introduced new baccalaureate degree programs under her leadership and increased online degree programs offerings.
IU East has undergone a number of campus projects and renovations under the direction of Cruz-Uribe. She has lead the way through a renovation of the quad area which includes an installation of an outdoor sculpture art exhibit. In 2016, the construction of IU East’s fifth building, the Student Events and Activities Center, was completed. The campus is currently renovating Vivian Auditorium to be a more state of the art facility.
Cruz-Uribe has also lead through philanthropic support of the campus. She and her late husband, Gene, provided financial support to assist with the construction of the Student Events and Activities Center. To recognize their generosity, the campus dedicated the Chancellor Kathryn Cruz-Uribe and Eugene Cruz-Uribe Interactive Classroom located in Springwood Hall. A second gift to IU East established the “Gloria & Joseph Allwarden and Lillian & Antonio Cruz-Uribe Scholarship,” to honor her and Gene’s parents.