Kathy and Gene Cruz-Uribe see potential in new Student Events and Activities Center, provide $50,000 gift

Kathy and Gene Cruz-Uribe

IU East Chancellor Kathy Cruz-Uribe and Professor of History Gene Cruz-Uribe

As a candidate for Indiana University East’s next chancellor in January 2013, Kathy Cruz-Uribe heard many topics that were important to faculty, staff and students. One of those topics to capture her attention was the construction of the campus’ fifth building, the Student Events and Activities Center.

Now in her fourth year as IU East’s sixth chancellor, Cruz-Uribe and her husband, Gene, a professor of history for the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, are leading the way in supporting the center and other philanthropic initiatives on campus – including student internships and scholarships.

“When I interviewed at IU East, I heard all about the center – everyone was excited, and with good reason,” Chancellor Cruz-Uribe said. “Planning was well underway, and we knew that we wanted to support the fundraising efforts. We began by contributing to the ‘Save My Seat’ campaign even before we started working here.”

The excitement she and her husband shared in the potential new building – and the possibilities it could bring to the campus – inspired the couple to contribute toward the “Bold Aspirations” Campaign.

Now, they are providing a $50,000 gift toward the Student Events and Activities Center. To recognize their generosity, the campus plans to name a classroom located in Springwood Hall the Chancellor Kathryn Cruz-Uribe and Eugene Cruz-Uribe Interactive Classroom.

“After we arrived at IU East and began to know the campus, to attend athletic contests and other campus events, we became even more convinced that this new building would be a critical new addition to our campus,” Chancellor Cruz-Uribe said. “So, we wanted to do more to help, and we are happy that we are able to do so. We love IU East and we think the students, faculty and staff are wonderful. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve this community and our region.”

Gene Cruz-Uribe emphasized the potential he sees in the gymnasium to be much more than a facility to host athletic events.

“We see how the new building will involve all students in all of their activities, thus the student activities center is certainly an apt name,” he said.

The university began raising funds for the center in October 2012 through its public campaign, Bold Aspirations: The Campaign for the Student Events Center. Through community and campus support, the campaign raised $1.7 million for the project, to build upon the $3 million IU East had reserved from savings and efficiencies. The project moved forward with construction beginning in June 2015.

On August 19, IU East will dedicate the new building. The center will promote student success through a comprehensive offering of programming in health and wellness, physical education, athletics, student activities and special events.

“The Student Events and Activities Center is so important for our campus,” Chancellor Cruz-Uribe said. “It is our first new building in many years, and moves us forward in our mission as a four-year regional campus of Indiana University. The current IU East strategic plan calls for us to ‘continue to build a campus that is physically consistent with a four-year and graduate institution, including spaces where students interact and connect with the campus and each other,’ and the Student Events and Activities Center contributes directly to this goal.”

The Cruz-Uribes try to attend many academic events and home athletic matches every season. They, like many fans, are looking forward to seeing the Red Wolves’ gym filled and the crowd cheering on the pack. They are also looking forward to the lectures, special events and academic programs that could be hosted in the space as well.

“The center will be used for athletic contests, which involve student athletes as well as numerous student spectators,” Chancellor Cruz-Uribes said. “But in addition, it will be open to other students as well as faculty and staff for other activities. We have certainly held events that have stretched our other campus facilities to the maximum, and so we have need for a bigger venue. The Office of Campus Life puts on a number of outstanding programs that will also be able to take advantage of the center. And there will be ‘open gym’ times when students, faculty and staff may use the facility for personal fitness; I am looking forward to walking in the center on rainy and snowy days.”

IU East is a campus that supports philanthropy, particularly when it comes to its students. A majority of faculty and staff contribute to the Campus Campaign, an annual campus fundraiser for student scholarships and programs. This past year, more than 68 percent participated in the campaign.

“All gifts to the campus, no matter what the size, are important. Gene and I are so impressed by the level of giving at the IU East campus, which is far above the norms for most public institutions. It reflects a commitment and dedication on the part of our faculty and staff to our mission,” Chancellor Cruz-Uribe said.

For Gene Cruz-Uribe, the gift is part of being a member of the community.

“Growing up in Green Bay, one of the things I learned was that giving begins at home. For some that meant that you should provide only for your family and church and at most your local community. But I realized that it meant being a part of your larger community and its impact in the state and region,” Gene Cruz-Uribe said.

“Moving to Richmond, I saw that the IU East community really did care about all of the students. They cared not just for how well they did in the classroom, but outside in their family and community lives. It was very refreshing to come into an environment where people really cared. For us to give to support the Student Events and Activities Center was, for me, going back to my roots. Giving really does begin at home.”

Through the campaign, many faculty and staff participated in the “Save My Seat” option to support the center. IU East’s connection with the community also brought tremendous support for the Student Events and Activities Center.

“As I’ve said many times, a theme I have heard over and over from many faculty and staff, as well as students, is that ‘IU East is like a family’,” Chancellor Cruz-Uribe said. “And families help each other – just as our faculty and staff help our students succeed in so many ways. And just like Gene and I were impressed by the level of giving at IU East, so are others. When we are talking to community donors, it is very nice to be able to point to the tremendous campus participation we see on our campus.”

This gift counts toward the $2.5 billion campaign, For All: The Indiana University Bicentennial Campaign. IU East’s campaign goal is $7 million, which will help fund a variety of campus initiatives, student scholarships and strategic projects. Find out more about IU East and ways to assist the campus at iue.edu/development.

For All: The Indiana University Bicentennial Campaign is taking place on all IU-administered campuses including IU Bloomington, Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis, IU East, IU Kokomo, IU Northwest, IU South Bend, and IU Southeast. The campaign will conclude in December 2019 to coincide with IU’s bicentennial year celebration in 2020. To learn more about the campaign, its impact, and how to participate, please visit forall.iu.edu.

Founded in 1936, the Indiana University Foundation maximizes private support for Indiana University by fostering lifelong relationships with key stakeholders and providing advancement leadership and fundraising services for campuses and units across the university. Today, the IU Foundation oversees one of the largest public university endowments in the country, with a market value of approximately $1.9 billion. In fiscal year 2015, IU received $359.3 million in support from the private sector. IU is consistently ranked among the top four of Big Ten universities in annual voluntary support.