June 12, 1978.
On this day, IUPUI's Weekend College initiative won a CASPER Award from the Community Service Council of Metropolitan Indianapolis, Inc., an award given to individuals and organizations for service to the community. The council commended IUPUI's Weekend College effort as "innovative" and satisfying city residents' "hunger to know."
The Weekend College program began in 1973 as a small experiment in IUPUI's School of Liberal Arts. The school rolled out a full program in 1976 as part of an effort to extend higher education to people "whose work or family responsibilities leave only weekends open for education," according to a press release at the time. IUPUI students and students in other colleges and universities were also welcome to enroll. Under the direction of Dr. James East, associate dean of the School of Liberal Arts, Weekend College classes included courses in arts, humanities, social and natural sciences. Graduate courses in education were also offered on weekends for teachers active during the school week. Classes were held on Saturdays and Sundays. With the growth of the program, more classes were added on Friday nights.
The experiment at IUPUI mirrored efforts across the country to bring higher education to more citizens. East noted that he expected an initial enrollment of five hundred Weekend College students. However, thousands of Indianapolis residents turned out to take college-level classes in their spare time. By the early 1980s IUPUI's Weekend College had the second largest enrollment in the country.
In 1979, East started the Learn and Shop college-credit program, an off-shoot of Weekend College, in which adult students took classes in shopping malls around the city. Learn and Shop enrollments took off as well.
To study the innovative Weekend College and Learn and Shop programs, consult records in IUPUI Special Collections and Archives. Ask an archivist your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.