On This Day in IUPUI History: February 4, 1977

February 4, 1977. 

On this day, IUPUI chancellor Dr. Glenn W. Irwin, Jr., named Dr. Paul R. Bippen director of the IUPUI-Columbus Center. Bippen had served as interim director of the center since 1976, and before that he had been assistant to Indiana University's chancellor for regional programs and assistant to the IUPUI dean of the faculties.

For years Columbus citizens had pressed state-government leaders to provide higher-education opportunities in the city. When the General Assembly nixed the idea of a "Columbus Community College," city leaders asked state universities to set up a presence there. IU and Purdue University responded by assigning IUPUI to create a teaching center offering courses to meet Columbus's needs. The new extension center opened on August 17, 1970, with two employees: the director and a secretary. Thus, a university less than one-year-old had grown a satellite.

The name and mission of this center were politically sensitive in its early years. In order to secure initial funding, local legislators had to promise that regional campus status would not be sought for Columbus. Eventually these promises became outdated. With campus growth also came name changes to IUPUI Columbus, and still later IUPU Columbus.

Other sensitivities also affected IUPU Columbus. For over 20 years university leaders vetoed business degree programs in Columbus. Finally, in fall 2000 the IU Board of Trustees and the Indiana Commission on Higher Education approved a site-specific bachelors and, one month later, a graduate degree (MBA) for Columbus. These approvals came with full realization that they would change IUPU Columbus into a degree-granting site.

Today "IUPUC" is a thriving campus that employes 263 full-time and part-time faculty and staff. IUPUC students can now complete eleven programs entirely at IUPUC.

Dr. Bippen, appointed dean in 1994, is now retired but continues to serve both IUPUC and IUPUI actively. He currently serves on the IUPUI Campus History Committee during our Fiftieth Anniversary celebration. Each of his successors as dean of IUPUC has been appointed a vice chancellor of IUPUI.

Dr. Paul Bippen, 1977 UA24-005386

Do you have questions about IUPUI's fascinating history? Contact IUPUI Special Collections and Archives for help in finding answers speccoll@iupui.edu.

Updated Feb 04, 2019 by Editor Name Missing