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Celebrating 40 Years of Excellence!

1969 - 2009


The Bepko Years

The Bepko Years

Growth. Engagement. Increasing aspirations.

That's how Chancellor Emeritus Gerald "Jerry" Bepko describes what happened at IUPUI during his tenure as campus chief executive.

IUPUI's growth has paralleled Indianapolis', says Bepko. In the early 1960s when the chancellor emeritus came to Indianapolis as a professor in IU School of Law-Indianapolis, the city was a "pretty sleepy place....Today it's competitive in so many different ways with very important urban centers around the country," Bepko says.

"The same thing happened at IUPUI. Along with the city, it changed its mission, its aspirations, going from a conglomerate of academic programs cobbled together....Little by little it began to emerge that this was a set of academic programs, that made sense, that had to be made more coherent. That had to be improved and expanded to provide the great university resources that a growing, dynamic region like this one needs."

"IUPUI's growth has paralleled Indianapolis'."

Serving as chancellor from 1986 to 2002, Bepko led the campus during the construction of almost two dozen buildings, including the University Library. That "involved the most dramatic change in the campus," Bepko says. "We went from having a very tiny library, one that didn't serve our population at all to having a state-of-the art library....We went from trying to play catch to being in a leadership position in terms of technology applications in the learning process."

The campaign raised $18 million for the library, the equivalent of about 30 or 35 million today, the chancellor says. "Private money raised for that project showed people that IUPUI was an institution that was really on the move and had the capacity to grow into something much greater than it was. The library project made people sit up and take notice."

Chancellor Bepko says "he went to bat" for moving all the science programs from the 38th Street campus, believing it was imperative for the campus' academic mission. While that move was contested by those who thought it wasnt a state priority, the wisdom of Bepko's vision has been vindicated with the state's current push to become a life and health sciences capital.

"Now the Commission for Higher Education has made the STEM degrees a statewide priority.

"I believed that back in 1987. I believe it today."