IU President McRobbie, Southwest Indiana Chamber focused on regional topics before Evansville visit
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie spoke to members of the Southwest Indiana Chamber on Tuesday morning as a part of the chamber's series of signature events to educate and engage members on key issues of importance to the region. McRobbie updated chamber members on IU's progress and discussed the important connections between southwest Indiana and the university.
Justin Groenert, director of public policy and government relations for the Southwest Indiana Chamber, moderated the conference call, in which approximately 50 members participated.
During the 30-minute call, McRobbie covered several topics concerning IU Bicentennial priorities, with a specific focus on student success and catalyzing research.
IU has taken a number of steps to ensure that all academically qualified students are able to participate in programs that are accessible, affordable and of high quality, including helping them better manage their student debt. The MoneySmarts Financial Program, which has garnered nationwide acclaim, has helped reduce IU student borrowing by more than 16 percent over three years, resulting in an approximately $82.5 million reduction in graduate and undergraduate student borrowing over that period.
"Due to a large increase in institutional financial aid for undergraduate students over the past eight years, and our donor support, IU Bloomington has kept the average net cost of attendance the lowest among any other university in the Big Ten," McRobbie said. "And we take great pride in that."
IU will catalyze research through its recently announced Grand Challenges research program, the most ambitious such program in the university's history. Over the next five years, IU will invest at least $300 million in the Grand Challenges research program to develop transformative solutions for some of the planet's most pressing problems.
"Our goal here is to aggregate our internal strength and resources in research to focus on four to five major projects that will have major impact in our state, major impact nationally and maybe even internationally," McRobbie said.
Economic development in southwest Indiana
- Multi-Institutional Academic Health Science and Research Center -- A prized project in downtown Evansville, the center will encompass about 149,000 gross square feet and expand the IU School of Medicine operations in the city as well as health-related education programs from the University of Southern Indiana and the University of Evansville. McRobbie said the project will significantly increase the opportunities for medical and health-related education in Evansville and across southwestern Indiana by adding IU School of Medicine residents at Evansville, Jasper and Vincennes hospitals. McRobbie will visit Evansville on Oct. 23 for the official groundbreaking ceremony of IU School of Medicine at 10 a.m. CDT. The celebration is open to the public.
- Creation of an engineering program at IU Bloomington -- The program was strongly endorsed and recommended in the 2014 Battelle Memorial Institute Technology Partnership Practice's Strategic Plan for Economic and Community Prosperity in Southwest Central Indiana. The new engineering program -- intelligent systems engineering -- will be housed within the School of Informatics and Computing and offer bachelor's and Ph.D. degrees beginning with the 2016-17 academic year.
- Completion of I-69 -- IU faculty, staff and students have made significant contributions to the study of economic development along the new highway corridor, including actively serving on the I-69 Innovation Corridor Consortium. The Indiana Business Research Center has done extensive analysis of economic and educational demographics along the corridor.
"As a leading Indiana research institution and a driver of economic innovation and talent development, Indiana University has a serious presence in southwest Indiana," Groenert said. "The foresight to build a medical school campus in downtown Evansville will have profound impact on both our region and our state. We greatly appreciated the opportunity to hear directly from President McRobbie about the work IU is doing for the state. We look forward to having him in Evansville for the medical-school groundbreaking next week."
View Indiana University's live Twitter posts from McRobbie's Q&A with the Southwest Indiana Chamber of Commerce. Follow #McRobbieontheMove for live updates from the president's visit to Evansville on Oct. 23.