UIndy to take on poverty 

Philanthropic gift paves way for new institute to address public and social issues

click to enlarge According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 20.9 percent of Indianapolis residents live at or below poverty level. - SUBMITTED PHOTO
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 20.9 percent of Indianapolis residents live at or below poverty level.
  • submitted photo

A major gift to the University of Indianapolis will allow the small southside college to research and address the issue of poverty while providing a formative learning opportunity for students interested in making a difference.

University President Dr. Rob Manuel announced the gift from Gene and Mary Ann Zink during a launch of the public phase of a capital fundraising campaign for the university. The capital campaign has a goal of $50 million dollars to catapult UIndy deep into the 21st century. The Zinks’ gift is a part of the campaign, with an emphasis on what the university does best — aligning itself with the community’s needs and focusing its student education to meet those needs.

Gene Zink, chairman and CEO of Strategic Capital Partners, was a key partner in the development of the UIndy Health Pavillion, a four-story building on the southeast edge of the campus newly dedicated over the homecoming weekend. That facility not only brings all of the schools health sciences programming under one roof, but it also incorporates the community at large.

The Community Health Network will operate a clinic on the campus to provide healthcare services for students, faculty and staff. The goal is to eventually expand a similar clinic open to the general public in the surrounding neighborhoods.

It’s that same idea of community engagement that inspired the Zinks to get involved at a deeper level than simply business.

“Mary Ann and I have been inspired by the vision of the university in responding to the important problems and questions facing our world,” Zink said. “We look forward to seeing that vision unfold.”

Their gift will be used to create The Gene and Mary Ann Zink Poverty Institute. The institute will address public and social issues surrounding poverty through a formative experiential learning environment. The funding will endow scholarships, faculty-guided undergraduate and graduate research opportunities, interdisciplinary study, special events, visiting speakers and faculty development activities.

“The Zinks have been vital partners with the university since the earliest conversations about our strategic plan, and their gift is an especially fitting way to introduce the Campaign for the University of Indianapolis,” said Manuel. “This interdisciplinary center will convene talent from across the country to study and create interventions that counter the effects of poverty in our communities. In many ways, this is the future model that connects problems in the world with the education and research taking place at universities.”

The amount of the gift has not yet been disclosed. The gift and the idea is so new that the details of what the institute will do, the degree programs it will support, and even where it will be housed have yet to be determined. However the building blocks and track record for the university is there and will serve as the foundation for this growing concept.

Whatever the design, the school’s motto, “Education for Service,” will be at the heart of the institute. And one can pretty much bet that the institute won’t just be a think-tank, issuing reports and studies on the topic of poverty, but will place students in situations and scenarios to not only study the issue, but also to tackle it hands-on.

“UIndy will remain a university committed to the faculty-student bond, the liberal arts foundation, applied learning, professional development, spiritual growth for students of all faith traditions and our longtime motto of ‘Education for Service,’” Manuel said. “Our aim is to embrace the qualities that make the university special, and to take those traditional strengths into the future and fully realize the value we provide to our students, the community and our city, nation and world.”

click to enlarge UIndy President Dr. Rob Manuel kicked off "The Campaign for the University of Indianapolis" at the Indianapolis Museum of Art Friday, Oct. 2. - SUBMITTED PHOTO
  • UIndy President Dr. Rob Manuel kicked off "The Campaign for the University of Indianapolis" at the Indianapolis Museum of Art Friday, Oct. 2.
  • submitted photo
The Campaign for the University of Indianapolis

The University of Indianapolis kicked off the public phase of its $50 million capital campaign Saturday.
The comprehensive campaign, which carries the theme “UIndy Starts With You,” will address the needs and opportunities identified in the university’s Vision 2030 strategic planning process that began in 2012.

The key focus areas of the Campaign for the University of Indianapolis include:
  • For students – support for scholarships, study abroad, faculty-guided research opportunities and paid internships through UIndy’s Professional Edge Center;
  • For faculty and academic excellence – endowed faculty chairs, interdisciplinary programming opportunities and research and travel funds;
  • For the campus and community – capital projects, technology upgrades and neighborhood development initiatives that enhance the educational experience while also improving quality of life in the surrounding area, fulfilling the university’s role as a community anchor; and
  • For the future – investment in transformational opportunities that support the growth and quality of the university, as well as further investment in established programs that will allow them to achieve a higher degree of excellence.

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Amber Stearns

Amber Stearns

Amber Stearns was born, raised, and educated right here in Indianapolis. She holds a B.S. in Communications from the University of Indianapolis (1995). Following a 20-year career in radio news in Indiana, Amber joined NUVO as News Editor in 2014.

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