Your Town Friday: IUPUI Chancellor thrilled with freshman class record

Indianapolis, Ind. - IUPUI started classes this week and that's where we're wrapping up our Your Town Friday Back to School tour!

The campus downtown Indianapolis awards degrees from both Purdue University and Indiana University.

"There are two really true high energy moments in the academic year, and they are book ends, so it’s the start of the year and commencement," said Jay Gladden, Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education. "Today's energy is all about the students returning in force, finding their classrooms and pursing their dreams."

We met Luke Hammond on the first day of his sophomore year.

"I'm from Logansport and I needed to come here because I needed to get a taste of a larger city and get those connections that IUPUI sells to its students and I'm slowly learning it's not just a pitch they sell, we really do have those Indy connections here."

Those connections started back in 1969, when Indiana and Purdue merged and named Maynard K Hine the first chancellor of IUPUI.

The school's fifth chancellor spent time with us this week after a big weekend of helping students move in on campus.

"And our students are so excited to be here, and do you know the average age of students coming here this year? Eighteen years old," said Chancellor Nasser Paydar.

And that's a big deal to Chancellor Paydar.

He joined the school in 1985 as an assistant professor of mechanical engineering, when he says it was smaller and tended to cater to older adults.

This week, he welcomed the largest freshman class in history. And the most diverse.

"We have over 4,000 students that are coming as freshman. I think 4,200 to be exact. Roughly 34 percent of them are students of color and we are delighted to have them on our campus," said Chancellor Paydar.

Junior Gauri Nagaraj moved here when she was 17-years-old.

"I was born in India and I grew up there for two years and then I moved to Dubai with my parents and I did my schooling there so when I graduated high school and came here to IUPUI. Everyone's like, why did you move here or why did you leave Dubai?!"

And she tells them she wanted to!

"You have amazing faculty and it's just really fun here."

That's why science professor Gabriel Filippelli is as excited on year 25 as he was on his very first year.

"This is my favorite week of the year! After a summer of research with students in the lab, now I get to sit down and start having conversations with undergraduate students in big classes."

And when their second favorite time of year arrives, they know many students won't go too far.

"We are also proud of the fact that we graduate roughly 7,000 students a year and 90 percent of them stay right here in the state of Indiana," Chancellor Paydar.

IUPUI is home to the only dental school in the state. And 80 percent of dentists in Indiana earned their degree there! Each year students treat more than 19,000 patients.

The school's nursing program is also special. U.S. News ranks IUPUI's nursing program as one of the top 50  in the country. If you're interested in a nursing degree, there is a free information session September 11th at 10 a.m. in the campus center.

There are some famous faces that went to school there and that includes Vice President Mike Pence. The former Indiana Governor earned his bachelor's degree in history from Hanover College, but he got his law degree at IUPUI in 1986.

The late Normal Bridwell is a Herron School of Art and Design alumnus. Bridwell was the author and illustrator of the "Clifford the Big Red Dog" series.

And professional basketball player George Hill played for IUPUI, earning many honors including Summit League Player of the Year. George has played for five NBA teams, including the Indiana Pacers.

 

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