12 Ways IU’s Regional Campuses Are Making a World of Difference

Illustration of planets with a large white number 12.

Indiana University opened its first regional extension center in Fort Wayne in 1917. Today, IU has seven regional campuses, in addition to the core campuses in Bloomington and Indianapolis.

The regional campuses serve students in Gary, South Bend, Fort Wayne, Kokomo, Richmond, Columbus, and New Albany. Moreover, these campuses enrich the communities they call home with meaningful scholarship, outreach, and service. Here are just 12 examples of how IU’s regional campuses are making a difference throughout Indiana and beyond.


A sandy, sloping shore next to a medium-blue lake that extends toward the horizon. The sky is blue and full of expansive white clouds.
Indiana Dunes. Photo courtesy IU Northwest.

1.

IU Northwest geologist Erin Argyilan and her students helped solve a mystery at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. In 2013, a six-year-old boy fell into a hidden hole and was buried under 11 feet of sand at Mt. Baldy. He was rescued, and Argyilan later discovered that the hole was the result of a decomposing forest beneath the sand.

2.

Omar Attum, IU Southeast associate professor of biology, has received two Fulbright awards. With his 2020 award, he planned to develop a citizen scientist program to help endangered marine wildlife.

3.

IU Kokomo students are mentoring boys incarcerated at the Logansport Juvenile Correctional Facility. The goal of the program is to reduce recidivism by helping the juveniles obtain and maintain employment.*

4.

IU South Bend signed a 5-year-old fan to its baseball team. In 2019, Thomas Kabelis, who has mitochondrial myopathy and intractable epilepsy, signed his letter of intent with the Titans. Head Coach Doug Buysse said, “It gives him the chance to be a part of something, have 37 role models in his life, and feel like he belongs.”

A group of college baseball players wearing "Titans" T-shirts and red I-U baseball caps surround a long table where a small, smiling boy in an oversized Titans shirt stands on a chair.
IU South Bend men’s baseball team with 5-year-old signee Thomas Kabelis (center, standing on chair). Photo courtesy of IU South Bend.

5.

An IU East professor honored her son by establishing a scholarship for students pursuing medicine. Joan Esterline Lafuze and her daughters created a scholarship in memory of her son, Robert, who died in 2019. The scholarship will help students pursuing a degree from the IU East School of Natural Science and Mathematics who hope to go into medicine.

6.

The Sanders Financial Markets Lab at IU Southeast is the first classroom of its kind in the region. Made possible by the generosity of IU Southeast alumni Judge Carlton and Sue Sanders, the lab is a state-of-the-art facility with data, analytical, technological, and other resources that rival those found in real-world trading rooms.

7.

IUPUC faculty member John Shepherd is co-leading the Grand Universe project to bring the Midwest’s largest planetarium to central Indiana. The 105,000-square-foot space-science center is scheduled to open in Westfield in 2024—the same year that NASA plans to return astronauts to the moon.

There’s a very real possibility that one of the students we touch could go on to be one of the first people who set foot on Martian soil.
— John Shepherd, IUPUC faculty member

8.

A reading program at IU East supports families with children in grades K–12. The Family R.E.A.D. Club (Read, Explore, Ask, Discover) encourages learning together as a family, and promotes an array of nonfiction books highlighting themes related to diversity and inclusion.*

Album cover featuring dozens of photos of faces. The copy reads "American Dreamers: Voices of Hope and Freedom. John Daversa Big Band featuring DACA artists."
American Dreamers: Voices of Hope, Music of Freedom album cover.

9.

Two students from the IU South Bend Raclin School of the Arts performed on a Grammy-winning album. Juan-Carlos Alarcon, BME’19, and Salvador Perez Lopez, BM’18, MM’20, contributed spoken word pieces and played instruments on the album American Dreamers: Voices of Hope, Music of Freedom, which won three Grammy Awards in 2019.

10.

The Innovation Symposium at IU Kokomo helps students think globally, act locally. A collaboration between alumna and philanthropist Kathleen Ligocki and faculty member Karla Stouse, the program has students research technology, philanthropy, and the environment before traveling to England and Scotland for three weeks. Ultimately, the students develop projects that address global issues on a local level.*

Two people stand in front of a police vehicle. On the left is a person with short brown hair, wearing glasses; an unbuttoned, long-sleeve, blue-and-green plaid shirt over a light-blue T-shirt; blue jeans; and sneakers. They have their right hand on their hip and they're leaning against the vehicle. The person on the right is bald and stands with his left hand on hip. He wears a black, short-sleeve, collard shirt with a police logo on it; black cargo pants; and black shoes.
IU School of Social Work at IU Fort Wayne graduate student Darcy Robins (left) worked with Tim Potts, chief of the Purdue Police Department at Fort Wayne. Photo courtesy of the IU School of Social Work.

11.

An IU Fort Wayne student is helping the Purdue Police Department incorporate social work skills to better serve the community. Darcy Robins, a social work graduate student, developed a system for tracking mental health-related calls, accompanied officers on calls, and assisted students who were experiencing mental health crises or stress.

12.

IU Northwest has been designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education. It is the only public comprehensive institution of higher education in the state of Indiana with this designation.

* Indicates a program supported, in part, by a grant from the IU Women’s Philanthropy Leadership Council.


This article originally appeared in the fall 2020 issue of IMAGINE magazine.

Written By
Andrea Alumbaugh
A native Hoosier, Andrea Alumbaugh is a graduate of IU (BAJ’08) and a senior writer at the IU Foundation.