Residing in Fort Wayne has a vast array of bonuses. We have a wonderful venue for concerts at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, which I have visited with my family often. Headwaters Park offers the unique Three Rivers Festival along with an extensive festival line up in the summer months. Although the list of attractions in Fort Wayne could go on and on, our community is also known for having one of the greatest college campuses in the state, Indiana University - Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW).
As a state lawmaker, I am proud of all of the work that IPFW is doing to better prepare our students for the future. I have visited the campus many times, and I have seen firsthand the devotion that the students, faculty and staff all have to ensure their success.
Last month, I was pleased to learn that IPFW is taking the right steps to change their designation from a regional campus to a metropolitan university, which is something I have been working towards in the Legislature, especially this session with a bill I authored, House Bill 1627. Fort Wayne is the second largest municipality in Indiana, and IPFW is the largest university in our area, fifth largest in the state, and the level of support should be reflective of that.
This new designation for IPFW is a much needed gateway to receive more funding, and it was a great honor to have Purdue President, Mitch Daniels, show his support for this idea. Though IPFW’s primary responsibility centers on undergraduate education, additional funding for IPFW means more opportunities for students to pursue higher levels of education with a broader array of masters and professional degrees offered. It also means that the school would be better equipped to meet the demands of a growing student population.
IPFW has been such a great asset to Fort Wayne and has grown tremendously since it was established 50 years ago. Celebrating its half-century anniversary, IPFW is vital to local economy and attracts countless students to Indiana. Several business in the greater Fort Wayne area work in conjunction with IPFW to fortify relationships between the students and possible future employers. I am thankful to be a part of a community which instills such great relationships between a college campus and the workforce.
A few weeks ago I had the honor of meeting with several IPFW students, who came to the Statehouse for a tour and to receive a Senate Concurrent Resolution, honoring their 50th anniversary. These students were just a handful of the more than 9,500 students who are currently enrolled as undergraduates, and the more than 500 who are enrolled as a graduates. Additionally, there are more than 50,000 living alumni and 80 percent live and work in northeast Indiana, and quite a few have made their way to working for the Indiana House of Representatives. These numbers are important and all the more reason why IPFW should have the designation as metropolitan university.
As a father and proud business owner in Fort Wayne, it is great to know that schools like IPFW are in our community that, not only provides high quality education, but supports and grows the economy as well. I look forward to seeing the great things to come from IPFW in the next 50 years.
Rep. Morris represents portions of Allen County. He serves as the Vice Chairman of Commerce, Small Business and Economic Development Committee and is a member of Employment, Labor and Pensions and Roads and Transportation Committees.