sealPurdue News

February 20, 2002

Purdue launches new office to engage Indianapolis

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue is rolling out the welcome mat in Indianapolis, inviting the public to enter its relocated and expanded "front door" to assistance for business, government, consumers and families.

Purdue officials committed to helping Indianapolis stay competitive in the New Economy during a Discover Purdue celebration today (Wednesday, 2/20) on the city's northwest side where they officially opened the Purdue University Office of Engagement for Indianapolis.

"Our goal is to enhance the state's economy, and Indianapolis obviously is a key to accomplishing that goal," said Don Gentry, Purdue's vice provost for engagement. "This new facility will help us match the resources and expertise of the university with the needs of the people and businesses of Indianapolis and its surrounding communities."

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The new Office of Engagement will provide conference and office space for Purdue faculty and administrators who are working with Indianapolis business, education, government and other enterprises. By July 1, a full-time staff member will be hired. That person's assignment will be to increase awareness of opportunities for educational and business partnerships with the university.

As part of this effort, Purdue has contracted with the consulting firm of Thomas P. Miller and Associates to work on matching Purdue's Technical Assistance Program with the specific technology needs of Indianapolis businesses. Since 1986, TAP has worked to make industrial and high-tech companies more competitive through the adoption of state-of-the-art technologies. TAP also has increased placement of Purdue students in Indiana through its intern and high-tech job fair programs.

"Purdue's partnership with the city of Indianapolis and its commitment to focus on the needs of this city's business and educational community can only strengthen our local economy and quality of life," said Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson, a speaker at today's ceremony.

The Office of Engagement also will work closely with the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership, an alliance of Indiana business and research university leaders working to foster long-term prosperity for the region.

"In this state, more than 20 percent of the jobs are in manufacturing – one of the highest percentages of any state in the nation," said Purdue President Martin C. Jischke. "We’re working with the CICP to promote what we're calling advanced manufacturing, which is knowledge-based and technology-based kinds of manufacturing."

But helping the economy, Jischke said, must begin with education. Purdue has just formed a partnership with the Indianapolis Public Schools to start a program called Science Bound. The program's goal is to double the number of underrepresented students who graduate from IPS and come to Purdue to study engineering, technology, science, or math or science education. Each year, 60 seventh-graders will be selected to participate in the program.

"We’ll work with these students over the next five years, make sure they study the right level of math and science in high school, and invite them to the campus for a summer camp once every year," Gentry said. "If they make their grades, graduate, and come to Purdue in any of those subjects, we’ll offer them full-tuition scholarships for four years."

Purdue's engagement office is located in INTECH Park on 71st Street, just off I-465. The office is shared with Purdue's Cooperative Extension Service in Marion County, which recently moved from its location at 96th and Meridian streets in Indianapolis.

Since 1917, the Extension Service has operated as the university's "front door" in Indianapolis, providing scientific research-based information and education in agriculture and natural resources; consumer and family sciences; leadership and community; and 4-H and youth development.

"We will continue to work with local neighborhoods and schools," said Maryann Dickason, Extension director in Marion County. "Our mission stays the same. We've just now widened the door to Purdue."

Decorated in Purdue's colors of black and gold, the new 14,500-square-foot facility features upgraded videoconferencing capability that includes five wall-mounted cameras and a wireless microphone system, high-speed T-1 fiberoptic Internet connections, two conference rooms, a 62-seat classroom, multiple client meeting rooms and a state-of-the-art demonstration kitchen.

"People want to learn as efficiently as possible," said David Petritz, director of Purdue Extension. "With our enhanced distance-learning capabilities at this site we are making it easier for the people of Indianapolis and surrounding area to take advantage of the learning opportunities provided by Extension and the university."

The new facility also will allow Purdue Extension to better serve its growing school enrichment program and improve the quality of other popular local offerings such as the Master Gardener Program, Petritz said.

Discover Purdue is the theme for a yearlong invitation to learn about Purdue University – its leadership and its future potential for economic development, research and education.

Writer: Jeanine S. Phipps, (765) 496-3133;

Sources: Martin C. Jischke, (765) 494-9708

Don K. Gentry, (765) 494-9095;

Steve Campbell, press secretary, Office of the Mayor, Indianapolis, [317] 327-3622

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

Related Web sites:
Purdue economic development

Central Indiana Corporate Partnership

Don Gentry, vice-provost for engagement; Maryann Dickason, Marion County extension director; Bart Peterson, mayor of Indianpolis; Martin Jischke, president of Purdue University cut the ribbon and celebrate the opening of the new Indianapolis Engagement office, located in Intech Park today (2/20). (Purdue News Service Photo by David Umberger)

A publication-quality photograph is available at Photo ID: gentry.engagement

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