KOKOMO, Ind. — Indiana University Kokomo celebrated its past, present and future, with dedication of a historical marker in front of the Main Building, as part of IU Day festivities Wednesday (April 20).
The marker, placed just west of Havens Auditorium near Washington Street, commemorates the campus’s contributions to the educational history of the state, and of north central Indiana.
James Capshew, IU historian and professor of history, said markers were planned for regional campuses as part of the IU Bicentennial celebration during the 2019 to 2020 academic year. The marker contains a brief history of the campus.
“This marker celebrates the real and lasting achievements of IU Kokomo,” he said. “This campus is a treasured member of the IU family and continues to fulfill its educational mission in the heartland of the state. It is, above all, a community of learning, a place where educational relationships are nurtured, and is a community that values inquiry, ethics, and justice.”
Mark Canada, executive vice chancellor for academic affairs and interim deputy chancellor, shared an update about the campus’s present and a vision for its future.
He is especially proud of the Kokomo Experience and You (KEY) program, which offers students travel and experiential learning opportunities.
“The KEY helps our students put their hands on their learning, with simulations, contests, competitions, and community projects,” he said, adding that it’s also included travel to places like Silicon Valley, Nashville, Disney World, New York City, and more.
“Our students are out there learning by doing,” he said. “We’re very proud of what we’re doing here in Kokomo, and around the country, and even internationally.”
Canada also highlighted the athletic programs, including the campus’s first national champion Grant Gaylor in shot put, the men’s basketball team advancing to the Sweet 16 in the NAIA tournament, and the volleyball’s team dominance in the River States Conference.
In addition, he shared about the expansion of the Multicultural Center, the programming provided by student activities, and the offerings of the Office of Career Services.
Canada further outlined future plans, including offering micro credentials for people who want to learn new career skills, lifelong learning programs, and plans to renovate the west wing of the Kelley Student Center, transforming it into Innovation Hall. It will include a tech innovation studio, a business intelligence lab, and the KEY Center for Innovation, which will pair students with area organizations and businesses for projects.
“We have a lot of exciting things coming at IU Kokomo,” he said.
IU Kokomo alumnus Justin Clark, digital initiatives director for the Indiana Historical Bureau, said the cast aluminum marker is one of more than 700 statewide, and one of two currently placed in Howard County. They examine a wide range of topics, including history, science, medicine, technology, Black history, and the arts.
“They provide snapshots of our past and help us return these stories to the historical landscape in which they belong,” he said. “These stories have shaped us and helped us recognize the impact Hoosiers have had across the nation and around the world in a number of fields.”
Faculty, staff, and students attended the event, along with special guests State Senator Jim Buck and Kokomo Mayor Tyler Moore.