Master plan connecting IPFW to businesses announced

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) A standing-room-only crowd filled Helmke Library on the IPFW campus Friday, to hear about potential community/business partnerships.

Since last year, several area business leaders have been in talks with the people at the university about their involvement with the school’s realignment.

“The business community has neglected IPFW,” Greater Fort Wayne Chairman of the Board Ron Turpin said during the presentation. “We want to help rectify that and help do our part to make this a great institution.”

Greater Fort Wayne Chairman of the Board Ron Turpin introduces a plan to connect business leaders to IPFW’s future.

Next year, the separation of the university is supposed to be complete. On Friday, those business leaders shared a master plan that will guide a connection between the re-branded school and surrounding community.

“I believe with the changes that are coming, we have an opportunity with IPFW, or the two schools now, to be even stronger and more important for our region,” Sweetwater’s Chuck Surack added.

Surack is one of those leaders who has a personal connection to the school. He sees potential for an impactful music program.

“I can envision the school of music for Purdue University being based out of Fort Wayne, Indiana,” Surack said enthusiastically. “We need to design the right kind of programs and get [university leaders] buy in and we could be on the next step for music and music production in Fort Wayne, Indiana.”

A list of points lays out the plan to connect IPFW with north east Indiana businesses.

That plan includes 8 points covering things like creating an independent foundation, assuring North East Indiana is represented on the board of trustees and building up the Coliseum Blvd. campus.

While the presentation focused on the future, connecting college to the community, there are questions about the transition, happening right now.

“There’s still a lot of fear about what’s going to happen,” Steven Carr, a communications professor asked a question during the presentation.

“In my personal opinion, that’s not going to change until we see some true leadership on this campus that tries to address those issues of broken trust and diminished morale,” Carr added.

City Councilman Russ Jehl was also hat the meeting. IPFW is in his district.

“There’s a lot of concern. There’s a lot of angst,” Jehl said. “Is the split going to be good? Is it going to be bad? Positive or negative? It depends on whether the promises are made, therefore, we need to be engaged, we need to watch and we need to be vigilant.”