February 1998


Jean and I are taking a trip to Africa this month, where we may, subject to travel contingencies, visit students and faculty from the IU School of Medicine at the Moi University Medical School in Eldoret, Kenya. The collaboration between the two medical schools was begun in 1990 by Dr. Robert M. Einterz, a clinical associate professor at IU. Dr. Einterz was given the John W. Ryan Award for Distinguished Contributions in International Programs and Studies at IU's Founders Day ceremony last spring, a university-wide recognition of his work. In the last seven years, more than 135 IU faculty and students have participated in the program, teaching, treating patients, conducting research and participating in health outreach programs. More than a dozen Moi University students and faculty have studied here since 1995.

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IUPUI faculty, students and administrators were united in condemning hate mail directed at first-year African-American students at the IU School of Law-Indianapolis last month. This ugly instance of racism was met with swift, constructive responses to help allay students concern and address the justifiable outrage expressed by students, faculty and staff of all colors and creeds.

    Immediately following discovery of the hate mail, Dean Norman Lefstein met with the Black Law Students Association and formed a committee to consider their recommendations, which included eliminating misconceptions that the law school's implementation of Affirmative Action policies is anything else but an effort to offer minorities, women, veterans and people with disabilities a fair opportunity, not special consideration. Former NAACP president Benjamin L. Hooks, who was in town for our annual Martin Luther King Day, and U.S. Rep. Julia Carson also met with law school students to talk about how to respond to the incident.

    A reward of $2000 or more is offered for information leading to the arrest of the individual or individuals responsible for the hate mail.

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The IUPUI chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers has been named the best in the Midwest. Student NSBE representatives from the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI were presented the Chapter of the Year award at the NSBE s regional conference earlier this month in Cincinnati. The NSBE, through its network of engineering students nationwide, seeks to increase historically low numbers of minorities in the fields of engineering and technology through leadership, career access and education programs. The IUPUI chapter has been active in a range of community service and outreach programs. They have hosted weekend Internet workshops for inner-city high school students, participated in the rehabilitation of several downtown homes and donated thousands of dollars worth of toys, clothing and food to local families and the homeless during Christmas and Thanksgiving.

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February 22-28 is National Engineers Week, and the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI and its alumni association are hosting the second annual Topics 2000 professional engineering conference Feb. 25 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the University Place Conference Center. This year's luncheon speaker is John B. Wellman, deputy manager of flight science experiments at the California Institute of Technology s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Mr. Wellman was the experiment operations chief for NASA's Mars Pathfinder Mission, which returned critical data on the planet's surface, geology, and atmosphere. Topics 2000 is sponsored by Design Printing Company, Cinergy PSI, Carrier Corporation, and EDS, who, along with other leading area businesses, will have representatives at an engineering and technology job fair from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the conference center. For information about the conference or the job fair, please contact the IUPUI Office of Alumni Relations at (317) 274-8828.

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The 13th Annual Gospel Festival, a highlight of Black History Month at IUPUI, will be held Feb. 28 at the Madame C.J. Walker Theater. This year's performance, "Moments of Eternity," begins at 7 p.m. and includes the IUPUI African-American Choral Ensemble and the Indianapolis Chapter of the Gospel Music Workshop of America. For tickets and other information, call the IUPUI Office of Campus Interrelations at (317) 274-3931.

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At a recent IUPUI Board of Advisors meeting, Mayor Stephen Goldsmith noted that IUPUI is underappreciated in its power to aid the city in its efforts to revitalize neighborhoods and support leadership infrastructure empowerment and development within our communities.

The Community Outreach Partnership Council is one way IUPUI can concentrate its efforts with adjacent neighborhoods. It was formed to strengthen ties between IUPUI and the Stringtown, Haughville and Hawthorne neighborhoods just west of our campus and held its inaugural meeting late last month. I am honored to serve as co-chair of the council along with Danny Woodcock, president of the Westside Cooperative Organization (WESCO), an umbrella organization that represents the three neighborhoods. Council membership includes officers from neighborhood associations, IUPUI administrators and non-voting representatives from city government.

The council will oversee administration of a $395,000 grant received by IUPUI last fall from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to foster university-community partnerships. The grant money will be used to target IUPUI resources at a range of economic, educational and organization needs identified by WESCO. For example, our Institute of Action Research for Community Health and the IU Center on Philanthropy will offer training in fund raising and community outreach to WESCO members. The Center for Urban Policy and the Environment and Indianapolis Regional Small Business Development Center, both based at IUPUI, will help the neighborhoods create an economic development plan to recruit new and sustain existing businesses, as well as teach area workers new skills. IUPUI's Office of Service Learning works with WESCO on the educational needs of nearly 200 neighborhood children through after-school tutoring and other programs.

This forum's value was clear in our first meeting, when we reported on projects beyond the scope of the HUD grant that are already underway on the near-Westside. They include Laptop Kids, a Christamore House program funded by Reilly Corporate Foundation and the IU School of Medicine that teaches preschoolers, their parents and senior citizens how to use computers. Spanish and English Classes are offered to residents through the IUPUI Community Learning Network, and a mentoring program for children at the Hawthorne Community Center is provided by student athletes from the IUPUI women's basketball, softball and tennis teams.

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The IU School of Dentistry will hold its annual Children's Dental Health Fair Feb. 28. For more than a decade, the dental school has offered free oral health screening and fluoride treatments for preschool and grade school students during the fair, supervised by faculty members. About 200 children participate in this event each year. For more information, call the school at (317) 274-7957.

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As Mir astronaut David Wolf is welcomed safely home, we are reminded that January marked the 10th anniversary of the IUPUI Challenger Scholarship Program, established in memory of the seven astronauts who died aboard the space shuttle in 1986. The program has awarded full-tuition scholarships and a $1000-per-semester stipend to 35 outstanding IUPUI students majoring in science, engineering and technology, social science and education.

Two examples are Teresa Morehead and Claire Godfrey. Teresa, 27, is a two-time recipient of the scholarship. When awarded the first in 1991, Teresa was on active duty in the Persian Gulf War as a surgery technician aboard a U.S. Navy hospital ship. When she won it again in 1992, she was studying for degrees in biology and chemistry. Teresa went on to earn a master's degree in biology and is working on her doctorate while teaching part-time at IUPUI.

Claire Godfrey, 26, remembers watching television coverage of the Challenger explosion while a freshman at Lawrence North High School in Indianapolis. As a junior majoring in psychology at IUPUI, Claire was awarded a Challenger scholarship named in honor of African-American astronaut Ronald McNair. She is now a fourth-year medical student here.

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A special thanks to IU President Myles Brand and alumni and friends of IUPUI who participated in this year's homecoming. Nearly 1000 people came to the IUPUI Gymnasium Jan. 31 to watch the men's basketball team beat the University of Michigan-Dearborn 80-69.

And congratulations to Coach Ron Hunter and the Metros!

Gerald L. Bepko, Chancellor