Todd Witsken fulfilled many dreams before he succumbed in May, at age 34, to brain cancer after a long, courageous and graceful fight.
Some dreams were realized on the tennis court. As a member of Carmel High School's state championship team, he never lost a match. As a professional, he was among the top doubles players. In singles, he won against some of the game's best - including Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe.
Off the court, Todd was a devoted husband and father of four. He cut short a lucrative professional career to spend more time with his young family. He was a member of the Governor's Council for Physical Fitness and Sport and raised money for the American Cancer Society, Riley Hospital for Children, Pleasant Run Children's Home and the I Have a Dream Foundation.
As director of the Indianapolis Tennis Center at IUPUI he enhanced its world- class reputation, both in player development and as a venue for international tennis, including the RCA Championships. He also began his campaign to attract the Davis Cup.
Just before he died, the United States Tennis Association announced that the tennis center would host the Davis Cup quarterfinal match between the United States and Belgium. Todd's dream to bring Davis Cup play to Indiana for the first time was realized, a measure of the esteem in which he is held by the international tennis community. Like everyone who knew him, we miss him and wished he could have been with us when the Davis Cup came to Indy.
Gov. Frank O'Bannon was a guest speaker for the IU Foundation Board of Directors, whose annual spring/summer meeting was held at IUPUI last month. He praised the board for its leadership in helping the university grow in quality through private as well as public support. His recognition of IUPUI focused on community partnerships, health care and research and high technology as contributors to the state's social fabric and economic vitality.
First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton met with IUPUI's Upward Bound students during her visit to Indianapolis last month. This program exposes low-income, often first- generation, college students to the university environment while still in high school. This summer, 50 students from Arlington, Perry Meridian, Southport and Warren Central high schools spent six weeks on campus, living in dorms, taking classes, discussing social issues and performing community service. All high school seniors who participated in IUPUI's program during the 1997-98 school year are currently college bound.
Adding international luster to the school are Professor Sherry Ricchiardi and other faculty who, through numerous visits to Zagreb University in Croatia, have enhanced press freedom by helping establish the university's first student newspaper and radio station.
Among donors recognized were Anita C. Inlow, widow of Lawrence W. Inlow, former executive vice president and general counsel of Conseco, Inc., whose gift of $5 million will allow the building to carry the name Lawrence W. Inlow Hall. Mrs. Ruth Lilly's gift of $2 million will fund the new Ruth Lilly Law Library. The new moot courtroom/auditorium will be named for 1963 law school graduate John Wynne, and his wife, Barbara, in keeping with their lead gift of $1 million. A naming opportunity for the Eli Lilly & Co. Foundation pledge of $800,000 is pending.IUPUI launches its new master's degree program in public health this fall.
The program is based in the IU School of Medicine, but draws upon faculty from 13 other schools at IUPUI, including the IU schools of law, nursing, education, business and social work and the Purdue schools of science and engineering and technology. The program also partners with the Marion County Health Department and the Indiana State Department of Health in a collaborative, community-based approach to graduate education in such areas as public health research and policy development. Like much of what goes on at IUPUI, this program has been created without any new state funding.
Initial enrollment underscores the program's interdisciplinary nature and diverse appeal . The students range in age from 26 to 55. The inaugural class of 30 includes a medical school student and three physicians as well as several nurses, research scientists, social workers and health promotion officials. All will work full time while pursuing the degree, which requires about three years of twice-a-week evening classes. For more information or an application, contact Elise Papke, director of the degree program, at (317) 278- 0377.
Based in the School of Liberal Arts, the program will foster collaboration among faculty there and the IU schools of law, nursing and medicine. New undergraduate- and graduate-level curricula will be developed. Campus Research Investment Fund grants have been awarded to investigate hospice care, study linkages between medicine and philanthropy, and examine Civil War era hospital correspondence.
In part to develop and refine recommendations for this report, a conference titled "Building Partnerships: Leadership for University Engagement in the Community" was held June 24-26 in Chicago. Sponsors were the Joint Commission on the Urban Agenda of the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, which I cochair, and the International Center for Health Leadership Development, University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). I appeared on the opening panel to discuss the vision for university engagement with James Stuckel, president of the University of Illinois, and Judith Ramaley, resident of the University of Vermont.
As the title of the report ("Returning to Our Roots") suggests, university engagement is not new. In the early and middle 19th century, the focus of the nation's universities was on the practical necessity of developing citizenship for the new experiment in democracy. Later, from the Civil War period onward, d- grant institutions supported the nation's agricultural and technological development. During and after World War II, universities became an instrument of national defense.Research was enhanced to produce great achievements in science, which fueled economic vitality and advanced overall quality of life.
In the last quarter century, as cities have become centers of economic, social and political life, many urban campuses, like IUPUI, have grown up as "engaged institutions" in keeping with our nation's needs today and its opportunities for the 21st century. With the Kellogg Commission's newest report and the recent conference at UIC, it is more apparent than ever that, in this process of rediscovering our roots, urban campuses will lead the way in redefining engagement for all of higher education in the 21st century.
We hope to keep IUPUI at the very forefront of this movement.