The Book

“First Generation University: a History of Indiana University—Purdue University Fort Wayne, 1964-2014.” By Eleanor L. Hannah, Ph.D.


The story of IPFW is a story of how IPFW’s first few generations of faculty, administrators and staff created an institution that would serve its community and meet their students’ needs for a thorough, comprehensive and empathetic education. IPFW first opened its doors in 1964, welcoming students and faculty into the already crowded Kettler Hall. The first fifty years of the institution’s history are a story of dramatic growth and change as the campus matured from two-year programs designed to assist students in transferring to Purdue University or Indiana University into a master’s level institution with some 200 degree-granting programs. Built primarily to serve students already living and working in Northeast Indiana, IPFW has welcomed tens of thousands of college students from the region and from around the world. The faculty, staff and administrators helped them thrive academically, intellectually and professionally from the very beginning. IPFW has served students of all ages and backgrounds, including working adults, traditional age students, and first-generation college students. In 2012, first-generation students still constitute a significant portion of IPFW’s student body. Many of the faculty and staff of the university come from similar backgrounds and take serving these students needs especially seriously.

This book, an academically rigorous monograph written to appeal to a broad public readership, will trace the history and development of the IPFW campus and community from initial conceptual discussions by Fort Wayne leaders to the present-day campus spreading over 682 acres with dozens of buildings. The significance of the IPFW story is two-fold. It has a unique identity as a jointly operated campus, one of only three such campus collaborations nation-wide. Second, IPFW has played a significant part in the growth and development of northeastern Indiana for the last fifty years, contributing energy, education and expertise to community and the region from the post-war boom years through the more challenging economic times of the last decade. In this the story of IPFW serves a bellwether and a model for how public, post-secondary institutions have navigated in both boom and bust decades in the United States.

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