KOKOMO, Ind. — Impending rain did not stop Indiana University Kokomo from taking bold steps Tuesday.
Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke, together with students, faculty, staff, and community friends, completed laps on the track in the Cole Fitness Center, in place of a planned walk, run, or bike from the campus to Foster Park. The celebration continued with a picnic in Alumni Hall, all part of the weeklong celebration of her installation as IU Kokomo’s seventh chancellor.
The week culminates with the installation ceremony, set for 1:30 p.m. Friday, September 12, in Havens Auditorium.
Sciame-Giesecke said the week also kicks off her “Taking Bold Steps” strategic plan, guiding the campus as it begins its 70th year.
“This year, we’re really focusing on being a Community of Care,” she said. “We want to share with everyone how important it is for us to take care of ourselves, physically, mentally, and spiritually. We are going to take bold steps together, and think about where we can go, and what we can accomplish.”
Mayor Greg Goodnight declared Tuesday, September 9, as Indiana University Kokomo day in the city, in honor of Sciame-Giesecke’s installation.
City Controller Milton Beach presented the proclamation, and offered congratulations from himself and the mayor.
“Seven is a lucky number, and Kokomo certainly is lucky to have Dr. Sciame-Giesecke leading IU Kokomo,” he said.
Many of those attending took their own steps, on the track in the Cole Fitness Center. Sciame-Giesecke called it a community building event, giving people time to get to know one another better while engaging in a healthy activity.
She walked several laps, talking to students, faculty, staff, and visitors as she circled the track, offering encouragement, and accepting their support and congratulations.
Freshman Marissa Collins wove a path among those walking, as she ran her laps. She slowed a few minutes to walk in step with the chancellor, receiving a “good for you,” and a pat on the back before she picked up the pace again.
“This was a chance for me to get to meet some people on campus,” said Collins, from Fairmount. “I’ve meant to start running, and I figured this was a good time.”
For freshman Callie Heffelmire, Tipton, the ability to meet the chancellor and participate in installation activities is one of the reasons she likes IU Kokomo.
“At a bigger school, you probably wouldn’t know who the chancellor is,” she said. “Here, I get the chance to personally know the chancellor. It makes me feel better as a student. I really like that we get to be part of her installation.”
Lecturer Christine Taff walked with her Spanish class, saying she thought it was important to have students involved in installation events. As nursing faculty members, Lynda Narwold and Stacy Rosales appreciated that healthy lifestyle choices were part of the celebration.
“We did this for the exercise, and the fun,” said Rosales. “We wanted to show our support for the chancellor.”
Nursing student Kaleigh Ensley, from Fort Wayne, is happy students are welcomed and encouraged to participate in installation events.
“The chancellor makes an impact on all of us,” Ensley said. “We’re all affected by what she does. It’s good to have a relationship with her.”
Yunes Kobaree, a new transfer student, met Sciame-Giesecke Monday, at a “selfie station” set up for students to take pictures of themselves with cut outs of the chancellor and mascot Kingston Cougar.
As he prepared to take his picture with the picture of the chancellor, Sciame-Giesecke walked up and posed with him.
“It was just luck that she walked up,” he said. As a resident of downtown Kokomo, he was glad to see many area residents attend the celebration.
“It’s important to have them here, because IU Kokomo is a big part of the community,” he said. “The more people come here, the more they are aware of what is here. The more aware they are, the bigger impact the campus can have.”
Alumna Kim LaFollette was one of many community supporters who came to the event. She was happy to see many other people who work in downtown Kokomo attending as well.
“This is an exciting time not only for IU Kokomo, but for all of us,” she said. “Inviting the community to celebrate this week for Chancellor Sciame-Giesecke is just perfect. She has been an important part of this community for many years, and we are proud of this new opportunity for her.”
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.