KOKOMO, Ind. — Susan Sciame-Giesecke takes bold steps forward into Indiana University Kokomo history, being installed as its seventh chancellor by President Michael A. McRobbie in a ceremony Friday, September 12, in Havens Auditorium.
More than 400 students, faculty, staff, family, and community supporters attended the event, which Sciame-Giesecke used to kick off her “Taking Bold Steps” strategic plan.
“As I build on my past at IU Kokomo and I look forward, I see a 21st century regional campus, partnering and collaborating with the communities we serve, and our sister regional campuses, so we can take bold steps together in three areas,” she said. “In this region, we must lead by encouraging traditional and non traditional students to see a college degree not as a financial burden, but as an essential vehicle for the world they live in. We must encourage all students — first generation students, 21st Century Scholars, and newly immigrated populations and returning adults.”
McRobbie commended her for her many years of dedication to the campus and region.
“Sue’s extraordinary service to IU Kokomo in a variety of leadership roles, deep understanding of its missions and strong commitment to community engagement make her the ideal individual to oversee the growth of a campus that has become a vital part of the city and surrounding area,” McRobbie said. "Through her experience and vision, IU Kokomo will continue to fulfill its regional and statewide missions with great success and assure access to an education of the highest quality."
Sciame-Giesecke and McRobbie were joined on the platform by Congresswoman Susan Brooks; faculty representative Christopher Darr; alumni representative Deanna Crispen; and IU trustees MaryEllen K. Bishop, Philip N. Eskew Jr., Janice L. Farlow, and Andrew F. Mohr. Honored guests also included former chancellors Emita B. Hill, Ruth J. Person, and Stuart M. Green.
Brooks said IU Kokomo has the right person to lead it forward.
“She knows your history, she is your history,” Brooks said, noting Sciame-Giesecke’s 37 years on campus. “She is a woman who has done it all, and has done it all in service to this campus. She has a very clear vision for IU Kokomo’s history, and her role in it. She knows where she needs to lead.”
Crispen recalled being a student in one of Sciame-Giesecke’s speech classes, and how the chancellor recognized abilities she herself had not known she possessed.
“Sue has always been at the heart of this campus, for many years,” she said. “Her passion for student success and excellence is almost like her personal guarantee, that when students graduate, they’ve earned a first-class education. We know she will take the bold steps necessary to lead IU Kokomo into the future.”
Sciame-Giesecke’s appointment as chancellor began April 15, 2014, after she served 18 months as interim chancellor. A professor of communication arts, she began her career at IU Kokomo in 1977, as an assistant professor. She earned a Ph.D. in speech communication from IU Bloomington. She has held numerous leadership and administrative positions at IU Kokomo, including executive vice chancellor for academic affairs, interim vice chancellor for academic affairs, interim vice chancellor for administration and finance, interim and permanent dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, and chair of the Department of Humanities.
Sciame-Giesecke encouraged all campus supporters to lead from where they are, encouraging then to talk about how essential higher education is for the collective good in the world.
But that’s not enough, she said. Once students arrive on campus, they must be supported so they can overcome barriers to complete their degrees.
“We must continue to explore pathways to student success,” she said. “The challenges facing our students are great, whether they be first generation college students who don’t understand our culture, to veterans returning from war and trying to find where they fit, to parents who are juggling school and family, to part-time students who are working to support their families. We have chosen to teach at a regional campus with a diverse group of students. Therefore, we must think boldly and set completion goals which steadily grow.”
She finished her address by unveiling an architectural rendering of the Main Building, after its planned renovation, as a symbol of the campus’ future. Its first building, constructed in 1965, will be transformed, just as she plans to transform the campus and region.
“I believe that as we watch the transformation of this building unfold, as it becomes a 21st century learning environment ... we will also see the transformation of the region. You and I will continue to take bold steps every day together to make this region a great place to live, work, and play.”
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.