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Retired faculty, staff share memories of Main Building

April 17, 2016
KOKOMO, Ind. — In the early 1960s, Indiana University Kokomo’s six full-time faculty members discussed plans for the first building of the new campus being planned on South Washington Street.

After 15 years of existence, they daringly planned for 16 full-time faculty members, teaching around 1,500 students, in what became the Main Building, which opened in November 1965.

Friday (April 15), the people who spent their careers teaching and working in that building celebrated its renovation, with a luncheon honoring retired faculty and staff. It also included tours of the Main Building, and a bus tour of Kokomo, highlighting the Cougar Gym and Union Street Art Gallery.

They shared stories of basement offices constructed with filing cabinets and curtains, where your colleagues overheard your phone calls, of arguing for more bookcases for their reference materials, and of having to counsel students quietly in offices overlooking the library, so those studying below would not be disturbed.

Campus leaders thanked them for their leadership in the past, and updated them on future plans.

Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke, who began her career on campus in 1977, was thrilled to welcome her former colleagues back to campus.

“I really feel at home with you,” she said. “All of you were such a large part of my life.”

She shared features of the renovated Main Building, and about the students and faculty. The campus has grown to well over 100 full-time faculty, and more than 4,000 students.

Mark Canada, vice chancellor for academic affairs, talked about new programs, including hospitality and tourism, and the IU Kokomo Experience, including the Sophomore Sojourn. He said the new programs and growth are possible because of the work completed by previous faculty and staff.

“We owe a great debt of gratitude to all of you, for building the foundation we have here,” he said. “You have helped create the magnificent institution we have today.”

The faculty also heard from Jan Halperin, vice chancellor for university advancement, who shared information about For All: The Indiana University Bicentennial Campaign. IU President Michael A. McRobbie has set aside a pool of funds to match endowed gifts of $50,000 or more from campus supporters. For current and former full time faculty and staff, the match begins at an endowed gift of $25,000.

“The impact of your gift will be matched – doubled – in perpetuity,” she said.

Allen Safianow, emeritus professor of history, talked about his reasons for making a bequest to IU Kokomo in his estate. He’s designated a fund for the Library, in honor of the resources provided to him as a faculty member, and another fund in honor of his parents, for student scholarships.

His parents grew up in the Depression, and did not have a chance to attend college. They were determined he would be educated. He earned a scholarship of $400 per semester to Rutgers University, which was enough to pay his undergraduate tuition, and then fellowships that covered graduate school.

As he began his teaching career at IU Kokomo, he met students who worked multiple jobs to pay their way through school.

“These students made great sacrifices to go to school, and many had no financial or emotional support at home,” he said. “I’m glad to be able to help in a small way to continue what IU Kokomo is doing.”

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

Last updated: 04/25/2016