KOKOMO, Ind. – Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight hopes to inspire others to give, with a $250,000 contribution from the city for Indiana University Kokomo’s Student Activities and Events Center.
“The council members and I believe this is an important addition to the campus, and we want to make sure it’s completed,” said Goodnight, noting that when the campus thrives, so does the city. “The Student Activities and Events Center will be an asset not only for IU Kokomo, but for the city.”
The donation was just one example of how Goodnight, who leaves office on January 1, 2020, has supported the campus since becoming mayor in January 2008. He played an instrumental role in creating the partnership between Kokomo School Corporation and IU Kokomo to open Cougar Gym in the Memorial Gym complex. He also made available the Kokomo Municipal Stadium for the baseball and soccer teams to use as their home fields, as well as the Foster Park tennis courts for the tennis team.
Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke said Goodnight provided “transformational service” to the community and campus during his tenure.
“His leadership in the city’s investment of our campus has allowed us to grow not only our athletic programs, but also our enrollment,” she said. “We can attract high-quality student athletes because of the first-class facilities he’s helped make possible.”
Goodnight sees the donation for the student activities and events center, which is currently under construction and expected to open fall of 2020, as a further investment in the city and campus’s development.
“If you look at what happened in the great recession in 2008, and you look at the population shifts taking place around the country, cities and regions that have a university are actually doing much better than those that don’t have one,” he said. “Having IU Kokomo here is important for our city.”
The campus can provide its resources in the community, including faculty sharing expertise, and students, faculty, and staff serving as volunteers in the area. It also brings potential residents and entrepreneurs to the city.
“You want people to come to your community, whether it be to visit or go to school,” he said. “Our goal is that they fall in love with Kokomo, and want to make their home here.”
Goodnight was pleased the city could be part of growing the campus, because of its importance to the area.
“I’ve talked to mayors in other cities who are jealous because they don’t have an IU regional campus in their cities. They recognize the importance of this asset.”
Goodnight was one of the 2013 inaugural recipients of the IU Kokomo Chancellor’s Medallion, the highest honor Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke may bestow. The award recognized his partnership with the campus and his innovations that have improved the community.
Cougar athletics honored him for the city’s contributions to its success in 2017 with the Cougar Spirit Award.
In 2019, he received an IU Bicentennial Medal, one of the signature projects of IU’s 200th anniversary. The medals, created from materials salvaged from the bells that formerly hung in the IU Bloomington Student Building, are awarded to organizations and individuals who, through their personal, professional, artistic, or philanthropic efforts, have broadened the reach of IU around the state, nation, and world.
For information and photo updates about the Student Activities and Events Center, or to donate, go to iuk.edu/eventscenter.
Indiana University Kokomo celebrates 75 years as north central Indiana’s choice for higher education.