History—A Half-Century of Learning and Thriving Together

After many years of offering courses at separate locations in Fort Wayne, Indiana University and Purdue University opened the combined campus of Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) in 1964.

The 1970s were a time of rapid growth, accompanied by the formal merger of the campus administration in 1975. A regional campus of both Indiana University and Purdue University, IPFW is managed by Purdue University under the terms of a management agreement that is renewed every five years. In the 1980s, an academic structure was created to emphasize relationships among departments rather than relationships of departments to Indiana or Purdue mission assignments.

Major facilities opened during the early 1990s included the Visual Arts Building; Williams Theatre; and the Engineering, Technology, and Computer Science Building. The first campus parking garage was also opened in 1991. A new campus facilities master plan was completed in 1995 and IPFW’s first Strategic Plan was completed that same year. The Science Building opened in 1998, as did the second parking garage.

IPFW expanded its facilities as enrollment totaled over 10,500 by 2000. The Willis Family Bridge, dedicated in fall 2003, connected the main campus to the new Waterfield Campus across Crescent Avenue. Student Housing on the Waterfield Campus opened in fall 2004, giving students their first opportunity to both live and learn at IPFW. Student Housing expanded when two more buildings opened in 2007.

The John and Ruth Rhinehart Music Center opened in 2007. The Holiday Inn at IPFW and the Coliseum joined the campus family in 2008. The Ron Venderly Family Bridge was dedicated in 2009, as was the Medical Education Building. Phase 3 of Student Housing, which added four more buildings—including a new club house—opened in 2010. The Steel Dynamics Keith E. Busse IPFW Alumni Center was completed in 2011 and the Student Services Complex, which updated and connected Gates Athletics Center, Helmke Library, and the Walb Student Union, was also opened in 2011. A third parking garage was completed in 2011 as well.

Now, as it enters its second half–century, the IPFW campus serves more than 13,000 students and more than 400 full-time faculty on nearly 700 acres, with more than 40 buildings. It offers more than 200 internationally recognized academic programs, more than 230 partnerships, and a growing number of named and endowed scholarships to help students learn and thrive.



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