Retrospective: How UIndy’s campus has diversified and grown

by Olivia Cameron | Managing Editor

In September of 1924, The Reflector reported that enrollment at the University of Indianapolis—known as Indiana Central College at the time—had reached a total of 350 students. At this time, the students attended classes in the building we now know as Good Hall and had access to a gymnasium that has since been replaced with Nicoson Hall, according to an article by The Reflector. A pictorial timeline from the University Archives shows that students lived in the Roberts Hall, Cummins Hall, Dailey Hall and Trimble Hall dormitories. 

98 years later, UIndy currently boasts a total of 5,600 students on its campus. As the student population has grown, so too has the number of buildings on campus. 

Ed Building, which students now call Esch Hall, was built in 1958 and became home to the Campus Cupboard (a snack bar) and the former library. From 1961 to 1969, UIndy built Krannert Hall—now known as the residence hall Cravens, Lilly Hall, the Schwitzer Student Center and UIndy’s first co-ed dorm, Warren Hall.

Many of the landmarks familiar to current UIndy students were built throughout the 1970s and ‘80s, including Key Stadium, Krannert Memorial Library, Cory Bretz Hall and Ruth Lilly Fitness Center. Campus continued to grow in the 1990s and 2000s, with the Christel De Haan Fine Arts Center, Smith Mall, Martin Hall, the Stierwalt Alumni House and Center Hall all being built in the span of seven years.

These buildings supported an increasing student population over the years, and with that increasing population came more diversity on campus. The UIndy website says that “From its beginning, the University has been coeducational and open to all races.” While there are not readily available statistics pertaining to the demographics of the university back in its earliest years, information from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System shows how the university has grown in the past few years.

The percentages of men and women undergraduates in the fall of 2016 and 2020 were the same, with 64% of undergraduates being women and 36% being men. There were no available statistics showing additional gender identities.

From Fall of 2016 to Fall of 2020, the percentage of Black or African American undergraduate students grew from 9% to 11%. Undergraduate Hispanic or Latino students grew from 5 % to 8%. The percentage of undergraduate Asian students went from 2% to 3%, while the amount of American Indian or Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian or other pacific islander students remained at 0%.

UIndy’s campus has also been home to many international students over the years. According to the UIndy website, over 55 countries are represented among the current student population. The Reflector has often covered the Celebration of the Flags, an annual event that showcases the many countries that UIndy students come from. This year will be the 34th year that the ceremony has taken place.

The first-ever international student at UIndy, David Manley, was from Sierra Leone, according to the UIndy Website. He enrolled in 1919 and graduated in 1923. In addition to being the first international student, Manley was also the founding editor-in-chief of The Reflector. His time at UIndy paved the way for the thousands of students to come.

Since it opened its doors in 1905 to only 75 students, enrollment at UIndy has continued to grow. That expansion has paved the way for improvements on campus that benefit students today.

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