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Where in the world is President Pitts?

Posted on 04.24.2013

If students saw former University of Indianapolis President Beverley Pitts around campus, they remember a striking red skirt suit reflective of the university’s colors. Nowadays Pitts’ clothes are more suitable for relaxing in Tucson, Ariz.

Pitts announced her retirement in a campus wide email Oct. 4 of the previous school year. Even though Pitts did not have immediate post-retirement plans, she has been staying involved in the community and with Division II schools.

“They’re [the NCAA] in the process of looking at better ways to make sure that student athletes move towards graduation,” Pitts said. “So they are in a kind of major reform of the admissions standards for student athletes and for transfer standards.”

According to Pitts, this type of reform has occurred among Division I schools.  Pitts said that she likes Division II because of its emphasis on academics and not just sports. Her involvement includes traveling to other Division II schools to speak at athletic conferences and with university presidents with the aim of furthering the issue of  improving Division II graduation rates.

“It’s important for UIndy . . . It’ll be good for our student athletes, too. It’s important to all of the schools that are Division II schools,  because of the things we’ve always said about Division II. It is about student athletes and making sure that students graduate. This is a fun project,” said Pitts. “I feel like it uses my abilities and my experience well.”

Pitts recently became a member of the Indiana Humanities board and a member of the American Pianists Association. The APA helps Pitts stay involved in the arts, and Indiana Humanities involves cultural aspects of Indiana and the things that Pitts says “make society rich.”

“All of those things are keeping me busy, and I’m really enjoying them,” Pitts said.

Out of her long list of accomplishments, Pitts hopes to be remembered as someone who helped the university progress.

“Each time there is a new president, that president gets the value of the work that has gone on before by many, many people,” Pitts said.  “And hopefully you’ve helped move the university to a better place, so that it’s ready to do more new and exciting things.”

Pitts said that she sees this working under the current president, Robert Manuel, and hopes that she has added something to UIndy’s history. Along with being remembered for advancing the university, she hopes that students will remember her as somebody who cared about their education. Connecting with students is one thing Pitts said she misses the most about the collegiate atmosphere.

“I guess one of the things [I miss] is not being around students, which I’ve been around students all my life until this year. And I’m still around some students sometimes, but I miss hearing from them, how you all see the world,” Pitts said.

Many important projects were started during Pitts’ administration. Some of these projects include securing the Mayoral Archives for UIndy and forming the Richard G. Lugar Academy.

“It feels really good to know [that]things got started and that things are on their way and that more and more good things are happening,” Pitts said. “[I am] especially excited to hear about the Lugar Academy, because it’s clearly an extension of all the things that he’s done with the university.”

Now that her retirement is in full swing, Pitts plans to enjoy  the trips that she was not able to take while she was president. Some of her immediate plans include traveling to Europe this May and visiting Tucson to escape Indiana winters.

“Another change is not having so many events in the evening and on the weekend. There’s a little free time although it does seem that we are busy,” Pitts said. “Another one [change] is the ability to do some things that don’t fall into the academic year. I have never been able to travel at all except for business.”

Pitts said that she plans to stay in Indiana and enjoys still being embedded in the UIndy community.

Even though Manuel has only served as president for 10 months, Pitts believes he has done a good job. She said she does not have any advice for Manuel because she believes he does not need it. She explained that Manuel is welcome to contact her for advice, but she knows he will do a good job.

“We have a wonderful relationship, and we talk fairly frequently and get together now and then,” Pitts said. “That’s healthy for a university. That’s really true of the previous presidents. There’s a great connection of people who are invested in the university far past the time they stop working.”

Pitts remains involved with UIndy. She most recently visited Washington, D.C. to represent UIndy when Sen. Lugar was knighted on April 16. Pitts said this invitation came from Manuel. She was also among the guests at Manuel’s inauguration on March 21.

“It was wonderful. It was great to see everybody, to celebrate. It was a great day of celebration.  I was very pleased with the turnout.  It was a wonderful crowd [and] beautiful ceremony,” Pitts said.

Pitts believes that she retired at the right time for both the university and herself. She said she misses UIndy, but is excited about the opportunities ahead for the  university in the coming years under Manuel’s leadership.

“It was a very smooth transition [retirement]. It was a happy time [and] wonderful to celebrate when I left,” Pitts said. “And it’s wonderful now to celebrate a new president and watch the institution continue to be the best there is, because it still is [the best].”


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