With the combined efforts of community leaders and the presidents of Indiana University and Purdue University, Lugar's dream for a downtown university was realized with the establishment of IUPUI.
In 1977, Lugar was elected state senator in Indiana. He held his position for 6 terms, becoming the longest-serving senator in Indiana's history. Lugar exercised leadership on critical issues such as food security, nuclear non-proliferation, energy independence, and free trade. After leaving the Senate, Lugar created a nonprofit organization, The Lugar Center, that specializes in the policy areas he pursued while in office.
Lugar also serves as a Professor of Practice and Distinguished Scholar at the School of Global and International Studies at Indiana University. He is also a co-chair of the IU International Advisory Committee. The Richard G. Lugar Center for Renewable Energy is located on IUPUI's campus and housed in the Purdue School of Engineering & Technology.