March 2, 2017

Steward Speaker Series: Welcome to former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder

IUPUI Campus Center
Indianapolis, Indiana

Welcome to IUPUI

Thank you for that introduction, and thank you all for being here this evening.

IUPUI is proud to be the title sponsor for the Steward Speaker Series. For over 30 years—as long as I’ve been at IUPUI—this series has brought over 100 leaders, community advocates, and other public figures to Indianapolis to speak about the power of human potential.

Affirming Open Doors at IUPUI

I’m sure you can tell by my accent that I’m a Hoosier, but I am also part of the global story of American higher education and its openness to people from around the world.

With that deeply personal connection, I reaffirm our commitment to diversity. This commitment is central to our values and identity at IUPUI.

The IUPUI story is about opening doors of opportunity for all students. It’s a story about creating a welcoming and safe environment that encourages success at every level.

The IUPUI story is about opening doors of opportunity for all students.

Chancellor Nasser H. Paydar

Education as a Pathway to Success

At IUPUI we educate Hoosiers. Roughly 90% of our student come from right here in Indiana.

I bet every person in this room has a connection to IUPUI—through a friend, a relative, or through your own education.

IUPUI is part of the fabric of this community.

We are focused on student success and graduation. This is especially important for students of color. Right now, the fact that over a quarter of our student body is comprised of students of color is good, but not quite good enough.

We have a bigger vision.

I believe IUPUI should be a majority-minority campus.

This will require hard work. But we have already begun the journey.

Progress Towards Diverse Goals

Soon after I became chancellor of this campus, a year and a half ago, I called for formation of a task force for recruitment and retention of African Americans. Later, we formed a task force for recruitment and retention of Latino faculty, staff, and students. We employed new recruitment strategies, and also doubled need based financial aid.

Our efforts are beginning to pay off.

This past fall we welcomed one of the largest, most talented, and most diverse freshman classes at IUPUI ever.

We saw record increases in our minority student population with a 13.2% increase in Latino beginners, a 20.4% increase in Asian beginners, and a remarkable 40% increase in African American beginners.

We are excited about students enrolling at IUPUI,

But we are not done yet,

We must work hard to have these students graduate.

This is an exciting time at IUPUI. I am especially excited about increases in the diversity of our students. The changes we are making at IUPUI reflect the character of IUPUI as a diverse and welcoming part of this community.

Thank You to Eric Holder

Although tonight’s speaker will be introduced more formally in a moment, let me close by saying what an honor it is for me to welcome Mr. Eric Holder to IUPUI.

Mr. Holder, as the first African American to serve as U.S. Attorney General, you are a trailblazer and an inspiration.

Thank you for your service to our country, your search for truth, and your commitment to justice.

We are glad you are here and look forward to your talk.

Thank you very much.