IU Southeast’s historical roots

Kaylynn Williams, Staff Reporter

The history of education stretches back as far as time can tell. All with the common purpose of enhancing the populations’ intelligence and evolving to the intellectual status the modern day person has as of today.

IU Southeast’s history shares many of these aspirations for the future of its students. Each effort made in the past has laid a brick to pave the way to success for IU Southeast students’ future.

It all started in 1941, when Floyd McMurray, a local southern Indiana business man, thought it was important for the public to have access to higher education locally. This was also during WWII when education was a luxury during hard pressed times.

McMurray was the founder of Indiana University Falls City Area Center. The school had a budget that is unthinkable for today’s schools of just $7,000. The tuition was just $6.00 per credit hour and there wasn’t a central building that the classes occurred on. There was no campus back then. Classes found a home in the local middle and high school.

The student body slowly began to grow as more and more folks aspired for an education. The enrollment of the student body was 291 in 1945. This is the year Indiana University Jeffersonville Extension Center, the new and improved Indiana University Falls City Area Center became a junior college status. Students were able to complete their first two years of their degree and then were required to transfer to finish their degree.

It was not until 1968 that the university became known as Indiana University Southeast and awarded students degrees.

The IU Southeast mission statement is that the university will, “shape the future of our region by transforming good students into great leaders, one graduate at a time.” This statement is timeless as IU Southeast has been on this mission since day one in 1941.

To create something as great as a university, it takes more than just a budget and a single person to operate the project. It takes many people dedicated to the overall goal of the university. Donors and supporters are vital to the survival of the educational homestead.  

IU Southeast is a very important part of our community’s efforts to advance our standard of living…These youth will create wealth for themselves and others in the future.

— Jim & Phyllis Robinson

The saying, “united we stand, divided we fall,” dates back to Aesop’s Fables, a Greek slave that has been credited with many moral stories that have withstood the test of time.

This statement proves true in IU Southeast history. Had McMurray been the only one striving for the goal of a local college, it may have never been achieved. With the support of the public, students, governmental financial aid and donors the college was and continues to be a success.

Supporters such as Judge Carlton and Sue Sanders, continue to give beyond their presence and give campus a “powerful resource” that everyone can benefit and enjoy. Thus the Sanders Speaker Series has speakers on campus all year for everyone’s benefit and the Sanders Financial Markets Lab.

This lab is a high tech room that allows students to experience the real world on Wall Street. This gift for education enhances the opportunities that IU Southeast, known as a prestige’s School of Business thanks to these types of donations and supporters, has to offer.

Jim and Phyllis Robinson, IU Southeast donors, said, “ IU Southeast is a very important part of our community’s efforts to advance our standard of living…These youth will create wealth for themselves and others in the future.”

It takes people like the Robinsons, the Sanders, and McMurray to have a vision, come together, and make that vision a reality.

Landmarks that stand on campus today that reflect the history and mission of the university include the clock tower in the center of the university’s eleven buildings and Hope’s Harbor, the signature statue on campus.

Education, most would agree, is the pathway to a brighter future. The path of its history is important to remember when students graduate, spread their wings, and succeed in life.

It is because of the people that make up the history of IU Southeast that the university is able to allow these opportunities of a great future for its students. As it continues to improve the world, one graduate a time.