A legacy of connection & commitment


As Beverley Pitts steps into retirement this summer, she leaves the University of Indianapolis stronger, more vibrant, and more plugged into the city than when she arrived in the summer of 2005. There are the physical changes on campus—new residence halls, an expanded student center, and a new recreation dome used as a practice facility for the New York Giants prior to Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis.

The many new programs include the Woodrow Wilson Indiana Teaching Fellowship and several new Nursing specialties, plus a doctoral program in Nursing to debut this fall. There are new partnerships with area hospital systems to address workforce needs and with school districts across the state to bolster student achievement, and exciting statewide initiatives in gerontology that are advancing healthy aging.

There are the emerging Lugar Center for Tomorrow’s Leaders and the Institute for Civic Leadership & Mayoral Archives. The University’s connection and commitment to its hometown have been reinforced by the “UIndy” nickname the institution adopted early in Pitts’s tenure. The Indiana Pacers honored Pitts in March by presenting her with a No. 7 jersey—a nod to her seven years of leadership at UIndy.

“Beverley Pitts is positive, enthusiastic, and competitive, and she truly understands all of the components that comprise a great university and what makes it work,” says Jim Morris (above), president of Pacers Sports & Entertainment. “The president understands collegiality and consensus-building. Her leadership has strengthened the academic stature of the University.”

“Under Beverley’s leadership,” says Dennis Ryerson, now retiring as vice president and editor of the Indianapolis Star, “UIndy has become much more engaged in the life of our community. Beverley has provided an active and constructive voice in the business and social fabric of Indianapolis. She’s a tireless innovator. Here’s hoping she continues to involve herself in a variety of community betterment initiatives.”

Civic leader and philanthropist Christel DeHaan, former chair of the University’s Board of Trustees, likens Pitts’s leadership to the sort described in this quote from John Quincy Adams: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, and become more, you are a leader.” That is an apt description of Pitts, DeHaan says.

“The Woodrow Wilson fellowship program, implemented three years ago, in particular has catapulted the University as a national leader in effective teacher preparation,” says DeHaan. “The effect of this program not only benefits students of today and tomorrow, but also inures to the benefit of employers and the community at large, as education is linked directly to a region’s standard of living and quality of life. President Pitts’s legacy is one of innovation, agility, entrepreneurship, and positive, ‘can-do’ attitude.”

Notes current Board Chair Robert Wingerter: “As you look around the campus, you see her legacy in terms of increased enrollment, new buildings, and a positive feeling about the campus and the upward trajectory we are on. As an alumnus, I have always felt that UIndy was an under-recognized asset of the community. As I have been in a variety of community groups over the past seven years, I constantly hear about people’s positive image of the University and the consistent comment about what a wonderful spokesperson we have in Dr. Pitts. I couldn’t agree more and will always be thankful for the opportunity I had to work directly with her.”