On This Day in IUPUI History: May 17, 1986

May 17, 1986. 

On this day, Indiana Central University on the south side of Indianapolis announced that the school was changing its name to the "University of Indianapolis." The school's president, Gene E. Sease, aimed to give it greater name recognition and position the institution for growth. 

The announcement affected IUPUI. Since the 1969 merger of Purdue University and Indiana University campuses in the city to create IUPUI, there had been much tearing of hair and gnashing of teeth about the IUPUI name. Many Indianapolis politicians wished that an independent state university be established in the capital city, separate from IU and Purdue. Many hoped to call it the University of Indianapolis. State legislators had repeatedly introduced bills in the Indiana General Assembly to those ends. State Senator Lawrence Borst was the longtime leading proponent of renaming IUPUI. Sease's preemptive move effectively put the kibosh on Borst's efforts.

While the University of Indianapolis name had been claimed, IUPUI students, faculty, staff, and administrators did not stop opining on the merits of a name change for the university. In the coming years campus leaders polled students and community members. In the end, the name did not change except that "Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis" became "Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis," dropping the "at."

At the time of the announcement of the University of Indianapolis name change, the editors of the Sagamore, the student newspaper, took the opportunity to share their thoughts on the subject of names. On the matter of the IUPUI name they were noncommittal as long as IU and Purdue names were on their diplomas. But the editors called for the sports team name, the Metros, to be changed. "'Metros' certainly does not present any degree of warmth." School morale would be better served if the teams had names like the "Eagles," "Trojans," or "Masters," they said. "Even the IUPUI Aardvarks would be better than the 'Metros.'" In the end, they got their wish. The Metros became the Jaguars. 

The Metros softball team, 1979 579-0695-001

IUPUI Special Collections and Archives has records of IUPUI. All are welcome to consult them. Please contact staff at speccoll@iupui.edu with your questions. 

Updated May 17, 2019 by Editor Name Missing