College of Arts and Sciences

History of IPFW

The early history of the IPFW campus can best be followed using the book written by John Ankenbruck, The Creation Years: Indiana University Purdue University at Fort Wayne. This history covers the years from the first Indiana University presence in Fort Wayne in 1917 and Purdue presence in 1941 through 1982. There are circulating copies of the book on the library shelves, in the reference collection on the first floor of the library, and on reserve at the Service Desk under the call number: LD 2529.5.F6A54 1983. Anyone doing research on the history of IPFW should begin by looking at this book.

The history of IPFW after 1982 has not been written; it exists in archival files under a variety of subject headings and consists of memos, minutes of meetings, letters, news clippings and other primary documents. For this information one needs to contact Archives.

Following are some of the most frequently requested facts about IPFW history.

Indiana University first offered classes in Fort Wayne in 1917. The director at that time was Frank W. Shockley. There were 142 students in 12 courses the first term. Floyd R. Neff became the director in 1918 and held the position until 1951.

Purdue University Center in Fort Wayne opened in the Fall of 1941.

The courses and administrative offices were located in various buildings in downtown Fort Wayne from the time each university began offering courses until the two campuses were physically located in the same building (now known as Kettler Hall, but originally known as the Education Building) in 1964. For a detailed explanation of this see The Creation Years. Ankenbruck’s book also outlines in detail the history of the development of a joint campus in Fort Wayne and goes into depth regarding the present location.

Purdue University moved into Kettler Hall (formerly known as the Education Building) August 8, 1964 and Indiana University moved into the building August 17 of 1964. There were 3100 students enrolled that Fall term. On November 8, 1964 the building was formally dedicated as the Education Building. The building was re-dedicated May 15, 1973 as the Alfred W. Kettler Hall.

The book walk took place on two days in 1972 when the library was moved from the second floor of Kettler Hall to the new Helmke Library on campus.

The campus was united administratively under a single Chancellor by official action of the trustees of Indiana and Purdue Universities on June 29, 1974. Dr. Donald Schwartz became the first Chancellor of the IPFW campus. Academic reorganization of divisions, schools, departments continued to occur well into the early nineties.

The Close of IPFW History

The decision was made in 2016 to dissolve the combined university. While Indiana University would maintain a small presence with the medical school and health science programs, the campus officially became Purdue University Fort Wayne on July 1, 2018 under the leadership of Chancellor Ronald L. Elsenbaumer.