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University of Indianapolis

The University of Indianapolis by Kameron Casey

1400 E Hanna Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46227

The University of Indianapolis was the first university to be established on the south side of Indianapolis. It was established in the year 1902 in affiliation with the United Methodist Church but, it was not opened for education until 1905. Its original name was Indiana Central College (ICU). This remained the name until 1921, when it became Indiana Central College (ICC). Once again, in 1975, the name was changed back to Indiana Central University. It was not until 1986 that the university became The University of Indianapolis (U of I). It is often referred to as “UIndy.”

One thing that has not changed is its location, just a short walk from where it started. The place where it all started, University Heights Baptist Church, is located on 2200 East Hanna Avenue. The campus itself has over 20 venues and almost all of them are named after their beloved alumni. Esch hall, the newest venue, is named after Dr. I. Lynd Esch. He was president of Indiana Central College from 1945 until 1970. During his tenure, he educated graduating students on how they benefit from the generosity of the alumni. He made it clear that it was their duty to support and maintain the institution for the next generation of students. This has been a very strong belief throughout their history. The word “service” has been a major motif throughout the years. Although the University of Indianapolis motto, “Education for Service,” is only a little more than 50 years old, its essence can be traced to the nineteenth century. In 1888, the White River Conference of the United Brethren Church affirmed the role of church colleges in “elevating both the ministry and laity to a higher and more effective sphere of usefulness in the service of the master.” A few years later, the conference led the movement that culminated in the opening of Indiana Central University in 1905.

In 1908 President John T. Roberts, in brief remarks prior to the conferring of the first degrees, used the word “service” five times, including his declaration that “life’s richest blessings are found in service.” Two years later, President Lewis D. Bonebrake closed his commencement address with this appeal: “In the name of education I bid you…to go forth imbued with the spirit that you are each his brother’s keeper, and that each has a work to do in making the grand sweet song of civilization.” During his 29 year tenure, President I. J. Good repeatedly spoke and wrote of society’s need for service-oriented Christian citizens in the homes, schools, churches, civic affairs, and businesses of every community. In 1947, President I. Lynd Esch said, “We seek to build a continuing structure of minds adequately trained and lives spiritually motivated for unselfish Christian service.”

Casey, Kathy. Personal Interview. March, 17, 2009.
“Frederick D. Hill Archives” University of Indianapolis School Website. March 23, 2009 < >.
“Indiana Central College.” College History Garden. March 5, 2009. < >.