Indy plays a key role in the future of Purdue – Inside Indiana Business

Purdue University’s new president says Indianapolis will not be a regional campus, but an expansion of Purdue’s West Lafayette campus after the planned IUPUI campus realignment. Mung Chiang began his tenure as the university’s 13th president a week ago, succeeding Mitch Daniels and says the vision for Purdue’s Indy presence is clear. “Our goal is simple: to have Purdue University invest in partners… and help grow the tech scene in our capital together.”

Chiang discussed his plans for Indianapolis and the university as a whole in an in-depth interview with Inside INdiana business host Gerry Dick.

He said to achieve its goal in Indy, the university aims to graduate thousands of STEM students in the city and work with city-focused opportunities, including healthcare, sports technology and entrepreneurship.

“Part of that is creating more jobs by creating an environment that attracts additional businesses to come here,” Chiang said. “And then that’s part of it [bookended by] the 63-mile Hard-Tech Corridor from downtown Indianapolis, through Lebanon’s LEAP District…to Tippecanoe County [and] Discovery Park District in West Lafayette.”

Chiang said the focus on hard tech, such as microelectronics, biopharmaceuticals and aerospace industries, could be an area of ​​transformation for central Indiana.

“We, Purdue West Lafayette, are already America’s largest premier research university educating STEM talent. And we are very confident that Purdue in Indianapolis, as part of Indiana’s Produce Core campus, will contribute to the economic dynamism and future of job growth here in our capital city.”

Entrepreneurship is also a key focus for Chiang, who has founded three companies and secured 25 patents over the course of his career. He said creating more startups and entrepreneurs is an important part of what he wants to achieve at Purdue.

“We need to work for ‘Brain Gain’, attracting students from abroad and convincing them to stay in our state after they graduate with good jobs,” he said. “We have to work to get new jobs coming here through big and small companies. We need to translate a research advance. There are so many great research breakthroughs by professors at Purdue University and some of them are translating into economic growth through new companies through patents that others can license.”

Many universities are struggling with a so-called “matriculation cliff”. Last June, the Indiana Commission for Higher Education reported that the percentage of Indiana high school graduates going on to college or other postsecondary education fell six percentage points to 53% in 2020.

Chiang said Purdue has not felt the impact of enrollment declines, largely due to the university’s tuition freeze in place for over a decade.

“I know it’s a real problem nationally and for certain parts of our state, but Purdue University has seen application numbers continue to rise and break new records; each of the last 10 years has been an all-time historic high. [We’ve had] far more applicants than we can afford to take them all, and that leads us to Indianapolis, Purdue in Indy, by the way. As part of our core campus, we can accommodate more students in Indianapolis and graduate even more talent.”

Chiang was named Purdue’s next president last June and credits his predecessor with helping him prepare for the role.

“I’ve learned so much from him over the past five and a half years of working at Purdue, but especially over the last six months of the seamless transition, I’ve had the privilege and opportunity to learn from Mitch every single day. And I assure you, the momentum of ‘Daniel’s Decade’ will continue.”

You can watch the full in-depth interview with Mung Chiang in the video above.