Thirty years ago, the Center on Philanthropy was established at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). Last Friday, we celebrated the founding of the center and its transformation into the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy with a kickoff event that featured reflections from long-term faculty and staff members.
Jennifer Staashelm presented top 10 lists of things that have changed and things that have stayed the same throughout the past 30 years. Some things that have changed: “Office location – we’re now under one roof! There’s also a shifting focus to greater use of new technology. We have more students and of course, we’re now the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.”
And things that have stayed the same? “We’ve continued to bring in strong leaders and build a strong network over the years. We continue to focus on collaboration and partnerships. We’re still a place of big ideas and forward thinking and our reputation for excellence continues. Everyone is committed to the mission.”
Dr. Dwight Burlingame reflected on the growing sense of possibilities he felt when he came to IUPUI to work and research at the school.
“There was a great sense of excitement at the beginning,” he said. “The center and school’s growth and development is still far beyond what we expected.”
Dr. Burlingame also reflected on the diverse perspectives and disciplines of the faculty at the school and the excitement when new students come to campus every fall.
“Whether they are undergraduates or graduates, seeing them and teaching them has made it all so worthwhile,” he said.
Fran Huehls spoke about the students and the growth in the program, as well as the growing awareness of all students on campus about the field of philanthropy. She mentioned, though, that one thing that hasn’t changed: “Students attracted to this field want to do more. They want to do something more meaningful and they think studying philanthropy is the way to do that.”
She ended with the example of Evan Weissman, an alumni who created “Warm Cookies of the Revolution,” a Denver, Colorado civic health club devoted to encouraging civic engagement all while enjoying a freshly baked treat.
Dr. Tim Seiler talked about important partnerships and organizations the school worked with throughout his time at The Fund Raising School. He noted that The Fund Raising School has taught in 40+ countries on six continents, including collaborations in Beijing, Istanbul, Mexico City, Vienna, and Ireland on advancing the study of philanthropy and how to build and carry out fundraising programs to better educate an international audience.
Dr. Les Lenkowsky revealed what he believe students really learn at the school. Simply stated, Dr. Lenkowsky said that, “We’re teaching students how to do meaningful work for themselves and for others. We teach them not how to be philanthropic heroes, but to be philanthropic people. After 30 years, I think we can point to quite a few who are.”
Finally, Dr. Gene Tempel shared some of the struggles and principles that helped shape the character of the school. He mentioned the ‘happy accident’ of the provision for a library in the founding document and the challenges to finding a school to house the first academic course ‘Principles on Fundraising.’ Dr. Tempel also recognized how the founding principles have been carried out.
“Challenges helped build this building and program,” he said. “In addition, we’ve brought in a lot of people who discuss ideas from different perspectives and how they contributed to making it work.”
Did you attend the 30th kickoff celebration? What were your thoughts on the reflections about the center and school? If you didn’t, what do you think of the remarks from long-term faculty and staff? Leave a comment below!
Abby Rolland is the blog content coordinator for the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.