About Columbus

Located 45 minutes south of Indianapolis, Columbus is a welcoming community of about 44,000 residents that's been recognized nationally as a great place to live, work, and retire. With exceptional architecture, great parks, miles of scenic walking and jogging trails, and an attractive and vibrant city center, Columbus is a city where you'll feel right at home.

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Major Milestone

In 2000, the shared Columbus campus greatly benefited from the generosity of the Lily Endowment, which awarded a $5 million grant for the development and construction of the Columbus Learning Center (CLC). Ground was broken in 2003 and the CLC, which opened in the fall of 2005, now houses the campus auditorium and lecture hall in addition to classrooms and computer labs. It also includes the:

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Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus (IUPUC) was founded in 1970 to serve the post-secondary education needs of citizens and industry in south central Indiana. We deliver top-quality Indiana University and Purdue University degree programs.

A growing, dynamic campus, IUPUC serves 2,300 students and employs 400 full-time faculty and staff, adjunct faculty and part-time staff. Students at IUPUC are mainly from Bartholomew, Brown, Decatur, Jackson, Jennings, Johnson, Ripley, and Shelby counties, although other counties are also represented in the student population. IUPUC has a growing international student population due to the presence of international and global industry in the region. It has also begun to attract students from outside the state of Indiana.

IUPUC's student population includes a mix of traditional and nontraditional students. With an average class size of 15.4 students, IUPUC offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs, including business, communication studies, elementary education, English, general studies, mechanical engineering, nursing, psychology, and sociology.


Dr. Marwan Wafa has served as IUPUC's vice chancellor and dean since 2009. In 2010, Wafa reorganized IUPUC's management structure and initiated the first formal strategic planning process, which included planning by each academic division, operating office, and as an institution. He also updated the university's mission and aspirations and guided the creation of IUPUC's shared values and beliefs.

2011 was a significant year in program development at IUPUC.

  • Because IUPUC's service area includes a growing niche in advanced automotive manufacturing, the Purdue University Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering program was established in 2011 to meet increasing demand for professional engineers in the local workforce. The move makes IUPUC the only university in the southern half Indiana to offer a four-year degree in mechanical engineering.
  • Approval was received for IUPUC to launch a Master of Arts (MA) in Mental Health Counseling program beginning in the fall of 2012. Students who graduate from the program will be prepared for careers as well-trained, fully licensed mental health counselors in the state of Indiana.
  • In response to market demand for more flexible scheduling, the Master of Business Administration program became a part-time, 24-month program built around a modular curriculum with integrated courses, strong cohort structure, and an emphasis on professional development and responsiveness to the needs of local and regional businesses.


Originally known as IUPUI Columbus, IUPUC first opened its offices and classrooms on August 17, 1970 as an "extension" of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI).  Through 1971, it offered classes at various locations throughout Columbus. Later that year, all classes were moved to the university's current location at 4601 Central Avenue in Columbus, home of the former Civilian Personnel Building at Bakalar Municipal Airport (now known as the Columbus Municipal Airport).

  • In 1984, the Indiana General Assembly appropriated $2.5 million for the construction of science and technology labs and a new exterior for the IUPUC building. The Indiana University Trustees approved a $3.55 million expansion and renovation at IUPUC. The renovation was completed in 1985, resulting in an expansion of more than 60 percent compared to the pre-renovation square footage.
  • An additional 11 acres of land was deeded to the Indiana University Board of Trustees by the City of Columbus in 1987.
  • In 1994, IUPUI Chancellor Gerald Bepko formally announced that IUPUI Columbus would henceforth be known as Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus, commonly known today as IUPUC.

Leadership History

Dr. Marwan Wafa
Dr. Jay Howard
Dr. Nasser Paydar
Dr. Paul Bippen
Dr. Emerson Gilbert                     

Vice Chancellor and Dean
Interim Vice Chancellor and Dean
Vice Chancellor and Dean
Director (title changed to Dean in 1994)